Saturday, May 7, 2011

Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers

Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers

This kid, this young man, this old man before his time, this little guy was simply amazing. I read his bio twice. I watched his videos and songs with photo montages. I looked at his pictures. I spent more time on this kid than any other act I have researched. Why ? 
Frankie Lymon

Because I am baffled. I am two years younger than Frankie. But I just cannot fathom his life or death. Here was a kid and a group that set precedent for Mo' Towns great groups. Here is a group who used professional choreography way before the Temps and others famous for their moves. 

The Teenagers set all sort of mile markers for groups to follow. Plus they had this beautifully scripted image of preppie folk singers. They had several hits in one short year. Frankie took off on his own and had a little bit of success but life went down hill from 58 on till he died in 68.
Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers

Frankie Lymon died at the age of 25. This should be an asterisk in the history of rock and roll but unfortunately he was one of the first to lose his career and then his life to drugs. 

I am confused by the lifestyle of Frankie Lymon as a child. From watching his wizened behavior on stage and having just read his bio I sat in absolute amazement at this man child. this kid was 12 going on 55. His stage presence, poise, footwork, vocals was that of a seasoned pro.

Frankie Lymon

In one of the solo videos he even slips into a quick little soft shoe routine. Soft shoe ? What other 12 year old would have the confidence to do that ? He looked so natural dancing you thought he was a pro dancer as well. How did he get to this point of stage maturity without experience ?  

It had to be his awful lifestyle. It had to be a situation where the little boy grew up far, far ahead of his time. What we saw onstage was a much older person in miles. When I say grew up I should qualify that. He became street wise at a very early age. He was doing things as a preteen that typically are attributed to hardened street hustlers ten to twenty years his senior.

While his peers, myself included, were worried about our next baseball game or who would be in the world series, this kid was busy working the street, running whores. There is much more to his street side according to all the internet reporters. I'll leave that for you to discover for yourself.

Dead at 25, Frankie Lymon
                Mo info            videos               

I guess we small town kids had no idea who we were listening to on the radio. I still had not a clue who this great little entertainer was even as I started researching for this article. What a sad, sad story. What a talented group and especially this little boy who would die thinking he was celebrating a come back at age 25. That's enough.......I hope you will think about the tombstone picture.....Music can be a wonderful career but it can kill you just as easily. Keep it in mind..this is a reoccurring theme. It is a serious hazard for any one involved in the lifestyle or business.

The other repeat tragedy we are already seeing just three years into the history ..... unscrupulous management and promoters, gullible and naive artists. 

There are two lessons to be taken from Frankie Lymon. One stay away from all drugs and take care of your business affairs. It's called the music "business" for a reason. You have to do them both, the music and the business. Otherwise your in a world of hurt.

Enjoy his music if I haven't bummed you out too much.    

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