Guitarist Rick Vito was born in Darby, PA, a suburb of Philadelphia. Though very young, Rick distinctly remembers the impact of the early years of Rock & Roll and the effect it had on his interest in playing the guitar. "Everyone, of course, was crazy about ELVIS and I was too. Also, I was a faithful watcher of the "BANDSTAND" TV show which was broadcast every day from Philadelphia. This started even before DICK CLARK hosted it. Bandstand was the center of the universe as far as Rock & Roll went for me. Most of the classic rockers made their debut on this show before they got to Ed Sullivan, and I remember being fascinated with guys like JERRY LEE LEWIS, FATS DOMINO, and LITTLE RICHARD. But it was the guys with the guitars that really got to me. My mom had played Hawaiian lap guitar as a young girl and we still had her old Oahu acoustic. We have a videotape (transferred from 8mm film) of me about six years old going nuts with that guitar doing my Elvis bit in the living room. It's proof that I'm a bona-fide 50's rocker!"
Rick tried lessons a few times around this time but soon abandoned them preferring instead to work things out by ear. Another weekly TV show had a great impact on the young Vito. "THE ADVENTURES OF OZZIE AND HARRIET" usually featured the teen-age RICKY NELSON with his band every week at the close of each episode performing one of his hit Rockabilly tunes. Playing in Nelson's band at the time was lead guitarist JAMES BURTON, who most often would be given the spotlight to flash out a dazzling solo on his vintage Telecaster, an impression which mesmerized Vito. "I couldn't wait to see that show. Everybody called me Ricky at the time, so naturally I imagined myself as Ricky Nelson up there on the stage. Except I also wanted to be James Burton too! To me, along with SCOTTY MOORE, these were the first real Rock & Roll lead guitarists, the first ones to mix Blues and C & W together. James probably influenced the electric guitar more than anyone ever realized back then, and you can still hear his style in many, many players today."
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