AN EXCELLENT COPY OF THIS GREAT DOUBLE-SIDED UK DOO-WOP HIT FROM FRANKIE LYMON AND THE TEENAGERS ON A UK COLUMBIA 78
As lead vocalist with the Teenagers, Frankie Lymon became the first black teenage singing idol. The group's success inspired the formation of a number of youthful black vocal groups, from the Students in the late '50s to the Jackson Five in the '60s. The group's sound influenced young singers such as Ronnie Bennett and Diana Ross, and served as prototype for both the girl groups and early Motown groups of the '60s.
After forming several short term vocal groups, two black students from Edward D. Stitt Junior High School in the Washington Heights section of New York city, Jimmy Merchant and Sherman Garnes recruited neighborhood Puerto Ricans Herman Santiago and Joe Negroni for the group. They called themselves the Premiers and hoped some day to make a record.
The Premiers were working on a song they had written called "Why Do Birds Sing So Gay" and needed a high tenor. Richard Barrett, a member of the Valentines, lived above the grocery store where Frankie Lymon worked part time. Through him they got together with Lymon who suggested changing the focus of the song and it's title. The song would be known as "Why Do Fools Fall In Love"
The Valentines were under contract to Rama Records owned by George Goldner. Barrett a talent scout for Goldner arranged an audition. Goldner was impressed. At subsequent recording sessions bandleader Jimmy Wright suggested a name change to the Teenagers to reflect the members ages.
Early February, 1956 "Why Do Fools Fall in Love" was released. With Lymon on boyish soprano lead, the song became an instant smash on Gee Records. The song was subsequently covered by the Diamonds and Gale Storm, but unlike most songs rendered by white artists, the original proved to be the biggest hit. The Teenagers were on their way.
Sporting a clean-cut wholesome image, the appeal of the Teenagers was their youth. On stage they were very energetic. The group was well choreographed by Cholly Atkins who would go onto greater fame with the Temptations. The Teenagers were packaged so as not to upset middle lass American parents. They even appeared in letter sweaters.
March, 1956 they were booked by Alan Freed in one of his rock and roll reviews at the Brooklyn Paramount. They appeared with the Platters and Bill Haley and His Comets. A second single "I Want You To Be My Girl" was released in April. A week later they appeared on CBS-TV's Shower of Stars. By the end of April they were touring with "The Biggest Rock and Roll Show of 1956"
Photo from the film Rock, Rock, Rock.
In August production was begun on a movie called Rock. Rock, Rock in which the Teenagers made a cameo appearance. In September they appeared on Alan Freed's radio show. While headlining the Apollo "ABC's of Love" was released. After that they went back to Hollywood to film a cameo for Don't Knock the Rock. In late September they began a tour with Bill Haley that lasted until late November. In November their fifth single "Baby, Baby" was released and their first album Meet the Teenagers was released in December. The Teenagers were enrolled in the School for Professionals. and on the road they took correspondence courses and had traveling tutors. However, they were falling behind in their education and the group stayed at home the first of months of 1957. During this time "Paper Castles" was released
After appearing in a carnival in Panama in March they began a three month tour of England beginning at the London Palladium. While in London, the Teenagers recorded a second album Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers at the London Palladium.
George Goldner had been trying to convince Lymon to go solo and after the success in Great Britain he agreed to do so. On Alan Freed's weekly television show in July Lymon appeared solo. "Goody Goody," his /the last record with the Teenager was released in July.
In September Lymon began an 80 day tour with the Biggest Show Stars for 1957 as a solo act. His first record without the Teenagers, "My Girl" was released.. In November Lymon's "Little Girl" appeared on Roulette and the Teenagers "Flip-Flop" on Gee
January 1958 Lymon released "Thumb, Thumb" Lymon and the Teenagers reunited to sing "Goody Goody" on Dick Clark's "American Bandstand. In June he appeared with the Coasters at the Apollo Theater.
Left to right Joe Negroni, Billy Lobrano, Sherman Garnes,
Jimmy Merchant, and Herman Santiago
Losing his youthful soprano voice, at the age of fifteen Lymon's career was in decline. After the initial success of the first two records sales had slipped with each release. "Goody, Goody" was the last record by Lymon or the Teenagers to have any significant sales.
Lymon had expermented with drugs since 1958 and had become a heroin addict. He entered a drug rehabilitation program in Manhattan 1961, and only remained clean for a few years. On June 21, 1966 he was arrested on a heroin charge. Lymon entered the army in lieu of a jail sentence but, received a less then honorable discharge a short time later. He moved to Fort Gordon, Georgia where he married a local school teacher Emira Eagle and stayed in the Augusta area appearing at a local lounge. In mid-February he told his wife he had a weekend job in New York. On February 27, 1968 he died in the same house he had grown up in with an empty syringe by his side.
UK COLUMBIA DB 3878 10" 78rpm Shellac
I'M NOT A JUVENILE DELINQUENT
Entered the UK charts 29 March 1957 reaching No 12 and stayin the charts for 7 weeks
b/w BABY BABY
SEPERATELY Entered the UK charts 12 April 1957 reaching No 4 and stayin the charts for 12 weeks !!
SUPRISINGLY THE RECORD FAILED TO ENTER THE US CHARTS !
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