The 1950’s band Frankie Lymon & The Teenagers were the mold for similar bands to come such as The Jackson 5
Remembering Frankie Lymon on his 80th Birthday
Frankie Lymon was born in Harlem, New York on September 30th, 1942. He came to prominence during the mid 1950’s with his teenage Doo-Wop / Rock N’ Roll band Frankie Lymon & The Teenagers, consisting mainly in African-american members. The group, which was the prototype or mold for others to come such as The Jackson 5 and some of the Motown groups during the 1960’s, scored their biggest hit in 1956 with “Why Do Fools Fall In Love”, which was co-written by Lymon when he was only 13 years old. In January 1956. It reached No. 1 on the R&B chart, No. 6 on Billboard’s Pop Singles chart, and number 1 on the UK Singles Chart in July wich made them one of the first American acts of that musical genre to tour Europe.In early 1957, Lymon and the Teenagers broke up while on a tour in Europe when Lymon begun to get all the attention and taking the spotlight away from the rest of the band. Over the next four years, Lymon struggled through short-lived deals with 20th Century Fox Records and Columbia Records. His career got stuck during the 1960’s and he became prematurely just a nostalgia act from the 1950’s. His luck changed in 1968 when he got a recording contract from Big Apple in conjunction with Roulette Record label and on February 27th, to celebrate the deal and a recording session scheduled for the next day, Lymon took Heroín, he had been addicted to drugs during most of his 20’s but reportedly hadn’t use it for 3 years up until that day. Hours later, Lymon was found dead of a heroin overdose at the age of only 25 on the floor of his grandmother’s bathroom. His legacy and influence can be best heard on singers such as Michael Jackson and The Jackson 5, but also he was named as a reference or influence for names such as Ronnie Spector, Diana Ross, The Chantels, The Temptations, George Clinton, Smokey Robinson, Len Barry and The Beach Boys, among others.
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