He was having a terrible time getting any air play, exposure for his latest record. He believed so strongly in the record that he personally had gone to the distribution center and bought up all the 45s. If his label would not promote the record he would.
Back then an artist often "pitched" their latest song. The artist would go from town to town, state to state, showing up at a station to meet the local DJ and give him the artist new recording. Hoping the personal meeting would influence the jockey to play the record, the kids would hear it and that would start the calls to the station to "play that record."
In his own words he had "plastered" Pittsburgh, Wheeling and Steubenville with the record. Now to get air play. Give the guy credit, he was creative. The song had to do with teenagers and roses. He went to a florist, a trusting one he said, who would sell him dozens and dozens of roses on account. In other words on credit. He had tried every promotion method that he had previously known.
Ok now he has his car loaded with roses and records. He stops in front of this station about to go in when he sees a young lady walking down the street. In his words, "She had on a short skirt and yes pretty legs." In an instant he thinks "She could be my entree to the disc jockeys."
He follows her down the street engages her in conversation and presents his promotion idea. "You ride this afternoon with me from one station to another you can deliver my record buried in red roses to the disc jockey." She looked at him like he was crazy but replied "Why not?" The young lady rode around with him from station to station. She was having no trouble in getting the attention of the folks behind the mike and in turn leaving roses and a record. Every DJ they pitched that day played the record that afternoon or evening when they went on the air.
Shortly thereafter his record label told him, "You won't believe this but we have checked just in Pittsburgh alone they have sold over 1,000 of your record. It's getting air play and the kids are asking for it." Thus the song "Roses are Red" became Bobby Vinton's first million selling record and launched his career.
"I have never forgotten that 'mystery gal' who was so kind to me when I needed help from someone so badly."
The Polish Prince--Bobby Vinton
Over the years Vinton continued to seek and find that young lady with no success. The record has since sold millions, has been his signature song and recorded by many other artists.
Personally I so well remember the record. The first time I heard the song I was a sophomore in college, 1962. I had been to visit a high school buddy in Decatur, Illinois and I was driving back to my home in Indiana. Hearing the song for the first time the lyrics caught my attention. I pulled to the side of the road and listened to the lyrics.
You know sometimes for something to become successful it takes some planning and creativity on the part of the one or one's involved. Also, sometimes simple things that people do for others turn out to be so big as the years go by.
March 15, 2014