Niagara Gazette

Night & Day

May 23, 2013

Here comes 'The Polish Prince'

Night & Day — It’s the busiest weekend in long time for high-profile concerts in the area. At Artpark on Friday the Avett Brothers perform the first concert of the venues 40th anniversary season. Darien Lake hosts Tim McGraw on Saturday and on Tuesday Fall Out Boy makes a stop at The Rapid’s Theatre for a sold-out show.

Also on Saturday, Bobby Vinton comes to the Seneca Niagara Casino. Vinton’s storied career has lasted over five decades, longer than the careers of the three other artists coming to town this weekend combined. (Avett Brothers-13 years, Fall Out Boy-12 years and Tim McGraw- 21 years)

This week I had the honor of speaking with the legendary Bobby Vinton by phone from his home in Florida. My first question was about his song, “Mr. Lonely,” which was one of his first major hits.

“The song was a big hit with the Vietnam veterans. It was a big hit in Asia, in fact in Japan the song was so big there was a radio show at midnight called “Mr. Lonely” and they played my music as their theme song. It was a late night call-in show where people talked about their problems and when I went to Japan to perform I was amazed at the phenomenal that song received.”

In 2005, rapper Akon released a version of the song with Vinton’s vocals sped up.

“They had to get my permission to use the song and I have a friend that I have known for a long whose son runs the label. He told me his son had someone that made a remake of “Mr. Lonely” and I told him he could do whatever he needed to do. He said it was going to be a number one record by this rapper named Akon and I told him to send it to me. When I heard it I thought the speed was wrong. I thought it was the worst thing I ever heard,” Vinton said, chuckling.

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