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frankie lymon and the teenagers

Frankie Lymon & The Teenagers

This group comprised of Frankie Lymon:

b. Franklin Joseph 'Frankie' Lymon, 30th September 1942, Washington Heights, New York, U.S.A.

d. 28th February 1968, New York City, New York, U.S.A.

and the Teenagers:

Herman Santiago

Jimmy Merchant

Timothy Wilson

past members:

Jimmy Castor

Joe Negroni

Sherman Garnes

Billy Lobrano

Howard Kenny Bobo

Freddie Houston

Bobby Jay

Lewis Lymon (b. 20th June 1944, Harlem, New York, U.S.A. d. 9th July 2013, Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S.A.)

Pearl McKinnon

Eric Ward

Derek Ventura

Dickie Harmon

Frankie Lymon was the soprano lead singer of the group The Teenagers.

The group was composed of five singers, all in their teenage years.

The group’s first single, ‘Why Do Fools Fall in Love’, was released in 1956.

Frankie became a solo vocalist a year later.

Born in Harlem, his father was a truck driver, whilst his mother worked as a maid.

Born into a poor background, his parents sang with the group the Harlemaires.

When he was 12, he saw the group the Coupe De Villes at a school talent show.

The group’s lead singer, Herman Santiago and Frankie joined forces and sang in the groups, The Ermines and The Premiers (both group members: Joe Negroni, Herman Santiago, Jimmy Merchant and Sherman Garnes).

Frankie Lymon

The Premiers became The Teenagers, impressing Richard Barrett, a singer with The Valentines.

As a result Barrett set up an audition with record producer George Goldner.

He placed Frankie as the lead vocalist, and local deejays christened the group ‘Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers’.

‘Why Do Fools Fall in Love’ b/w 'Please Be Mine' became their first single in 1955 on Gee Records, reaching number 6 (in 1956) on the Billboard pop singles chart.

Several further singles followed, including ‘I Want You To Be My Girl b/w 'I'm Not A Know It All’, ‘I Promise To Remember’ b/w 'Who Can Explain', ‘Out in the Cold Again’ b/w 'Miracle In The Rain', ‘The ABC's of Love’ b/w 'Share', ‘I’m Not A Juvenile Delinquent' b/w 'Baby, Baby’ and ‘Goody Goody’ b/w ' Creation Of Love' (all between 1956 and 1957).

Frankie LymonFrankie LymonFrankie LymonFrankie Lymon

why do fools fall in love - 1956/78 / the teenagers featuring frankie lymon - 1956 / frankie lymon at the london palladium - 1957 / rock n'roll party - 1959

A parent album, ‘The Teenagers Featuring Frankie Lymon’, was issued in December 1956.

After going solo, Frankie began performing with backing vocals provided from pre-recorded tapes.

As a solo artist, Frankie did not achieve the success he had realised with the Teenagers.

He then released ‘My Girl’ b/w 'So Goes My Love' in 1957, for the Roulette Records imprint.

His voice then broke and he became a falsetto singer, releasing his cover of Bobby Day's ‘Little Bitty Pretty One’ b/w 'Creation Of Love', which reached number 58 on the Hot 100 pop chart in 1960.

The final session that the Teenagers recorded for the Goldner imprint was performed in June of 1960.

These recordings included: 'Can You Tell Me?' and 'A Little Wiser Now'.

Frankie had suffered from an addiction to heroin since the age of 15, an addiction which worsened in his passing years.

Frankie Lymon & The Teenagers

In 1961, Roulette Records, closed their contract with Frankie and he enrolled himself into a drug rehabilitation program.

The Teenagers continued their careers, with several personnel changes, briefly reuniting with Frankie in 1965, but without success.

Frankie went on to sign deals with 20th Century Fox Records and Columbia Records.

He married Elizabeth Waters in January 1964 and the couple had a baby girl, named Francine who died two days after birth at Lenox Hill Hospital.

Frankie later was made aware that his marriage was not legal, as Elizabeth was already married.

He relocated to Los Angeles in the mid-1960s, where he started seeing Zola Taylor of the Platters.

This relationship was short-lived, and Frankie later appeared at the Apollo as part of a revue.

In 1965, he was drafted into the United States Army, stationed in Augusta, Georgia.

In 1967, he married again and at times went AWOL performing at a few Southern clubs.

He was, subsequently, discharged from the military, relocating to New York in 1968.

On the 28th of February 1968, Frankie was found dead from a heroin overdose at the age 25 in his grandmother's bathroom.

Frankies Grave

He was buried at the Catholic Saint Raymond's Cemetery in the Throggs Neck section of The Bronx, New York City, New York.

Two posthumous releases followed his death, in the form of the recently recorded ‘I’m Sorry’ and ‘Seabreeze’, the two sides he had recorded for Big Apple Records.

After his passing the singer Diana Ross recorded ’Why Do Fools Fall in Love’, a hit in 1981.

Frankie's Wives

frankie's wives: elizabeth waters - zola taylor - emira eagle

Problems later ensued with Frankie’s estate, with ex wives, Zola Taylor, Elizabeth Waters, and Emira Eagle each approaching Morris Levy, the entrepreneur who was in the possession of Frankie’s copyrights and his royalties.

Then followed disputes as to who was the real wife, and several court cases followed.

The writing credits for ‘Why Do Fools Fall in Love’ currently remain in the names of Frankie Lymon and Morris Levy.

A movie entitled ‘Why Do Fools Fall in Love’, was released in 1998.

The film starred Larenz Tate as Frankie Lymon, Halle Berry as Zola Taylor, Vivica A. Fox as Elizabeth Waters, and Lela Rochon as Emira Eagle.

In 1973, ‘Why Do Fools Fall in Love’ was featured in the film ‘American Graffiti’.

Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1993 and into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 2000.

Lewis Lymon

lewis lymon (centre - front) in 2012

Lewis Lymon, Frankie's brother (and ex member of the Teenager)s, passed away in 2013 from prostate cancer.

Frankie and Lewis were the sons of the singer, Howard Lymon.

Real Player


The Teenagers Featuring Frankie Lymon (Gee Records 1957)

The Teenagers At The London Palladium (Roulette Records 1958)

Rock 'N' Roll Party With Frankie Lymon (Guest Records 1959)

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