1957 Frankie Lymon – Goody Goody
Singers Jimmy Merchant and Sherman Garnes formed the Earth Angels while still in junior high school in New York City. Herman Santiago and Joe Negroni joined the group, and they began using the name of a car, calling themselves The Coupe De Villes. Herman became the lead singer. They completed the group in 1954 when they added twelve-year-old Frankie Lymon.
More names for the group followed, including The Ermines and The Premiers.
Herman and Jimmy had written a song they called Why Do Birds Sing So Gay, and Frankie worked with them to finish the lyrics for the song when he joined the group. They went to an audition for the song with producer George Goldner in 1955. Herman was sick that day, so Frankie sang lead on the song. George signed the group to his Gee record label. He encouraged some changes to the lyrics and produced a single that was released as The Teenagers Featuring Frankie Lymon.
The single peaked at #6 on the Hot 100 and stayed at #1 on the R&B chart for five weeks in early 1956. The group followed that success a few months later with I Want You To Be My Girl. That single reached #13 on the Hot 100 and #3 on the R&B chart.
Three more singles reached the top ten on the R&B chart, but none of them reached the top forty on the pop charts. By 1957, their label billed the group as Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers, which annoyed other members of the group. George dealt with that by signing Frankie to a solo contract. The other teenagers recruited Billy Lobrano as a replacement for Frankie, but never charted again.
The first single recorded by Frankie as a solo record was a cover of a 1936 song written by Matty Malneck and Johnny Mercer, Goody Goody. Gee released the single credited to Frankie Lymon and His Teenagers even though none of the Teenagers sang on the song.
The single peaked at #20 on the Hot 100 in 1957 without charting on the R&B chart.
Frankie sang the song twice on The Ed Sullivan Show.
Frankie continued recording singles through the early sixties that were credited to him as a solo performer, but had no more luck than his former band members; he never reached the charts again, either.
Frankie died from a heroin overdose in 1968. He was only 25 years old.
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