A music legend here in New Jersey with a resume that reads like a Who’s Who of Rock n Roll history, celebrated his 70th birthday this week.
My good friend Bobby Bandiera doesn’t look 70. OK, with the beard maybe he does, but his talent is that of a seasoned music veteran who has a tremendous ear for the integrity of every note he plays.
Bobby continues to play to the enjoyment of so many who have been following him for years.
His schedule at 70 has slowed only because that’s the way he wants it. He’s having fun playing gigs cracking jokes, and making people enjoy what he loves and was born to do, play great music.
Born and raised in Orange, New Jersey, Bobby played with local bands at the age of 15. Bandmates used to have to drive him to all the gigs. He was good enough to replace those much older with an uncanny ability to hear a song and play it back verbatim.
From his days playing with Cats on a Smooth Surface, which was the house band at the famed Stone Pony in Asbury Park, to touring with Bon Jovi, playing with Bruce Springsteen, Southside Johnny, and so many music legends, performing is a fuel for Bobby to keep the music going to the delight of his fans.
Although he’s not a fan of turning 70 he hasn’t slowed down or lost a music step. His playing is the best it’s ever been and his voice is still strong.
Bobby has tremendous compassion for those in need. Very quietly he’s been a volunteer for the non-profit group Holiday Express which delivers music through music shows along with the gift of kindness to those in need. Holiday Express goes to soup kitchens, hospices, development centers, and other places that serve the less fortunate. He’s been doing it for over 25 years.
He hosted and was the musical director for The Hope Concerts held at The Count Basie Center for the Arts in Red Bank. Every year we call on friends such as Bruce Springsteen, Jon Bon Jovi, Southside Johnny, Gary US Bonds, Darlene Love, and so many other big-name artists to raise significant money for great local charities. In ten years, The Hope Concerts have raised over three million dollars, all for New Jersey-based charities. I’ve had the pleasure of hosting most of those concerts.
An evening listening to and sharing the music of Bobby Bandiera takes you to a better place than when you arrived. Go and enjoy his music.
Happy Birthday to Bobby Bandiera, thank you for your talent and giving, I’m proud to be your friend. Now where’s the birthday cake?
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The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 weekend host Big Joe Henry. Any opinions expressed are Big Joe’s own.
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