Frankie Lymon's Tombstone Blues Pt. 4: The Reunions

The four surviving Teenagers, Jimmy Merchant, Herman Santiago, Joe Negroni, and Sherman Garnes, reunited in 1973. In an attempt to recapture the sound that had made them famous back in 1956, they recruited Pearl McKinnon to recreate the adolescent lead vocals of Frankie Lymon.

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Frankie Lymon's Tombstone Blues Pt. 3: The Revival

At the time of Frankie Lymon’s death, classic doo wop music had been replaced on the charts for over four years. The arrival of the Beatles and the other British Invasion artists had shifted the music dynamic not only on radio stations and in record stores, but also in the performance arena. It was now much more fashionable and lucrative for young people to buy instruments and form bands to play the hits of the day rather than joining vocal harmony groups and sing songs that appeared to be part of the past.


Although doo wop seemed to be increasingly relegated to a bygone era, its harmonic roots could be heard in the many hits of Motown groups, including the Miracles, Four Tops, Supremes, and Temptations, as well as many other successful soul music artists of the 1960s; but the groups that had defined the era had all but disappeared from the Billboard charts and radio station playlists as the decade drew to a close.

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Frankie Lymon's Tombstone Blues Pt. 2: The Downslide

When Frankie Lymon and The Teenagers returned to the United States from their overseas tour, they were together in name only. Frankie would begin his solo career in earnest with high hopes while the Teenagers were faced with the prospect of trying to carry on without the lead singer who had become the face of the group.

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Frankie Lymon's Tombstone Blues Pt. 1: The Teenagers

He was the first teenage rock and roll star, and many believe that 13 year-old Frankie Lymon, along with his group The Teenagers, were very important factors in helping to change the music business in the 1950’s. The Teenagers featured a unique group harmony style that matched perfectly with their lead singer’s stellar voice and stage presence. Their youth and exuberance enabled them to headline shows across the country and help break the color barrier for minority rock and roll acts to appear on national television.

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Best Albums Of 2020: Two Views

My good friend Larry Van Cleve and I share our annual lists of what we considered to be the best albums of the past year.

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Ch.10 "The Birth Of Motown"

Michigan Rock and Roll History

Ch. 10 - “The Birth of Motown”

“Get A Job” by the Silhouettes had been a surprise # 1 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 in early 1958, and Berry Gordy Jr. helped Smokey Robinson write an answer song called “Got A Job”. Gordy had the group change its name from the Matadors to the Miracles before leasing the recording to End Records in New York. “Got A Job” was not a hit, but it was the first record Gordy produced and the start of a very important friendship and working relationship with Smokey Robinson.

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Ch. 9 "Berry Gordy Jr. and Jackie Wilson"

Michigan Rock and Roll History

Ch. 9 - "Berry Gordy Jr. and Jackie Wilson"

Both of Berry Gordy Jr.’s parents were born in Georgia. Berry Gordy Sr. and Bertha Fuller were married after he returned from serving in World War I. The Gordy’s moved with their three children to Detroit in 1922 to start their own business. Berry Gordy Jr. would be born in Detroit on November 28, 1929, the 7th of 8 children.

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