Stanley Robert Vinton
BORN: April 16, 1935, Canonsburg, PA
Every era needs its crooner, and in the early '60s, it was Bobby Vinton.
Vinton's sentimental balladeering and orchestral, middle-of-the-road arrangements
were a throwback to a decade earlier, before rock & roll had found its
mass market. If Vinton is sometimes identified with a rock & roll audience,
it's only because his music was bought by young listeners for a time, and
because he still catches some airplay on oldies stations. What he sang was
vocal pop, landing some of the biggest hits of the early '60s with "Roses
Are Red (My Love)," "Blue on Blue," "There! I've Said It Again," "Mr. Lonely,"
and "Blue Velvet," the last of which has become his signature song in the
wake of its notorious prominence in David Lynch's Blue Velvet.
Vinton originally aspired to lead a big band, and made big band versions
of contemporary hits on his first recordings in the early '60s. When he began
singing, however, he was quickly successful, reaching number one with "Roses
Are Red (My Love)" in mid-1962. The syrupy, saccharine arrangements set the
mold for his emotional, occasionally mournful hits throughout the early '60s.
1963 was his banner year, as he hit number three with "Blue on Blue," and
then topped the charts with "Blue Velvet" and "There! I've Said It Again."
"There! I've Said It Again" was knocked out of the number one spot by the
Beatles' "I Want to Hold Your Hand." But the British Invasion, surprisingly,
didn't spell commercial death for Vinton, as it did for so many other balladeers
and teen idols. Indeed, he had one of his biggest hits (and his final number
one), the sobbing "Mr. Lonely," in late 1964. Although he didn't maintain
quite the same superstar ranking, he was consistently popular throughout
the next decade; between 1962 and 1972, in fact, he had an astonishing 28
Top 40 entries. Often he updated quaint 1960-era pop tunes such as "Halfway
to Paradise," "Take God Care of My Baby," and "Sealed With a Kiss." A couple
of these, "Please Love Me Forever" and "I Love How You Love Me," made the
Top Ten, which was quite an anachronism in 1967 and 1968.
Vinton seemed to have launched a major comeback in 1974 with "Melody of Love,"
which made number three, and enjoys the distinction of being the only major
American hit single sung partially in Polish. Only one more Top 40 hit was
in the offing, though. This probably didn't particularly bother Vinton, who
had his own TV series for a few years in the late '70s, and could always
count on lucrative gigs on the cabaret circuit. ~ Richie Unterberger, All