The group was composed of five boys, all in their early to mid-teens. After Lymon went solo in mid, both his career and that of the Teenagers fell into decline. He was found dead at the age of 25 on the floor of his grandmother's bathroom from a heroin overdose. Howard was a truck driver and Jeanette was a maid.
Class of 1993
The mirage of the singer’s soaring success echoes the mirage of post-war tranquility at home
That voice! Those apple cheeks! Arms wide, head back, he radiates joy, even in antique black and white. That beautiful soprano flying high, talent and presence and just enough ham to sell it all. And it was a great story, too: Up from nothing! A shooting star! They sang doo-wop under the streetlight on the corner of th and Amsterdam. It was Overnight, Frankie Lymon was the hottest singer in America, off on a world tour. He was 13 years old.
Click the full post to read liner notes, links to more information, and a transcript of the episode. Patreon backers also have a ten-minute bonus episode available, on "Space Guitar" by Johnny "Guitar" Watson. As always, I've created a Mixcloud streaming playlist with full versions of all the songs in the episode. There are no books on the Teenagers, as far as I know, so as I so often do when talking about vocal groups I relied heavily on Marv Goldberg's website. This compilation contains every recording by Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers, together or separately, as well as recordings by Lewis Lymon and the Teenchords, a group led by Lymon's brother.
He was the first African American teen heartthrob and inspired a host of other young musicians, such as Michael Jackson. However, Lymon was an ill-fated pioneer who could not cope with his sudden fame and who spent the final years of his life battling drug addiction. Lymon was born in Harlem on September 30,