Bobby Curtola’s death Saturday at 73 came as a real shock. I will always remember his youthful enthusiasm and how he loved to perform. Bobby was Canada’s first singing idol. Ottawa’s Paul Anka moved to the U.S. and in hindsight Bobby should have gone too – most of his early recordings were made in Nashville. He was the Justin Bieber of his day. Without the tattoos!
To this day Bobby Curtola has yet to be recognized by the Canadian Music Hall of Fame for his contributions to Canadian pop music. He was good enough to receive the Order of Canada but obviously not recognition by his peers.
Bobby broke out in the early Sixties and when he appeared in Vancouver at Park Royal mall over 3,000 kids showed up. I met him when I was program director at C-FUN/Vancouver and he performed for C-FUN Day at Kits Showboat. Almost 10,000 showed up for this annual event, big numbers for the Sixties!
I worked with Bobby over the years, but having him open for Roy Orbison at EXPO 86 in front of two packed houses was one of the highlights of his life. His genuine and positive attitude about life caused him considerable strife. He was naive and some of his professional moves were questionable. Bobby Curtola always gave a great performance and gave it his all. He was a kind and considerate talent and always proud to be a Canadian.
Rest In Peace my friend.