DEAR JERRY: I am one of those music fans who often asks “what ever happened to” many of the hit makers of the past.
One very useful online source is the Dead People Server, which not only lists many of the deceased celebrities, but also those who are alive that we may not know for sure are still with us.
Since “Robbin' the Cradle” is one of my very favorite rock oldies of the late 1950s, I have been curious about Tony Bellus, its singer.
When I learned that Tony Bellus had no other nationally chart hits, I expected to find him in “The Billboard Book of One-Hit Wonders.” However, he is neither included nor even mentioned there. Perhaps the writers couldn't find him either.
Obviously, my question for you is … what ever happened to Tony Bellus?
Melanie Tallus, Lancaster, Pa.
DEAR MELANIE: After the Top 25 hit, “Robbin' the Cradle,” Tony Bellus continued writing and recording songs. Though not chart hits, some are quite good especially “Hey Little Darlin'” (NRC 035), the “Cradle” follow-up. He even had an album on NRC, titled “Robbin the Cradle” of course. This 1960 issue sells for around $100 these days.
For more “what ever happened to” information, Tony responds personally:
“I'm living in Dunedin, Florida, happily married to my wife Tammy. Been here, from Chicago, for 12 years.
“I have never stopped writing and recording. I even have a new CD coming out soon, titled “Then and Now.” (It will have some of my older originals along with some newer tracks.)
“Since I'm still performing, my manager now has me using the initials T.J. So for country music songs I perform and record as T.J. Bellus.”
It is a duet number, but I cannot remember the names of the singers. I'm sure it was a one shot kind of thing, and they have no CD out. I believe it was a fluke song that just caught on.
I think the title is something like “Guess I'm Gonna' Stay Awhile.”
Over the years, I have searched everywhere, and I actually saw it on one of those '70s hits packages, at Circuit City, about a year ago. But I didn't buy it and I'm still kicking myself for not getting it then.
I'd really like this song. Hope you can help narrow it down. I'm thinking for some reason that the
man's first name was Dave or David.
Valerie Nadzam (firstname.lastname@example.org)
DEAR VALERIE: Your mystery tune is “Stay Awhile,” a 1971 Top 10 hit (Polydor 15023) for a Canadian pair known as the Bells.
There is no David in these Bells, which feature Cliff Edwards and Jacki Ralph.
On compact disc, I have “Stay Awhile” on “Super Hits of the '70s - Have a Nice Day, Vol. 4” (Rhino R2 70924). This may be the one you let get away last year, but it likely can still be ordered from Rhino.
Even more amazing is that “Robbin' the Cradle” outlasted every one of the Top 25 No. 1 hits of the rock era to that time (1955-1959), except: “Heartbreak Hotel, Don't Be Cruel, Jailhouse Rock” and “All Shook Up” (Elvis Presley); “Rock Around the Clock” (Bill Haley and the Comets); “The Wayward Wind” (Gogi Grant); “Love Letters in the Sand” (Pat Boone); and “Tammy” (Debbie Reynolds).
Not bad, uh? I'm not sure even Tony Bellus was aware of this flattering piece of trivia though he is now.