Bobby Curtola – Ain’t Nothing Like the Real Thing !

Cashbox Bobby Curtola July 26 2013.jpg

Submitted by Don Graham

Bobby Curtola continues to captivate concert fans and this summer is gearing up for full shows in Parry Sound and several other unconfirmed Ontario towns as well as Western Canada. Touring with his band, The Sensational Hot Rods, Curtola has a show that appeals to his loyal fan base and a legion of new ones.

“We try and keep the show fresh” Curtola said from his home in Las Vegas. “We know the folks come to hear the hits and we’re more than happy to sing them, love it actually, but we also want them leaving the venue saying what a great show it was.  Besides my hits, I do songs by my friends and peers of the era.I got to know Elvis first when we would pass each other in RCA’s Studio B in Nashville. I would be leaving and Elvis would be coming in to record at midnight.  Later in Vegas, where I was signed by the Hughes Corporation to a multi-million dollar performing contract, Elvis would sneak in to watch my show now and then.  That was huge for this Canadian kid.”

“Conway Twitty and I worked together and in fact while he was alive, he only gave the license to record ‘It’s Only Make Believe’ to myself and Elvis. Now of course with his passing the publishers allow everyone to record it.  I love to share some of the stories of the great acts I got to know and work with and take pride in knowing I was there.  I also am a firm believer in giving people what they paid to come and see and I  think our energy onstage is passed on to the audience.”

BobbyCurtola Awards and MedalsBobbyCurtola Awards and MedalsBobby Curtola has been touring the country and the world, for that matter, for five decades. “When I started out in this crazy business there was no tour route in Canada to speak of. I like to think we sort of paved that road for all the great talent that followed us.”  It was 1962 when Curtola had his first big hit, ‘Fortune Teller’ on the Tartan label. The single went gold and solidified Bobby’s place in music history.  “That song was a true blessing to me and really opened the door to a career and lifestyle that a kid from Thunder Bay, Ontario could only dream of.”

Some of his success has allowed him the opportunity to try various business ventures, some entertainment related and some not. But the music business has always been his passion and first love.

Italian Walk of Fame InductionItalian Walk of Fame Induction“This year, 2013, my long time associate and music industry veteran, Sandy Graham of Toronto suggested, no actually insisted, that I come to Canadian Music Week in Toronto. I was hesitant at first because the business has changed so much that I wasn’t sure anyone would even remember me.”  But he was in for a big surprise. Sandy Graham said “ From the minute we arrived until the minute we left, every day Bobby was stopped and asked for photo ops, autographs and handshakes. It took twenty five minutes to get through the lobby at times. It was wonderful to see the respect paid to a true Canadian pioneer and legend.”   Larry Leblanc, iconic Canadian journalist was so happy to see Bobby and while receiving his own Lifetime Achievement Award mentioned what a shame it was the Bobby Curtola wasn’t included in music history by receiving a Canadian Music Hall of Fame Juno Award, and CARAS should take a look at this for the very near future.

The Coca Cola KidThe Coca Cola Kid Bobby Curtola’s achievements are outstanding and speak to his recognition as a Canadian treasure:
1960 Hand in Hand and Don’t You Sweetheart Me released as singles
1961 released the single of Hitchhiker
1962 Fortune Teller was released and became an international hit record
1964 Bobby Curtola signed an exclusive deal to be their Spokesman and recorded the jingle ‘Things Go Better with Coke’
1966  Curtola won the RPM Gold Leaf Award for becoming the first Canadian to have an album go gold.  These awards would later be re-named The Juno Awards.
1970 Bobby Curtola hosted a CTV musical television series entitled ‘Shake, Rock and Roll’ 
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 CM
2002 Recipient of the The Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal 50th anniversary of the accession to the throne of Queen Elizabeth II.
2003 Naming of the street ‘Bobby Curtola Drive’ in his hometown of Thunder Bay, Ontario
2011 Inducted into the Italian Walk of Fame by CHIN Radio, Toronto, Canada
2012 Recipient of the The Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Medal in celebration of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth 11 to mark the 60th Anniversary of the accession to the throne

The Young Bobby CurtolaThe Young Bobby CurtolaIn addition, Bobby Curtola has been inducted into the Rockabilly Hall of Fame, The Coca Cola Hall of Fame, was awarded The Ecuador Medal of Merit (equivalent to our Order of Canada).  On April 27, 1997, to coincide with his birthday, the Mayor declared it Bobby Curtola Day in the City of Toronto, Ontario and was knighted by the Knights of Swan. 

In spite of all these accolades Bobby has NOT been awarded a star on Canada’s Walk of Fame on King Street West in Toronto’s Entertainment District.

‘Fortune Teller’, ‘Three Rows Over’, ‘Corinna Corinna’, ‘Don’t You Sweetheart Me’, ‘Hitchhiker’ are just some of the enduring hits Curtola will be performing this summer  as well as hits from the era and his friends, Chubby Checker, Elvis, Bobby Vinton, Conway Twitty, Jack Scott, Louis Armstrong and many more.

So if you’re fortunate enough to have Bobby Curtola performing anywhere near you be sure to get out to the show. You will see a true Canadian legend still doing what he does best. Bobby Curtola was born to sing!

“Come out and see me if you can, I’d love to thank you all personally for all the love you’ve shown me over the years and allowing me to have this great and wonderful life!”