Kenny Rossi
Kenny Rossi

Excerpt from Cooler Than Ice: Arctic Records and the Rise of Philly Soul:

An Italian-American teen idol and American Bandstand graduate with an Arctic single? You bet.

Kenny Rossi wasn’t revered by millions of teenage girls for his singing on Dick Clark’s daily rock and roll show on ABC-TV. It was his looks and dancing prowess as a regular during Clark’s initial years as host that made him a hotter commodity with the nation’s teens than a lot of the artists who lip-synched their latest hits there. Rossi attended West Catholic High School, located a couple of blocks from the studios of WFIL-TV, from which Bandstand aired live five afternoons a week. Urged by his mother to attend the show because she wanted to see what he looked like on the tube, Kenny ended up being voted the most popular boy on the program.

With daily national exposure like that, it’s little wonder Rossi pursued a singing career, following in the footsteps of local heroes Frankie Avalon, Bobby Rydell, and Fabian.

Producers Bianchini and McLeod worked him out on a pop-slanted treatment of Bobby “Blue” Bland’s gospel-inflected soul scorcher “Turn On Your Love Light” that came complete with strings.

When Rossi’s singing career ran its course, he became a talent agent and later got into book publishing. Bandstand’s army of devoted fans will never forget him.


Cooler Than Ice: Arctic Records and the Rise of Philly Soul

Philly Soul
Philly Soul