Franklin Joseph “Frankie” #Lymon, was an African-American rock and roll/rhythm and blues sensation. He was best known as the boy soprano lead singer of the New York City rock and roll group, The Teenagers. There were five boys in the group and all were in their early teens. The group originally had three #Black members and 2 Puerto Rican members.
Lymon was born in Harlem to his father who was a truck driver, and mother who worked as a maid. Both of his parents sang in a gospel group known as the Harlemaires. The family had fell on hard times so, Lymon often worked as a grocery boy to bring in money to help the family. He did this around the age of ten. By the age of 12 in 1954 he was became friends with the lead singer in a doo-wop group called the Coupe De Villes. He eventually became a member of the group, who had changed their name to The Premiers. One day a neighbor gave the group a bunch of love letters that had been written to him by his girlfriend, he hoped it would inspire the boys to write songs. One of the songs which they created from the letters was “Why Do Fools Fall in Love?”
“Goldner signed the quintet to Gee Records, and “Why Do Fools Fall in Love” became their first single in January 1956. The single peaked at 6 on the Billboard pop singles chart, and topped the Billboard R&B singles chart for five weeks. In early 1957, Lymon and the Teenagers broke up while on a tour of Europe. During an engagement at the London Palladium, Goldner began pushing Lymon as a solo act, giving him solo spots in the show. Lymon began performing with backing from pre-recorded tapes.” (more)
He was not as successful as he had been when he was performing with The Teenagers. Lymon, however continued on performing. His highest charting solo hit was a cover of Bobby Day’s “Little Bitty Pretty One”, which made it to number 58 on the Hot 100 pop chart in 1960, and which had actually been recorded in 1957. Lymon had been addicted to heroin since the age of 15, so he fell deeper into his habit, and his music and performing continued to decline.
Eventually Lymon sales began to decline because his voice changed and he lost his soprano voice. However, he then started singing in falsetto. Lymon continued working until the late 1960s. He married, however it was not legal because his first wife was already married. He lost his first child who died two days after birth. He later moved to Los-Angeles where he began a relationship with Zola Taylor, a member of the Platters.
On February 27, 1968, Lymon’s body was found in his grandmother’s bathroom from a heroin overdose. He was only 25-years old. 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.
video by: YouTube