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Frankie Lymon, Teenager

Getty Images / Hulton Archive / Keystone / Staff

Frankie Lymon, Teenager

Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers came by their name honestly, as one of the first great teen pop groups. Before New Edition and Tiffany and New Kids on the Block, before Britney Spears and the Backstreet Boys and Hanson, before Justin Bieber and One Direction and Selena Gomez, Frankie Lymon and his bandmates put the "teen" in teenybopper.

Lymon was just 12 years old when he joined his first singing group, The Premiers. They quickly began writing their own songs, and by the time Lymon was 13 they had scored a 1956 hit single (under their new name, The Teenagers), "Why Do Fools Fall in Love."




The group's career was short but successful, with more singles like "I Want You to Be My Girl" hitting the charts before their breakup in 1957.





Lymon went on as a solo artist, racking up a few hot singles like "Little Bitty Pretty One."





Just as Frankie Lymon found success young, he died young as well – he was just 25 when he overdosed on heroin. Today would have been his 70th birthday, though it's hard to imagine one of the original teenagers entering his eighth decade. All these years later, he’s still influencing generations of teen pop stars.

Written by Linnea Crowther