Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Eddie Rabbitt in East Orange

Edward Thomas Rabbitt was born in 1941 in Brooklyn, but his family moved to East Orange when he was a young child. 

According to the 1950 census Rabbitt lived at 118 North 19th Street, between Park Avenue and William Street. Another student says the family later moved to 4th Avenue.

Eddie attended Our Lady of All Souls School on Grove Street near 4th Avenue and graduated from 8th grade there in 1956. He probably then began high school at East Orange High, but dropped out soon after. (there is no mention of him or photo of him in the 1957 or 1958 East Orange High yearbooks)

Below: the graduation program for the 1956 8th grade graduation class of Our Lady of All Souls school.

Below, from several sources:

"100% Irish, his father, Thomas, emigrated from County Galway to the U.S. in 1924, while his mother, Mae, came from County Mayo. The name “Rabbitt” is Gaelic for “counselor to chiefs.” Although born in Brooklyn on November 27, 1941, Eddie was raised in East Orange, NJ. Eddie was exposed to music from an early age, listening to his father playing Irish jigs and reels on the fiddle and accordion. Eddie started to play guitar at age 12 (being taught by his scoutmaster, Tony Schwickrath, who performed as “Texas Bob Randall.” Eddie began entering talent contests. In 1953 Eddie wrote his first song, Susie."

[Several sources cite Tony Schwickrath as not only Eddie's scoutmaster, but also his neighbor, which would explain why he was able to teach guitar to Eddie]

"Eddie’s parents divorced while he was in high school, with the result that his grades dropped and he dropped out and hit the road. (He later got his high school diploma at night school). He had various jobs including driving a truck, working as an attendant in a mental hospital, working in an electronics plant and scooping ice cream at a Howard Johnson’s. In 1964 he got a job singing in the Six Steps Down club in East Orange, NJ. That same year Eddie made his recording debut on 20th Century Records with “ext to the Note/Six Nights & Seven Days. Eddie hopped a Greyhound Bus to Nashville in 1968 with $1,000 to his name."

Eddie Rabbitt may be in the 1947 kindergarten photo below, but he has not been identified yet


  1. I'm in no doubt coming back again to read these articles and blogs.

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  2. He lived at 275 prospect st the prospect towers i knew.him there one.night elvis was there i walked in the lobby the doorman was talking to elvis i.almost fell over he was stopping by i assume to visit eddie rabbit. He had a hit that time. 1968 or 1969 i forget kentucky rain rabbit wrote ot elvis was at the garden in nyc performing east orange is anout 15 miles from nyc to add more trivia it was early in the evening the same night elvis stopped st the. White house unannounced and nixon. Let him in lol i never tell ppl this story they think. Its bs but it happened at the prospect towers apts in east orange nj

  3. Thank you very much for this scholarly blog!
    You mentioned that you are doing fine but haven't spotted anything to post for a while. Let me humbly suggest another subject: the East Orange Tennis Club. It appears on the 1932 map that you posted earlier; it’s tucked into the block bounded by Park, Glenwood, Eastwood, and Woodland.
    I had never heard of it, and I couldn’t find much online.
    It was listed in the 1977 Suburban Essex phonebook:
    Most of all, I hope that you are still doing fine. Best wishes
    Mike, OLAS ’59, CJS ‘63

    1. I'll see what I can find out about that. Tennis has been my favorite sport for about 60 years ever since I took lessons on the clay courts of the East Orange Oval during the summer of 1959.

  4. Thank you for looking into this.
    (And speaking of the Oval, Columbian Playground was my home-away-from-home for a while.)

  5. The recently released 1950 Census shows Edward Rabbitt age 8 at 118 North 19th Street.

    1. Thanks for that new info. I'll update the post soon.