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Subject: ARCHIVE: February 10, 2008 ~Pioneer Rock & Roller performer Freddie Bell, whose group 'Freddie Bell and the Bellboys', were influential in the development of rock and roll in the 1950s & 60s, even appearing in popular R&R-based films. As solo, Bell enjoying Vegas lounge appearances, until his death at 76. ...

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Date Posted: Sunday, February 10, 11:50:01am

Freddie Bell,
[ Ferdinando Dominick Bello ]
(September 29, 1931 February 10, 2008)

American musician, whose group, Freddie Bell and the Bellboys, were influential in the development of rock and roll in the 1950s. He was a prominent performer with the group on the Las Vegas Strip in the 1950s and 1960s, and continued to perform in Las Vegas into his later years after the demise of the group.

Born Ferdinando Dominick Bello in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to Italian American parents, who were shopkeepers, and grew up in New Jersey. He became a trombonist, bassist, drummer, and singer, playing in various bands including that of Ernie Ventura. In 1952 he formed his own group, the Bellboys, with Jack Kane (saxophone), Frankie Brent (bass / guitar), Russ Conti (piano), Chick Keeney (drums), and Jerry Mayo (trumpet). They were one of the first white groups to play the R&B hits of the day, and honed their act in the Midwest before landing a booking at the Sands Hotel and Casinno in Las Vegas.

...In 1955, the group made their first recordings for the Teen Records label, including a cover version of Leiber and Stoller's "Hound Dog" (first recorded by Big Mama Thornton). When performing the song in Las Vegas, they were seen by Elvis Presley, who was impressed and decided to record the song himself. The group was subsequently signed to Mercury Records. In 1956 they were featured alongside Bill Haley and the Comets in the first rock and roll movie, "Rock Around the Clock." The group's single from the film, the novelty song "Giddy Up A Ding Dong," was an international hit, especially in England where it peaked at #4 on the pop charts.

Freddie Bell and the group became closely associated with Las Vegas in the 1950s and 1960s, performing regularly not only at The Sands, but the Desert Inn, the Sahara Hotel, the Flamingo Hotel and other venues. Through the 1950s, 60s, Bell and the band appeared in "Rumble on the Docks" (1956), and rock & roll-based films like "Rock Around the Clock" (1956), and "Get Yourself a College Girl" (1964) with co-star Nancy Sinatra.

Around these years, the group were later joined by Roberta Linn, who was married to Bell from 1961, until their divorce in 1973. Although The Bellboys disbanded when the hit records stopped coming in the mid-60's, Freddie Bell continued to be a popular solo act into his later years and continued in Las Vegas until his death.

Freddie Bell died, aged 76, in 2008, and was
buried at Palm Memorial Park in Las Vegas, NV. ...

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