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complications from pneumonia at a hospital in a suburb of his hometown of Philadelphia, according to a statement posted by his marketing and event coordinator Maria Novey.

Rydell, who credited a 2012 kidney and liver transplant with extending his life, was 79.

Along with James Darren, Fabian and Frankie Avalon, Rydell was among a wave of wholesome teen idols who emerged after Elvis Presley and before the rise of the Beatles.

Between 1959 and 1964, he had nearly three dozen Top 40 singles including "Wild One," "Volare," "Wildwood Days," "The Cha-Cha-Cha" and "Forget Him," a song of consolation for a bereft girl that helped inspire the Beatles' classic "She Loves You."

He had recurring roles on "The Red Skelton Show" and other television programs, and 1963's "Bye Bye Birdie" was rewritten to give Rydell a major part as the boyfriend of Ann-Margret. He didn't want to move to Hollywood, however, and "Birdie" became his only significant movie role — though the high school in the hit '70s musical "Grease" was named for him.

Philadelphia native shunned lure of Hollywood

Rydell never strayed far from his Philadelphia roots, living in the area for most of his life. The block of 11th Street where he grew up was christened Bobby Rydell Boulevard by his hometown in 1995.

"I never thought of myself as a celebrity," he told The Philadelphia Inquirer in 2003. "I was just a guy who went out there and worked."

He was born Robert Ridarelli in a South Philadelphia neighborhood that would also produce teen idols Darren, Fabian and Avalon. They knew each other as children — Rydell played drums with Avalon on trumpet in a group called Rocco and the Saints.

Before he graced the covers of teen magazines and movie screens, Rydell made his bones as a youngster in Philadelphia clubs.

He made his performance debut as a 7-year-old drummer, not a singer. His first drum kit was a gift from his father, Al Ridarelli, who inspired his son's choice of instrument by taking him to see Gene Krupa perform.

At age 9, he debuted on an amateur television show and became its regular drummer for three years.

Rydell got his big break in 1959 on "American Bandstand," which originally was broadcast from Philadelphia. His first hit, "Kissing Time," quickly followed, and the skinny 17-year-old with a pompadour haircut rocketed to stardom. Rydell and his fellow Philadelphia performers were ideal for "Bandstand" host Dick Clark, who sought to make rock n' roll palatable to young and old. He also made live appearances nationwide on a tour organized by Clark.

Giving way to the British Invasion

Changing musical tastes ushered in by the Beatles and the rest of the British Invasion defused the hit-making careers of Rydell and his compatriots, and he continued performing and recording music with limited success in the late 1960s and 1970s. But in 1985, he joined his old friends Avalon and Fabian for what they thought would be a few appearances. They dubbed themselves "The Golden Boys of Bandstand," and the shows were so successful that the trio ended up touring for three years and performing 300 shows nationwide.

"We weren't out to prove anything. We just said to ourselves, 'Here are three Italian kids from South Philadelphia, born and raised within two blocks of each other. Let's go out there and have fun,'" Rydell told The Atlantic City Weekly in 2006. "That hasn't changed. I think people see that attitude coming from the stage. It's a fun show to watch — that's what's made it so successful. We have a great time doing it."

Rydell's childhood sweetheart and first wife, Camille, died in 2003.

He is survived by his second wife, Linda Hoffman, whom he married in 2009, along with son Robert Ridarelli, daughter Jennifer Dulin, and five grandchildren.

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Postcards from Sonoma County...
        ... What people are talking about, direct from the locals.
 
Each week, our correspondents from all over Sonoma County check in with a weekly "postcard" of what people are talking about in their area. Not always "news," but still worthy of a mention. It's our way to give voice to communities that may not make it into the everyday news cycle.
 
We play these in a random rotation throughout the week. Each postcard airs from Sunday morning at midnight through Saturday at 11:59:59 pm.
 
We archive all our postcards here. Have a listen!
 

Week of April 3, 2022
 
 
Greetings from Petaluma
 
 
Greetings from Rohnert Park
 
 
More greetings from Sebastopol
 
  
Greetings from the Lower Russian River
 
  
Greetings from Healdsburg
 
 
Greetings from Sebastopol
 
 
 
 

Week of Sunday, March 27, 2022
 
Greetings from the Lower Russian River
 
 
Greetings from Rohnert Park
 
 
Greetings from Sebastopol
 
 
More greetings from Sebastopol
 
 
Greetings from Healdsburg
 
 
Greetings from Petaluma
 
 
 

Week of Sunday, March 20, 2022
 
Greetings from the Lower Russian River
 
 
Greetings from Healdsburg
 
 
Greetings from Rohnert Park
 
 
Greetings from Sebastopol
 
 
Greetings from Petaluma
 
 
 

Week of Sunday, March 13, 2022:
 
Greetings from the Lower Russian River
 
 
Greetings from Healdsburg
 
 
Greetings from Rohnert Park
 
 
Greetings from Petaluma
 
 
 

Week of Sunday, March 6, 2022:
 
Greetings from the Lower Russian River
 
 
Greetings from Petaluma
 
 
Greetings from Rohnert Park
 
 
Greetings from Sebastopol
 
 
 
 
 

Week of Sunday, February 27, 2022:
 
Greetings from Healdsburg
 
 
Greetings from the Lower Russian River
 
 
Greetings from Petaluma
 
 
Greetings from Rohnert Park
 
 
More greetings from Rohnert Park
 
 
 

Week of Sunday, February 20, 2022:
 
Greetings from the Lower Russian River
 
 
Greetings from Healdsburg
 
 
Greetings from Windsor
 
 
Greetings from Rohnert Park
 
 
Greetings from Petaluma
 
 
 
 

