#10: Let’s Kiss And Make Up by Bobby Vinton

City: Halifax, NS
Radio Station: CHNS
Peak Month: December 1962
Peak Position in Halifax ~ #1
Peak position in Vancouver ~ did not chart
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ #38
YouTube: “Let’s Kiss And Make Up
Lyrics: “Let’s Kiss And Make Up

Stanley Robert Vinton was born in 1935 in Canonsberg, Pennsylvania. His father was a bandleader, and the Polish surname was originally Vintula, and anglicized to Vinton. He was given a weekly 25-cent allowance as an incentive to learn the clarinet (about $4.25 in 2024 dollars). By the age of sixteen, Bobby Vinton had his own band in Pittsburgh. He got a degree in university in music composition, and learned to also play saxophone, piano, drums, trumpet and oboe. In the fall of 1959, Bobby Vinton wrote a song titled “First Impression” which became a Top 40 hit in Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Syracuse (NY) and Flint (MI). In early 1960, Vinton had a Top 20 hit in Syracuse (NY) with “A Freshman And A Sophomore”. He served in the United States Army for two years and got a record deal late in 1960 on the Epic label.

Vinton closed the year with the release of his first studio album, a jazz-pop-big band set of tracks titled Dancing At The Hop. He released a half dozen singles between 1958 and 1961. But his big breakout record was “Roses Are Red (My Love)”, which spent four weeks at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 in July-August 1962. The record topped the pop charts in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Norway, and also South Africa. It was an international Top Ten hit in over fifteen nations.

Bobby Vinton released several more singles in 1962, including the Top 20 hit “Rain, Rain, Go Away” and Top 40 tune “Let’s Kiss And Make Up”.

Let's Kiss And Make Up by Bobby Vinton
“Let’s Kiss And Make Up” is perhaps of interest as it was one of the first songs written by Van McCoy, as well as Jerry Ragovoy. Van Allen Clinton McCoy was born in 1940 in Washington DC. He learned to play piano while he was a child, and by age 12 he began writing songs and performing with his older brother Norman McCoy Jr. in amateur hours. The pair formed a doo-wop group in the mid-50s called the Starlighters. In 1956, they released a dance-inspired single titled “The Birdland”. The Starlighters released the last of three singles in 1959 titled “I Cried”. In 1961, McCoy released a single titled “Hey, Mr. D.J.” which charted below the Billboard Hot 100 at #104. He began writing songs for other recording artists. These include “When You’re Young And In Love” for Ruby & the Romantics (and later the Marvelettes), “Baby I’m Yours” for Barbara Lewis (#11 in 1965), “Baby Don’t Change Your Mind” by Gladys Knight & the Pips (#4 in the UK in 1977); And “I Get The Sweetest Feeling” for Jackie Wilson (#3 in the UK in 1987).

He also had a #1 hit with “The Hustle” in 1975. He told Black Stars Magazine, “I hadn’t even seen the dance when I wrote the song.” In 1976, McCoy had a #4 hit in the UK with “The Shuffle”. Van McCoy died of a heart attack at the age of 39 in 1979. Over the years, Van McCoy wrote songs for Jimmy Jones, The Shirelles, Chuck Jackson, Roy Hamilton, The Drifters, Betty Everett, Irma Thomas, Jerry Butler, Bobby Lee, Chad & Jeremy, Nancy Wilson, the O’Jays, Vicki Carr, Major Lance, Donny Hathaway, Brenda & the Tabulations, Melba Moore, David Ruffin, Peaches & Herb, and Faith, Hope & Charity.

Jerry Ragovoy, was born in Philadelphia in 1931 to Hungarian, Jewish immigrants. He penned many songs for recording artists including “Pata Pata” for Miriam Makeba, “Cry Baby” for Garnett Mims and later Janis Joplin, Big Brother and the Holding Company’s 1968 hit “Piece of My Heart”. Ragovoy also wrote “Time Is On My Side”, a hit for the Rolling Stones. Ragovoy also won a Grammy Award in 1972 for being co-producer of the Broadway musical about the African-American societal issues, Don’t Bother Me, I Can’t Cope. For awhile he owned a recording studio called the Hit Factory where Stevie Wonder recorded his album, Songs In The Key Of Life. Ragovoy died in 2011 at the age of 80.

