Friday, September 10, 2010

Two Forgotten Friday Favorites: Frankie Lymon & The Teenagers

This sweet looking little boy's name was Frankie Lymon. Lymon was sort of the Justin Bieber of his time (I say sort of because I think he was obviously more talented.) Part of a group called The Teenagers, he had a signature voice and at the age of only 13, was inspired by a bunch of love letters to write the group's first hit, "Why Do Fools Fall in Love?" in 1956. The group then topped the R&B charts with several singles, including "I Want You To Be My Girl", "I'm Not A Juvenile Delinquent", and "Baby Baby." Their next big mainstream hit was a cover of "Goody Goody."

Sadly, Lymon's career and life was shortlived. He broke from the Teenagers in 1957 to pursue a solo career, but lost his soprano voice once he went through puberty. He started singing in a falsetto voice to compensate and during his last television appearance - on Hollywood a Go-Go in 1965 - the now 22 year-old lipsynched to his 13 year-old recorded self singing "Why Do Fools Fall in Love?" He also caused a scandal in 1957 when he began dancing with a white girl during  Alan Freed's live ABC show, The Big Beat. He was married and divorced a few times. But most tragically of all, Lymon got hooked on heroin when he was 15 and would die from an overdose of the drug ten years later, at the age of 25. He had actually been clean for three years and had served in the military in the mid-60s but decided to celebrate securing a new recording contract by shooting up again. 

Interestingly, Lymon's life was made into a 1998 movie called (can you guess?) Why Do Fools Fall in Love? and costarred Halle Berry as one of Lymon's three wives fighting for his estate after his death. It was not a commercial success, but it did help reintroduce Lymon's music to the public. 


Here's two TV appearances of Frankie Lymon (the first with The Teenagers) singing his most famous hits - and check out his dancing skills in the second video clip!





6 comments:

Doug said...

Great post! I'm a huge music trivia fan and hope to see more posts like this. How's the guitar lessons coming along? Cheers!

Marlene said...

Remember the music, but not the name!

Pam@GoRetro said...

@Marlene - glad I could help you remember!

@Doug - thanks. I'm still practicing the guitar every chance I get. Currently learning The Beatles' "I Want to Hold Your Hand" (pretty easy.) At some point I may take actual lessons to make that step from beginner to intermediate guitarist.

Anyways, thanks for stopping by!

Keith said...

Hey there. Thanks for your comment on my last blog post. It was great hearing from you. I hope all is well with you. I'm looking for a new job, plus I'm thinking about going back to college. Take care. Have a wonderful week ahead!

LaraAnn said...

I always did like that song Why Do Fools Fall in Love. Haven't heard it in a long time so I am glad that you had it on here. Now that you mention it, I did see most of that movie a few years ago on TV - I found it when channel surfing.
Have a great weekend.

Alex Knight said...

Hey, I just wanted to let you know I linked to this post in my blog because I also used the picture of Frankie Lymon. I thought I'd make sure you were okay with how I credited it. Feel free to check out my post here: http://wp.me/p3r8W0-M.

P.S. I'm not a robot. I really did write an article about Frankie's life and music :) Thanks!

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