Week of Sunday, February 6, 2022:
 
Greetings from Rohnert Park
 
 
Greetings from Sebastopol
 
 
Greetings from Healdsburg
 
 
Greetings from the Lower Russian River
 
 
Greetings from Petaluma
 
 
 

Week of Sunday, January 30, 2022:
 
Greetings from Healdsburg
 
 
Greetings from the Lower Russian River
 
 
Greetings from Rohnert Park
 
 
More greetings from Rohnert Park
 
 
Greetings from Windsor
 
 
Greetings from Petaluma
 
 
Greetings from Sebastopol
 
 

Week of Sunday, January 23rd, 2022:
 
Greetings from the Lower Russian River
 
 
Greetings from Windsor
 
 
Greetings from Petaluma
 
 
Greetings from Healdsburg
 
 
Greetings from Rohnert Park
 
 
Greetings from Sebastopol
 
 
 
 

Week of Sunday, January 16, 2022:
 
Greetings from the Lower Russian River
 
 
Greetings from Rohnert Park
 
 
Greetings from Sebastopol
 
 
Greetings from Petaluma
 
 
Greetings from Windsor
 
 
Greetings from Healdsburg
 
 
 
 

 Week of Sunday, January 9th, 2022:
 
Greetings from Healdsburg
 
 
Greetings from the Lower Russian River
 
 
Greetings from Petaluma
 
 
Greetings from Rohnert Park
 
 
Greetings from Sebastopol
 
 
Greetings from Windsor
 
 
 
 

 
Week of Sunday, January 2nd, 2022:
 
Greetings from the Lower Russian River
 
 
Greetings from Petaluma
 
 
Greetings from Rohnert Park
 
 
Greetings from Windsor
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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Savoring Sonoma shorts with Clark Wolf
Clark Wolf publicityClark Wolf is a nationally recognized, James Beard Award-winning food and restaurant consultant, author, and columnist who now lives in what he calls “the Eden of All the Earth," in a 100-year-old logger’s cabin in the Redwoods of Sonoma County.
 
Savoring Sonoma is a weekly 60-second snapshot of what's importantly delicious in Sonoma County.
Each week, you'll hear two new episodes.
 
Episodes are archived here.
 
 
 
Avocados_Wk13a
 
 
Artichokes_Wk13b
 
 
Radishes_Wk12a
 
 
Snow Peas & Shoots_Wk12b
 
 
Pixie Tangerines_Wk11a
 
 
After Fat Friday_Wk11b
 
 
Asparagus_Wk10a
 
 
Morell Mushrooms_Wk10b
 
 
Root Vegetables_Wk9a
 
 
Fondue_Wk9b
 
 
  Mac & Cheese_Wk8a
 
 
  Cherries_Wk8b
 
 
Wk7b_Veggie starts
 
 
Wk7a_Honey
 
 
Wk6_Roses
 
 
Wk5a_Meyer Lemons
 
 
Wk5b_Ice Cream in Winter
 
 
  Wk4a_Arugula
 
 
Wk4b_Mustard Greens
 
 
Persimmons
 
 
Sonoma County cheeses
 
 
Joys of fermentation
 
 
Winter squash
 
 
Pomegranates
 
 
Dungeness crab 2
 
 
Olive oil
 
 
Local Sonoma County meats
 
 
Mushrooms
 
 
Bodega Red potatoes
 
 
Local eggs
 
 
Dungeness crab
 
 
Should healthy food cost more?
Read More
The Sonoma County ArtBeat
                                      With Satri Pencak
 
 
Satri picSatri Pencak is an independent art curator with an M.A. in Art History. She writes about the visual arts for her website, www.satripencak.com, her Facebook Blog, and other publications.
 
Satri loves knowing what’s going on in the art world and sharing her knowledge and enthusiasm with others.
 
All episodes are archived here:
 
 
 
Week of April 3, 2022
 
 
Week of March 27, 2022
 
 
  Week of March 20, 2022
 
 
Week of March13, 2022
 
 
 Week of March 6, 2022
 

 Week of February 27, 2022
 
 
  Week of February 20, 2022
 
 
  Week of February 13, 2022
 
 
Week of February 6, 2022
 
 
Week of January 30, 2022
 
 
Week of January 23, 2022
 
 
 
 
Week of December 19, 2021
 
 
Week or January 2, 2022
 
 
Week of January 9, 2022
 
 
Week of January 16, 2022
 
 
 
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thumbnail FirstNews logoA weekday early morning podcast that offers a first look at the top local news stories and weather forecast you need to start your day.

Sonoma County news stories featuring the latest in breaking news, county government, elections, environment, cultural happenings, and updates on your communities, from Petaluma to Cloverdale, and from Sonoma to Bodega Bay, and everyplace in between.

Subscribe to the Sonoma County First News podcast through our website, the NorCal Mobile App, NPR Podcasts, NPR One, iTunes/Apple Podcasts, or wherever you get your podcasts. 

 
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farm trails logoWelcome to Farm Tales.
               Stories from and about Sonoma County Farm Trails members.
 
 
Celebrating farms forever in Sonoma County.
 
For more information visit farmtrails.org.
 
 
 
 
 
Hear archived tales below!
 

 
 
 
Boring Farm - Rachel Boring
 
 
Monte-Bellaria Farm
 
 
Sun Ray Farm - Maggie La Rochelle
 
 
Freestone Ranch - Misty Gay
 

Redwood Hill Farms - Jennifer Bice
 
 
Lala's Jam Bar and Urban Farmstand - Leslie Goodrich
 
 
Cambria Gardens Sebastopol - Garth Watson
 
 
Wiseacre Farm - Farmer Tiffany 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Read More

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