Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers, Why Do Fools Fall in Love, Little Bitty Pretty One

Before Michael Jackson, before Justin Bieber, there was Frankie Lymon.  Well, Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers to be exact.  Frankie is the original rock and roll prodigy, a 13 year old backup singer from Harlem who by a stroke of fate stepped in to sing lead for his vocal group the Teenagers when original lead vocalist Herman Santiago caught the flu on their crucial audition day.  Even when Herman got better, it was no contest, Frankie was the goods, blessed with the voice of a rock and roll angel, annihilating audiences with his golden pipes.  When Frankie and the Teenagers became a smash, they hit the road hard.  Frankie was dating 25 year old women, smoking cigars, drinking booze, and using heroin.  He ended up marrying 3 women, without divorcing any of them, losing his front teeth, joining the army (well he was sentenced to join by a judge) and then quickly dropping dead in a NYC bathroom at the age of 26.  Frankie burned out quickly, but his voice and songs live on.  “Why Do Fools Fall in Love,” and “Little Bitty Pretty One,” are testaments to inhuman voice, a voice he lost quickly when puberty hit.  I guess he was basically one of the early prototypes for childhood stars who got success too quickly, and turned to drugs in an effort to destroy their lives.  It’s hard to imagine a time when the songs below rocked hard, but at one point they did, so give em a play and let Frankie’s voice soar one more time.

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