EW chats with Bobby Vinton about his squeaky new voice -- The ''Mr. Lonely'' singer tells how his 1964 hit chipmunk-ified by rapper Akon

By Darel Jevens
Updated April 04, 2005 at 04:00 AM EDT

And you thought those hard-knock tykes on the Jay-Z track sounded weird. In his radio hit ”Lonely,” Senegal-born rapper Akon aligns his rhymes with a sample from ”Mr. Lonely” — yes, the 1964 schmaltz smash by the ”Polish Prince,” Bobby Vinton. It’s the first top 10 chart appearance in 31 years for Vinton, still on the road at 69, and he’s both delighted and dumbfounded.

EW So when Akon sent you the song, you immediately gave it your blessing?

Vinton I said, ”Gee, I don’t know.” But my wife and daughter started to scream, ”What a hit record this is!” I said, ”Really? This is gonna work?” Now I’m kind of excited about it.

EW Your voice is all sped-up and squeaky!

Vinton Yeah, I sound like a chipmunk. If they would have used my real voice, I would have loved it. I guess they needed a faster tempo.

EW What’s next? MTV?

Vinton Akon wanted me to do the video. But I couldn’t — I was playing the Potawatomi Bingo Casino in Milwaukee.

EW You haven’t been so hip since David Lynch used your song ”Blue Velvet” for his film.

Vinton And Martin Scorsese put ”Roses Are Red (My Love)” in GoodFellas. These songs I recorded never seem to want to die!