This week, Ira Sternberg spoke with Bobby Vinton.
Bobby Vinton’s recording accomplishments include 12 Gold records, more than 75 million in record sales and the most #1 hits by a solo male artist during a 10-year period, according to Billboard magazine.
Bobby Vinton’s hits, including “Roses Are Red,” “Blue Velvet,” “Mr. Lonely,” and “Melody of Love” are recognized as standards throughout the world. Polish Americans embraced “Melody of Love” as Poland’s new national anthem, sung by Vinton, who is often referred to as The Polish Prince because of his family’s heritage. It’s been quite a journey for a child born in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania whose parents urged him to study music.
By the age of 16, Vinton had his own band. The money he earned allowed him to attend Duquesne University where he received a degree in Musical Composition. He also became proficient on all of the instruments in the band, which included piano, clarinet, saxophone, trumpet, drums and the oboe–a talent that he displays in his shows today.
In what would be described as the “American Idol” of its day, Vinton and his band appeared on Guy Lombardo’s “TV Talent Scouts.” It was that appearance that ultimately led to a contract with Epic Records and his first hit “Roses Are Red” which ended up selling four million copies.