Bobby Curtola’s career began at age 15 with Bobby and The Bobcats in Port Arthur, Ontario. In 1960 Curtola rode the Canadian music charts with Hand in Hand With You. Curtola went on to record hits such as Indian Giver and his biggest chart-topper Fortune Teller in 1962, selling over 2.5 million copies internationally. Over the years, he gained 25 Canadian gold singles, twelve gold albums and an RPM Gold Leaf Award for Best Male Vocalist in 1966. In 2011 Curtola received a star on the Italian Walk of Fame in Toronto. Bobby was a businessman and one of those rare entertainers to hang with the Rat Pack in Vegas during the most exciting times for singers, comics, and every kind of stage entertainer.
Bobby’s longtime partner Karyn Rockford perished in a car accident in Nova Scotia in 2015. Curtola died at home in Edmonton in 2016. Curtola is celebrated for his contributions to Canadian music in a ceremony on October 27 for the Canadian Music Hall of Fame. I caught up with sons Chris and Mike for this conversation.
Bill King: There have been many campaigns on Bobby’s behalf to get him recognized as a pioneer in contemporary Canadian music. How would Bobby have reacted to being inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame?
Chris & Mike Curtola: He would be very humbled and grateful. He knows it’s not about the awards for his career, but it would have brought a big smile and a, “Wow! Thank You!”. The number of people behind the scenes that were pushing for him to get this award is truly amazing. People like Anne Murray, Allan Reid, Larry Leblanc, and the committee of Tom Wilson, Doug Chappell, Gary Muth, Al Mair, Dave Charles, and Roger Ashby were big champions of this.