Aired on Treasure Island Oldies – Feb 11, 2024
In 1935 local Pittsburgh bandleader, Stan Vintula, welcomed his son, Stanley Robert Vintula Jr. into the world.
The young boy began studying music. At the age of 15 he had his first band, a trio, originally named the Hilites. He would soon go on his own and eventually signed with Epic Records, a label that produced his first 39 charted songs.
His breakout record on the Billboard Hot 100 went to #1 in July 1962, a composition written by singer/songwriter Paul Evans with words you probably wrote in someone’s high school yearbook.
Our featured artist was actually signed to CBS’ subsidiary Epic Records as a band leader, thanks to the efforts of local Pittsburgh Deejay, Dick Lawrence. He recorded two albums of big band music but they failed to sell.
Epic decided to drop the artist but, during a meeting, he countered that they owed him two more recordings in accordance to his contract. Per the artist, the executives adjourned to another room and while alone he began playing some records from a “reject pile.”
One of these records was a demo of a Paul Evans composition. He persuaded Epic to let him record it. He first did it as an R&B tune and commented, “It was the worst sounding thing you ever heard in your life.”
At his recommendation, the second time around he did it country style with Epic bringing in new arrangements, strings, and a vocal choir.
It was Epic’s first #1 hit. When the song sold a million copies, Robert Morgan became the first record producer to officially receive a gold record in recognition of his contribution.
This was just the beginning for the “Polish Prince,” Bobby Vinton, the man who has been called “the most successful love singer of the Rock-Era.” (Billboard Magazine)
So the next time you pull out those old high school yearbooks, flip to the back pages and look for some poetry that begins with “Roses Are Red (My Love),” this week’s Tom Locke Valentine moment.
YouTube video of this song:
This “Moments In Time” story is yet another example of a “golden oldie” or forgotten favorite that earned its place in the evolution of Rock & Roll.