Friday, 17 April 2015

Bobby Curtola born 17 April 1943

Robert Allen "Bobby" Curtola, CM (April 17, 1943 – June 4, 2016) was an early Canadian rock and roll singer and teen idol.

 Bobby Curtola began singing at high school dances and at age 15 formed a rock band called Bobby and the Bobcats. His skills attracted the attention of song writing brothers Basil and Dyer Hurdon who owned the record label Tartan. They wrote the song “Hand in Hand with You” which they recorded with Curtola in 1959/60. Its moderate success encouraged them to write more songs for Curtola and they became his managers, carefully arranging his record releases and club dates, and forming his fan club.

In 1962, he released “Fortune Teller” and its double A-side “Johnny Take Your Time” which became his biggest hit, selling two million copies and charting in the U.S.. He scored a second international hit with “Aladdin”. This big break erupted into a string of hits during the fiercely competitive British Invasion years that knocked most Canadian and American singers off the charts. 

Curtola was Canada’s only teen-idol in the early 60s and specialized in what were dubbed “rock-a-ballads”. His voice was described as a “silvery tenor” with a “soft-sweet quality”. In June of l964, Bobby was definitely in the right place at the right time. He became the first pop singer to record a jingle that

sounded like a "Top 40 Hit Single," the song was "Things Go Better with Coke." He signed an exclusive contract with Coca-Cola to be their #1 Spokesman. Bobby, inspired by Coke and thinking of a spin off to "Things Go Better with Coke," co-wrote "The Real Thing" which he used a version of for the commercial "Coke's The Real Thing." 

In 1966 he won a RPM Gold Leaf Award for becoming the first Canadian to have an album go gold.  

In 1967, Bobby toured Canada and the following year switched to a nightclub career. By this time, he had released 46 singles, 32 of which had made the Top Ten! He made a guest appearance on the Bob Hope Show.
In the early 1970s, Curtola hosted a CTV musical series entitled, Shake, Rock and Roll. After 1972, he spent part of the year performing in Las Vegas, opening for Louis Armstrong. Like Paul Anka, Las Vegas offered him a multimillion dollar contract.

He recorded occasionally in the 80s. In an attempt at updating his image, he briefly adopted the billing Boby Curtola and
released one album under this name before reverting to his original spelling. In the 90s there was an “oldies” revival and RCA offered him a 5-album deal. He toured Canada and Malaysia in 1998 and Europe in 2001.
Unlike Paul Anka who left us and became a naturalized U.S. citizen, Bobby Curtola stayed in Canada, proving that it was possible to succeed in pop music and remain at home. This paved the way for later Canadian pop musicians.  
In 1998, in recognition of his long service to the Canadian music industry as well as his humanitarian work around the world, he was made a member of the Order of Canada. His pioneering contribution to the genre has been recognized by the Rockabilly Hall of Fame.

Besides his musical work, Bobby was also a business entrepreneur, marketing a successful brand of Caesar cocktail. In 2011, Curtola received a star on the Italian Walk of Fame in Toronto, Canada. He was married with two sons, and currently lives in Edmonton. During his later years he was still performing across Canada, Las Vegas and even the Princess Cruise Lines.

Curtola's partner, Karyn Rochford, died in a car accident in Nova Scotia on December 15, 2015. Curtola had been living in Port Mouton, Nova Scotia, but moved to Edmonton, Alberta in early 2016 after Rochford's death. He died on June 4, 2016, at his home aged 73. 
(Info edited from Canadian Music Blog & Wikipedia)

This interview was done by Brad Kelly of Shaw TV, just before Bobby's Charity show at the Arden Theatre in St. Albert, Alberta on September 3, 2010. There is also some stock footage from some previous shows that Bobby has done.

1 comment:

boppinbob said...

For “Meet Bobby Curtola” go here:

(a big thank you to Jake @ Jukebox City for link)

01 Fortune Teller
02 Three Rows Over
03 Aladdin
04 Hand In Hand With You
05 Hitch-Hiker
06 Makin' Love
07 I Cry And Cry
08 I'll Never Be Alone Again
09 Destination Love
10 Little Girl Blue
11 Walkin' With My Angel
12 Footsteps
13 Pretty Blue Eyes
14 Sandy
15 Corrine Corrina
16 Donna
17 Wildwood Days
18 Mean Woman Blues
19 You Must Belong To Me
20 I'd Do Anything For You
21 You're Not A Goody Goody
22 Gypsy Heart
23 Ever Near You
24 Hi-Tone
25 How'm I Gonna Tell You
26 Sorry
27 The Beginning Of The End
28 Don't Say You Love Me
29 As Long As I'm Sure Of You
30 Midnight
31 Many Moons Ago
32 Indian Giver
33 Johnny Take Your Time