Bobby Vinton is an American pop music singer of Polish origins.
Vinton is the only child of a locally popular bandleader, Stan Vinton. At 16, Vinton formed his first band, which played clubs around the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania area. With the money he earned, he helped finance his college education at Duquesne University, where he studied music and graduated with a degree in musical composition. While at Duquesne, he became proficient on all of the instruments in the band: piano, clarinet, saxophone, trumpet, drums and oboe.
Vinton's birthplace of Canonsburg, Pennsylvania is also the birthplace of Perry Como. His hometown named two streets, Bobby Vinton Boulevard and the shorter adjoining Bobby Vinton Drive, in his honor. Canonsburg town fathers had plans to erect a statue in his honor, but Vinton vetoed the idea noting that the $100,000 planned cost could go to far more important town needs.
After a two-year hitch in the U.S. Army, where he served as a chaplain's assistant, Vinton was signed to Epic Records in 1960 as a bandleader: "A Young Man With a Big Band." Two albums and several singles were not successful however, and with Epic ready to pull the plug, Vinton found his first hit single literally sitting in a reject pile. The song was titled "Roses Are Red ." It spent four weeks at No.1 on the Billboard Hot 100. Arguably, his most famous song is 1963's "Blue Velvet", originally a minor hit for Tony Bennett in 1951, that also went to No.1. Twenty-three years later, David Lynch named his movie Blue Velvet after the song. In 1990, "Blue Velvet" climbed to the top of the music charts in Great Britain, after being featured in a Nivea commercial. In 1964, Vinton had two #1 hits, "There! I've Said It Again" and "Mr. Lonely". Vinton wrote "Mr. Lonely" during his service in the U.S. Army in the late 1950s where he served as a Chaplain's Assistant. The song was recorded during the same 1962 session that produced "Roses Are Red" and launched Vinton's singing career. It was released as an album track on the 1962 "Roses Are Red " LP. Despite pressure from Vinton to release it as a single, Epic instead had Buddy Greco release it and it flopped. Two years and millions of records sold later, Bobby prevailed on Epic to include "Mr. Lonely" on his "Bobby Vinton Greatest Hits" LP. Soon DJ's picked up on the song and airplay resulted in demand for a single release. "Mr. Lonely" shot up the charts in the late fall of 1964 and reached #1 on the charts on 12 December 1964. Epic then released an LP "Bobby Vinton Mr. Lonely", giving the song a unique claim to fame since it now appeared on three Bobby Vinton albums released within two years. The song has continued to spin gold for its composer in the 45 years since it hit #1. Harmony Korine named his 2007 film Mister Lonely after the latter, and it is now also the basis for Akon's hit "Lonely."