Bobby Aro: King of the Great Northwoods

Bobby Aro certainly knew how to put on a show, and that’s just what he did for decades entertaining people throughout the country with his “Finn-glish” songs, stories and jokes.  He came to fame with his northern Minnesota radio shows, recorded popular records like “Highway No. 7,” and developed an enormous and loyal group of fans before his death in 1996. 

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Aro was born in Zim, Minnesota and was raised in Leonidas, Minnesota.  After graduating from the Radio Institute of Chicago, he became music director and an announcer at KHUZ, in Borger, Texas.  Following a stint as a popular disc jockey and singer in the Texas Panhandle, he moved to Chicago, where he appeared in area clubs, and on coast-to-coast radio and early television programs.  He returned to northern Minnesota with his wife to raise a family and go to work for the Arrowhead Radio Network.  Aro wrote several hit songs, including the first version of “Highway No. 7” recorded in 1957, which he claimed sold a million records!   In 1959, Aro joined WEVE in Eveleth and starred in the “Bobby Aro Show” on Saturdays.  He entertained listeners with his radio show and, along with his band The Ranch-Aros, performed live throughout the US and Canada into the 1990s.   He enjoyed a huge fan following throughout the U.S., Canada and even in Europe.  He visited and performed live in Finland in 1980.

Bobby Aro passed away on Jan. 19, 1996 at the age of 69.  In 2008, the St. Louis County Board designated County Highway No. 7, from U.S. Highway 53 in Twig to State Highway 169 in Mountain Iron, as the “Bobby Aro Memorial Highway.”

Bobby Aro Links:

Bobby Aro in the Duluth News Tribune:

Virginia Historical Society:

Bobby Aro Photo Gallery:

Bobby Aro at Chicago Sears

Bobby Aro standing with two men

Bobby Aro with a guitar

Young Bobby Aro with snowshoes and pets

Funding for this program is provided by the Minnesota Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund. Click here for more information or visit the Minnesota Legacy website.

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