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Robbin' the Cradle

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Album Review

"Robbin' the Cradle" was the sole hit for Tony Bellus, who may hold the distinction of being the only accordion-wielding teen idol. "Robbin' the Cradle" reached the Top 25 in America and charted even higher in Canada, prompting cover versions by Ray Smith and Jody Reynolds. Bellus' label, NRC, tried to further capitalize on the success of the single by having Bellus cut a full-length album in 1959; the result was the label's most commercially successful album. The album cover is a camp classic, showing Bellus gazing penetratingly at a somewhat crazed-looking young girl holding a toy. The dozen songs on the LP adhere to the cradle-robbing theme with covers of pop standards and new compositions that mention young love or the word "baby," such as "Baby Face," "Yes Sir, That's My Baby," and "When My Baby Smiles at Me." Ronnie Isle, a songwriter and occasional recording artist, contributes three songs to the album, including "Young Girls," a number Marvin Rainwater cut for MGM the same year. In Bellus' interpretation, "Young Girls" receives a very unusual instrumental arrangement consisting of a snare drum and an acoustic guitar. Bellus' accordion appears from time to time, but is used only for coloration — Robbin' the Cradle couldn't accurately be described as accordion-powered rock & roll. Several of Bellus' NRC labelmates, including Jerry Reed, Ray Stevens, and Joe South, play on the record, and it's fun to try picking out their contributions as the album plays. NRC's CD reissue of Robbin' the Cradle is mastered from the original tapes and vividly reproduces the original album art. A second volume containing Bellus' non-album singles for NRC as well as later recordings is rumored to be in the works.


Born: April 17, 1936 in Chicago, IL

Genre: Pop

Years Active: '50s, '60s

Tony Bellus is an American singer/accordionist who scored a number 25 pop hit with "Robbin' the Cradle"...
Full Bio
Robbin' the Cradle, Tony Bellus
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