Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Why Do Birds Sing So Gay?

I travelled a few hours north of the city this weekend with my lovely fiance (who may be a contributor to this blog, ahem.) We stayed in the beautifully preserved little town of Saugerties, just off the mighty Hudson. We hiked up to frozen waterfalls, visited some antique shops and ended up going to an enormous flea market at the local high school. The cafeteria was even serving lunch.

I suppose this had me yearning for simpler times, because I ended up purchasing a 3 CD doo-wop collection from a very nice man at the flea market. I then tormented my fiance with said collection throughout the weekend.

One track really popped out at me, "I Want You To Be My Girl" by Frankie Lymon & The Teenagers, best known for their mega-hit "Why Do Fools Fall In Love?" The group was only together for 18 months from 1957 to 1958, but managed to record dozens of tracks, almost all of them quite good. Lymon's voice is the kicker, sailing over everything, clear as a bell, quavering with emotion and just a little swagger.

I was remarking how young he sounded; I chalked it up to 50's rock marketing: find somebody who sounds like a kid. As it turns out, Lymon actually was only 13 when the group had its first hit! His voice changed a few years later and that was essentially the end of his career. He got deeper into heroin (which apparantly he had discovered at age 16) and ended up dying of an overdose in 1968. What a waste.

Notably, Lymon was America's first black teen idol and Berry Gordy modeled his early Motown groups (especially the Jackson Five) very closely on The Teenagers. Enjoy.

Frankie Lymon & The Teenagers - I Want You To Be My Girl
Frankie Lymon & The Teenagers - Silhouettes
Frankie Lymon - Little Bitty Pretty One (solo)
Frankie Lymon & The Teenagers - Creation Of Love

buy it!


  • At 9:45 AM, Blogger jbreitling said…

    This is my favorite blog entry title ever. Please use this title for all your future posts.


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