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Episode #687 – Frankie Lymon & The Teenagers

Air Week: July 3-9, 2023

Frankie Lymon & The Teenagers

We throw the word “influential” around a lot on the Juke In The Back, but very few groups can actually claim to have started a sub-genre based on their lead singer. The Teenagers Feat. Frankie Lymon were the first of the “kiddie” lead groups to sing for a teenaged audience. Their tunes had teen themes and when mixed with Lymon’s vocals, a brand-new Rock n’ Roll vocal group sound was created. Copycat groups hit the scene quick with The Juniors, The Kodaks, The Youngsters, The Students and The Schoolboys all trying to ride on Lymon’s coattails, but there was only one. The Teenagers only lasted for around 18 months, but during that short time, they racked up 9 R&B charting hits, including the #1 smash “Why Do Fools Fall In Love,” which crossed over to a respectable #6 on the Pop Chart. Record man George Goldner and Valentines’ leader Richard Barrett guided and shaped the Teenagers sound while Jimmy Wright’s incredible band provided exciting musical backing to create hit after hit, until the overall sound of Rock n’ Roll began to change. Lymon’s voice was maturing and he was pushed into the Pop field, leaving the Teenagers behind. There’s a lot more to this story and on this week’s program, Matt The Cat tries his best to tell it. Matt’s interview with the late Herbie Cox of the Cleftones helps to shed some light as Herbie was in Goldner’s office on the very day that the Teenagers came in to audition for him. So don’t miss this exciting Juke In The Back on the unforgettable Frankie Lymon & The Teenagers.


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