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
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The mirage of the singer’s soaring success echoes the mirage of post-war tranquility at home
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, His father sang gospel music in a group called the Harlemaires, and Lymon became a talented singer of the street-corner harmony known as doo-wop. In , a chance encounter propelled Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers to a higher level.
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. Both also sang in the gospel group The Harlemaires; Frankie and his brothers Lewis and Howie sang with the Harlemaire Juniors a fourth brother, Timmy, was a singer, though not with the Harlemaire Juniors. The Lymons struggled to make ends meet, so Lymon began working as a grocery boy at age At 12 in , Lymon heard a local doo-wop group known as the Coupe De Villes at a school talent show. He became friends with the lead singer, Herman Santiago , and he eventually became a member of the group, now calling itself both The Ermines and The Premiers.
Photo added by Curtis Jackson. After being together for about 18 months, and numerous successes, Lymon's manager wanted him to try a solo career. Lymon took his manager's advice and after only playing half way through there London Palladium Tour in London, England, Lymon left the group behind and headed out on his own. Both Lymon's solo career and the 'Teenagers' career with out Lymon were unsuccessful and both parties fell apart. Though only together for a short period of time, the group did help pave the way for such personalities as, 'The Jackson 5,' and Michael Jackson on his solo career. He also gave Motown founder Berry Gordy the idea to model his entire Motown production approach on him.