“Let’s Kiss And Make Up” is a song about a couple who had a quarrel. Who cares who is wrong or right? The guy confesses what “matters now is I miss you tonight.”

“Let’s Kiss And Make Up” peaked at #1 in Halifax (NS), #2 in Worcester (MA), Seattle, Springfield (MA), #3 in Denver, #7 in Kingston (ON), and #8 in Cincinnati (OH).

In 1963, Bobby Vinton continued to chart with a cover of the 1957 R&B hit by Johnnie and Joe “Over The Mountain (Across The Sea)”, the Burt Bacharach-Hal David tune “Blue On Blue”, and a cover of the 1951 Top 20 hit by Tony Bennett titled “Blue Velvet” (which Vinton took to number-one in September ’63).

In 1964, his cover of Vaughan Monroe’s number-one hit in 1945, “There I’ve Said It Again”, which also topped the charts for Vinton in January 1964. He remained in the Top Ten in 1964 with “My Heart Belongs To Only You” and his fourth number-one hit “Mr. Lonely”. That year Vinton appeared in the teen flick Surf Party, along with Jackie DeShannon and the Routers.

Let's Kiss And Make Up by Bobby Vinton

In 1965, Bobby Vinton made a guest appearance on The Patty Duke Show. In the latter half of the Sixties, Bobby Vinton’s most notable hits were “Coming Home Soldier” (1966), “Please Love Me Forever” (1967) and “I Love How You Love Me” (1968-69).

In 1972, Bobby Vinton successfully covered the 1962 hit by Brian Hyland, “Sealed With A Kiss”. It peaked at #19 on the Billboard Hot 100, and #1 on CHUM in Toronto. His last notable hit was in 1975 with the English-Polish recording of “My Melody Of Love”. As a result of that song, he was nicknamed “the Polish Prince”. The song became his theme-song on The Bobby Vinton Show on CTV in Canada from 1975 to 1978.  In 1978, Bobby Vinton published his autobiography titled The Polish Prince.

In film, Bobby Vinton appeared alongside John Wayne in Big Jake (1971) and The Train Robbers (1973). In the late 1970s, Canonsburg built and named two streets after Bobby Vinton: Bobby Vinton Boulevard and the shorter adjoining Bobby Vinton Drive, in his honor. He was also awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. In 1990, Bobby Vinton’s 1963 recording of “Blue Velvet” became a #2 hit on the UK Pop Singles chart. Between 1961 and 1998, Bobby Vinton released nearly forty studio albums.

Between 1960 and 2014, Bobby Vinton made 30 appearances in concert in Canada. Most of these were in Windsor (ON), Toronto and Montreal. Vinton also performed in Saskatoon (1963), Ottawa (1971), and St Catharines (ON) and Orillia (ON), both in 2014. In 2015, at the age of 80, Bobby Vinton retired from performing.

March 25, 2024
Ray McGinnis

Dave Laing, “Jerry Ragovoy Obituary: US Songwriter Known for Time Is On My Side and Piece Of My Heart,” Guardian, July 19, 2011.
Vinton enjoys career as multi-talented performer,” Portsmouth Daily Times, Portsmouth (NH), August 5, 1990.
Bobby Vinton – concert dates – Canada,” setlist.fm.
Trailer, “Surf Party,” Twentieth Century-Fox, 1964
Patty and the Newspaper Game,” The Patty Duke Show, February 3, 1965. (Guest star: Bobby Vinton)
Van McCoy, Composed ‘The Hustle,’ Hit in ’75,” New York Times, July 7, 1979.

Let's Kiss And Make Up by Bobby Vinton

CHNS 960-AM Halifax (NS) Top Ten | December 20, 1962

One response to “Let’s Kiss And Make Up by Bobby Vinton”

  1. rockinrichskelly says:

    Informative article about one of the at-least three beloved Bobbys of the early/mid Sixties—Vee, Vinton and Rydell. There were probably more that I’m overlooking, though Bobby Sherman in the early ‘70s sure went on a big run.

    Thanks for the brief detour to reflect on Van McCoy. A great tragedy that he died so relatively young. But at least he had a Billboard chart topper—The Hustle—under his own name to complement all the great hits we was involved with behind the scenes.

    Bobby Vinton, now 88, retired nine years ago after surviving a very debilitating bout of shingles. He became a very public advocate for shingles vaccinations afterwards to help other seniors avoid what he went through.

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