Frankie Lymon

Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers sing their first and most successful hit Why Do Fools Fall in Love on the Frankie Laine show in 1956.

The Premiers, the original name used before they became The Teenagers were working on a song Why Do Birds Seem So Gay, when Frankie Lymon one of the members of the group decided to change the name, of the song to Why Do Fools Fall in Love. The song became their first single and peaked at No.6 on the pop charts, but was No.1 on the R&B charts.

The group then became known as Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers. The group broke up the next year, as Lymon became a solo act. Lymon caused Alan Freed’s Big Beat television show to be canceled, when he was dancing with a white girl during a performance, which didn’t set well with television stations in the south.

His records didn’t sell as well as his voice changed and he picked up a heroin habit at the age of 13. Lymon lost his record contract with Roulette in 1961. Then he was married for the first time in 1964, but his only child died two days after her birth. To compound matters, he had married his wife, while she was still married to her husband.

He then married Zola Taylor of The Platters, but the marriage didn’t last long due to his drug habit. He then married his third wife in a three and-a-half year period in June of 1967.

Lymon had not taken heroin for three years, before having a big promotion scheduled to help his career. However, he went back to heroin, to celebrate what he thought was going to be a return to fame. However the celebration didn’t last long, as he died of a heroin overdose on February 28, 1968 at his grandmother’s house.

His legal problems followed him even in death, as all three lives tried to gain access to his estate. Part of the problem was that Lymon had never got around to divorcing his first two wives. His third wife Emira Eagle was finally awarded the right to Lymon’s estate. Lymon had never received a penny for co-writing Why Do Fools Fall in Love, but Emira Eagle did begin to receive royalties from the song.

The following tribute shows his grave and tells about his influence on Motown music at Find A Grave website.


Author: Andrew Godfrey

Retired from newspaper work after 38 years. Had served in the Army in Hawaii and Vietnam in the 60's. Am now retired and living in Sulphur, Louisiana.

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