Frankie Lymon & the Teenagers Rock

by: Frankie Lymon & the Teenagers

There's a reason that Frankie Lymon & the Teenagers were one of the few doo wop groups of the '50s with a lead billing; Frankie Lymon was one of the most astounding young voices of the rock & roll era, with a pure and crystal-clear tone that sailed out over the group's sides -- all the vitality of an adolescent voice but none of its weaknesses. The group scored no more than half-a-dozen hits during the mid- to late '50s, but earned immortality with their first release: "Why Do Fools Fall in Love" (which was recorded when Lymon had been a teenager for all of three months). After it peaked inside the Top Ten early in 1956, the quintet returned to the pop charts with similar material, including "I Want You to Be My Girl," "I Promise to Remember," "The ABC's of Love," and "Who Can Explain?" (A few of their better songs didn't even become hits, including the excellent "I'm Not a Juvenile Delinquent.") Their stay on the charts ended by 1957, however, and Lymon's brief solo career was particularly unfruitful (just one Top 40 hit). Frankie Lymon & the Teenagers Rock is one in a series of Bear Family compilations charting the uptempo best of artists they've reissued in the past, usually country, rockabilly, or R&B acts; with 33 tracks and a good mixture of hits and rarities, it's easily the best single-disc compilation (although not regardless of price). Admittedly, even big fans of the group can get along with the usual 12- or 16-track compilation of a group like this, but for those who'd love to hear period gems like "Portable on My Shoulder" or a fine cover of "Wake Up, Little Susie," this is a great place to learn more. ~ John Bush

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