“Sleepin’ on the beach/Seven days a week/Rockin’ every night/Till the early bright,” sang teen idol Bobby Rydell on his 1963 hit, “Wildwood Days.” While he may not havepartied to that extent, personally, he knew what he was singing about:Even though he grew up in Philadelphia, he regularly vacationed in the South Jersey resort town.
“My grandmother, my mom’s mom, had a boarding house in Wildwood,” Rydell told Mark Voger of The Star-Ledger in 2011. “I used to spend my childhood up until the time I started recording when I was 17 years old … I spent all my summers in Wildwood, N.J. It was phenomenal.
“I think the original record was recorded by the Dovells. They (Cameo Records) were going to release the record by the Dovells. I don’t know who made the decision. They said, ‘Well, you know, Bobby’s like, really, a Wildwood guy. Let’s let Bobby record it.’”
The song was a No. 17 hit for Rydell, who is now 73 and still touring, both on his own and as one of the Golden Boys (also featuring Fabian and Frankie Avalon).
New Jersey celebratedits 350th birthday lastyear. And in the 350 Jersey Songs series, we are markingthe occasion by posting 350 songs — one a day, for almost a year — that have something to do with the state, its musical history, or both. We started in September 2014, and will keep going until late in the summer.
If you would like to suggest any songs to be included, please let me know in the comments section underneath the video. And if you want to see the entire list, either alphabetically or in the order the songs were selected, click here.