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Rock 'N Roll

Frankie Lymon

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Album Review

After a three-year (1955 — 1958) meteoric rise to international fame, Frankie Lymon (vocal) was ready to emerge from beneath the shadow of the Teenagers, with whom he'd scored the Top 20 pop entries "Why Do Fools Fall in Love," "I Want You to Be My Girl," and "Goody Goody" for Gee Records. It was just one of several labels founded in the mid- to late '50s in New York City by record producer George Goldner, Joe Kolsky, and nightclub owner Morris Levy. The trio felt Roulette Records, another of their "holdings," might prove a more suitable venue for Lymon to strike out as a solo artist. With his trademark falsetto still intact, the vocalist was paired up with Roulette's A&R department heads Hugo Peretti and Luigi Creatore — one of the most important producing/engineering partnerships of the pre-British Invasion golden age of American pop music. Their contributions to Lymon's debut long-player Rock & Roll (1958) are particularly noteworthy. Nowhere is that as evident than the remakes of "Wake Up Little Suzie" and "Little Bitty Pretty One" as the singer can be heard double-tracking his own leads. The resulting resonance created a richer texture for the harmonies. Elsewhere, Lymon's phrasing on the wailing opener "Waiting in School," the swinging "It Hurts to Be in Love," as well as an update of the early West Coast R&B rave-up "Buzz, Buzz, Buzz" are among the best of the lesser-known titles. Here he likewise places his stamp on material that had become indelibly linked to other artists — such as Elvis Presley and "Jailhouse Rock" or Paul Anka's "Diana." While a slight departure from most of the album, the jazzy and optimistic "Send for Me" and the midtempo ballad "Silhouettes" reveal Lymon's criminally underutilized potential as a crooner. Half a century after it its initial release, Collectors' Choice Music reissued Rock & Roll in 2008, marking its availability for the first time in several decades.

Biography

Born: September 30, 1942 in New York, NY [Harlem]

Genre: Pop

Years Active: '50s, '60s

Frankie Lymon (1942-1968) and the Teenagers were a New York doo wop group consisting of Joe Negroni, Herman Santiago, Jimmy Merchant, and Sherman Garnes, but centered around the extraordinary talents of their lead singer, 13-year-old Frankie Lymon. Lymon was credited with their first big hit, "Why Do Fools Fall in Love" (in the early '90s, a federal judge ruled after a lengthy trial that Lymon hadn't written "Why Do Fools Fall in Love" — another member of the Teenagers had). His wise-beyond-his-years...
Full bio
Rock 'N Roll, Frankie Lymon
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  • $9.99
  • Genres: Pop, Music, R&B/Soul, Doo Wop
  • Released: 1958

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