LIBRARY OF ROCK 'n' ROLL HISTORY

 
When you look up "The History of Rock and Roll" at any library, a very familiar face will be found it's Canada's Mr. Personality, Bobby Curtola! At the tender age of just 16, Thunder Bay's pride and joy set out on a rock and roll adventure that would take him around the world with more than 30 hit records, countless television appearances, and hours and  hours of community involvement.
"CURTOLAMANIA" had begun!
1962 Parade
Bobby Curtola's list of #1 hit records includes Hand in Hand With You, Fortune Teller, Don't Sweetheart Me, Aladdin, Three Rows Over, Hitchhiker, Makin' Love, Corina Corina, and a host of others. Bobby has the distinction of being the first Canadian to earn a coveted Gold album. These great hits continue to be heard today on "oldies" radio around the world. Bobby was the man who opened the doors for many future Canadian stars in an era well before Canadian content rules were dictated to radio stations! 

Bobby has also been honoured with many acknowledgments and awards, some of which are: 

  • The first RPM award, now known as the Juno 
  • Induction into the RPM Canadian Music Industry Hall of Fame 1996
  • City of Toronto declared April 21, 1996 "Bobby Curtola Day" 
  • Making the world's first jingle that sounded just like a top 40 record which started the trend in advertising with "Things go better with Coke" 
  • The Howard Hughes Hotels of Las Vegas, Nevada, featured Bobby as a headliner for more than 20 years in their resorts with great success. 
  • He was the first performer to sign a multi-million dollar contract for lounge appearances in Las Vegas.
  • In January of 1998, Mr. Curtola was honoured with the Order of Canada for his commitment to being an ambassador for care around the world, for his humanitarian work, and for his pioneering success in Canadian Pop Music.
  • This year Bobby was honoured to be inducted as a member of the Ochapowace Tribe of Saskatchewan and is now a true brother to our country's first people.
  • Since the '90s Bobby has been traveling internationally to South America, Southeast Asia, and Europe.
  • He has been recognized for his charitable work in Ecuador, where the Bobby Curtola Centre of the World Children's Foundation was formed in his honour. 
  • He will soon be receiving the Gold Medal of Merit for his charitable work in that country.
  • For much more on this legendary Canadian performer, visit the Bobby Curtola Story

    THE HILLMAN CONNECTION
    Excerpts from Gig Notes Section
    from our
    HILLMAN 50-MUSICAL ODYSSEY


    CURTOLA MANIA I
     www.hillmanweb.com/book/gigs/02.html#mania
    A highlight of our rock days in the mid-'60s was our tour as back-up band for Canadian teen idol, Bobby Curtola. We started this a few weeks after our Dovermen performance at Winnipeg Auditorium where we opened for the CKY Fall Festival of Stars with headliners The Everly Brothers and Roger Miller.  We had seen the crowd go wild for the Everlys and now on the Curtola tour we experienced more shades of Elvis/Beatles mania as teens packed every venue we played.

    The girls pushed in a frenzy against the stage trying to touch their idol and later to get autographs. This winter tour took us into Saskatchewan -- the Regina Armoury packed in the largest crowd there -- and east to Portage La Prairie. The most exciting date was in our home base at the Brandon Roller Rink -- on New Year's Eve. Bobby was about our age and was a super guy to work with.

    Bobby's manager, Marie Martel, ran the shows with an iron hand so things never really got out of control. Bobby had sung some of the first Coca-Cola singing commercials (he is in their Hall of Fame), so Coke sponsored the shows and made sure there were always huge cases of Coke backstage. This was back in the days when ODing on coke had a slightly different meaning than it does today.

    I saved the set lists from these tours, written in Bobby's hand, and they are featured on our Curtola Webpages. I had a reunion with Bobby 40 years later and those shows are also described on our Curtola Webpages and later in this saga.


     

    PHOTO MEMORIES FROM THE '60s
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    BOBBY AND FRIENDS FROM THE VEGAS YEARS

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    Order of Canada

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