Introducing Freddie Bell and his then wife Roberta Linn performing the classic American song “For You” in less than classic American style, (unless you consider rock n roll a classic American style and here at Groovy Friday, we do.)
Speaking of classic American style, Bell was born in Philadelphia as Ferdinando Dominick Bello to Italian immigrant parents and adopted the Anglicized version of “Freddie Bell” as his stage name He formed his group, “Freddie Bell and the Bellboys” in 1952. They were among the first white bands to play rhythm and blues (aka “black music”.)
The group had top ten hits in the U.K and Australia, but never charted in the U.S. They spent most of their career playing in Las Vegas at The Sands, The Dunes, The Sahara and The Flamingo. Bell became friends with Frank Sinatra and the rest of The Rat Pack. Legend has it that Elvis Presley saw them in Vegas performing the Leiber/Stoller song “Hound Dog” and decided to record it himself.
It was during these Vegas years that Roberta Linn joined the group, eventually marrying its leader. Linn started as a child actress in Hollywood, but switched to singing when child roles started drying up for her. Before joining Freddie Bell and the Bellboys, she worked as one of Lawrence Welk’s “Champagne Ladies” from 1949 to 1954.
That’s mildly groovy.
She and Bell were married from 1961 to 1973.
During their time together, Roberta and Freddie and the Bellboys performed in a film that is a Christmas classic here at Groovy Friday, “Get Yourself a College Girl.”
This clip is from our friends at Scopitone which, as you should know by now, means lots of T & A.
Bell continued to perform until his death in 2008. Linn is still with us, though she’s retired now. God bless her.
Have a groovy weekend!
Groovy Friday extra!
Here’s Freddie Bell and the Bellboys’ recording of “Hound Dog.”