Brooklyn-born Teddy Randazzo was certainly in the right place at the right time to make it as a rock and roll star in the 1950s. Every street corner seemed to be filled with talented, good-looking guys determined to make it big and Randazzo was no exception, but he just never seemed to click in a big way. Still, he managed to have a long and satisfying career, not only as a singer but also as a songwriter and producer, so maybe there’s something to be said for perseverance.
Alessandro Carmelo Randazzo started early, growing up in a musical family and learning to play the accordion and sing so well that he turned professional in his mid-teens. Even though he was the newest member of the pop group known as the Three Chuckles — and the youngest by far — it wasn’t long before he took over the lead vocalist duties. Randazzo and the guys subsequently had a solid hit with “Runaround” and also did well with several other records, which led to a part in a rock and roll movie and a big change for the singer.
The 1950s were filled with movies that were basically rock and roll shows built around rudimentary plots. Often headed up by DJ Alan Freed, the films presented an interesting mix of rising stars and established names. 1956’s Rock, Rock, Rock was more of the same, but with an interesting difference — the Three Chuckles did their thing, but Randazzo was also featured in a solo performance. Apparently he enjoyed the experience because it wasn’t long before he was breaking out as a solo elsewhere too.
He did pretty well over the next few years, scoring minor hits with songs like “Little Serenade” and “The Way of a Clown” while continuing to show up from time to time in more rock and roll movies. But things started slowing down in the late 1960s and Randazzo found himself spending more time as a songwriter and working behind the scenes. As the years passed he wrote hundreds of songs, including many that were hits for everyone from Frank Sinatra to Little Anthony, and the royalties he earned allowed him some independence in his later years. By the time he died in 2003 (at age 68) he could look back on a long, successful career — even if he didn’t become a superstar.