Born: 1943, Port Arthur, Ontario
– RPM Gold Leaf Award (Pre-Juno) in 1965/6 for Male Vocalist of the Year
– First Canadian singer to have a gold LP.
– Released some 50 singles and 15-20 albums
– 70% of his singles made the Top Ten.
– Sold 2 million copies.
Some Other Hit Singles:
– ”As Long as I’m Sure of You”
– “Alone and Lonely”
– “It’s About Time”
– “Walkin with My Angel”
– “Mean Woman Blues”
– “Makin’ Love”
– “Forget Her”
– “While I’m Away”
– “Real Thing”
– “Don’t Sweetheart Me”
– “Three Rows Over”
– “Indian Giver”
In 1960, Bobby Curtola, with his first hit “Hand in Hand with You”, became Canada’s second big pop star and teen idol after Paul Anka hit the airwaves in 1957. He had scores of hit singles, the biggest being “Fortune Teller” in 1962.
In 1943 in Port Arthur, Ontario, Bobby Curtola was born. He 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 songwriting 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, Curtola 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.
Bobby 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 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. 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 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. Curtola performed the first commercial to sound like a hit pop record: “Things Go Better with Coke”.
Curtola continued to perform across Canada, Las Vegas and even the Princess Cruise Lines up until his death on June 5, 2016, at the age of 73.