The quintessential teen idol of the music world may very well be Frankie Avalon. This trumpet-playing prodigy wasn't the first depending on how far back you want to go, we could be talking about Elvis Presleyor Frank Sinatra in the '40s, or Rudy Vallee in the '30s, or One thing setting this late Dog - Various - Totally Re-Wired 9 generation of adolescent-girl-magnets apart from their predecessors is that they were actual teenagers.
Avalon had more than just his image going for him; a talented musician and singer, he also followed Elvis and Ricky into the acting arena, eventually adding "top-grossing box office movie star" to his list of distinctions. South Philadelphia provided the backdrop for Francis Thomas Avallone 's trumpeting childhood.
Father Nicholas Avallone taught him so well that he began winning local contests and inat age 13, he appeared on The Jackie Gleason ShowFrankie Avalon With Rocco And His Saints* - Cupid had recently been picked up by CBS-TV as a weekly variety series.
After a couple of years Frankie, still playing his horn, joined Rocco and his Saintsa local band with drummer Bobby Rydell and lead singer Andy Martin. Philly producer Bob Marcucci caught the act and was initially impressed with Martin's stage presence. Then Frankie stepped out from behind his trumpet and sang one or two songs and Marcucci was sold.
He signed the entire band to Chancellor, the new label he'd Frankie Avalon With Rocco And His Saints* - Cupid with partner Peter DeAngelis Frankie Avalon With Rocco And His Saints* - Cupid , who produced "Cupid," credited to the band with Frankie as lead singer and backed by the instrumental "Jivin' With the Saints," an early '57 single that was the label's fourth release. These first efforts didn't sell particularly well, so bandmate Andy Martin the group's original lead singer, after all got his shot with a solid two-sider, "Sweetie Pie" and "Record Hop" the latter was in Jamboreebut it also failed to pick up much radio play.
So how were they going to spark people's interest? The answer came by accident when Frankie began fooling around in the studio with the latest Marcucci-DeAngelis tune, "Dede Dinah," singing it in a nasally voice. They had him do several takes, pinching his nose or just acting silly Frankie was a star The uptempo follow-up, "You Excite Me," eschewed any nose nonsense and stalled mid-chart. They had him do the nasal thing once more with "Ginger Bread" backing vocals were by The Four Datesanother Chancellor act and on close listen I'd say Frankie was trying hard not to laugh; at the end of summer it became his second top ten hit.
Okay, enough already. A Labelled With Love - Squeeze - Greatest Hits discovery, Fabianhad joined the Chancellor roster and his vocal limitations were a bit more obvious. No need for Frankie to fake bad Frankie Avalon With Rocco And His Saints* - Cupid anymore His first hit ballad, "I'll Wait For You," received a traditional delivery by Avalon and though he hadn't quite mastered the romantic approach, it reached the top 20 near year's end B side "What Little Girl," penned by Frankie with Sal Pontigave fans of the singer's frivolous side what they craved.
All in all, a solid year on the charts! Then the major breakthrough came without warning. Awards were not among the benefits of Avalon's successful career, but a compliment from one of his peers came when Connie Francisthe top-selling female vocalist of the time, had a top ten hit in the spring ot '59 with "Frankie" written by Neil Sedaka and Howard Greenfieldan adoring tribute ' But then wasn't quite over yet.
Philadelphia's leading teen star had topped all the abovementioned hitmakers with five top tens two of them number ones in the '59 calendar year. How could he possibly top this? Not with more top tens because he never had another! Among a handful of chart entries, there was only one other top 40 hit "Where Are You" in the spring of '62 and sales chart listings stopped cold that summer. While appearances in films and several TV drama shows were piling up, he heeded the words of his greatest hit 'Venus, make her fair I'll give her all the love I have to give as long as we both shall live Around that time, there was a widespread belief he was in an on-again, off-again relationship with singer and former Mouseketeer Annette Funicello American International The Bee Gees* - Tomorrow Tomorrow / Sun In My Morning jumped on the bandwagon established with Sandra Dee 's starmaking turn in Gidget back in ' The popular beach movie trend had worked through its first phase as surf music started its rise in popularity, spanning Dick Dale 's rocking guitar instrumentals and The Beach Boys ' harmonies with many great bands and recordings in between.
The August theatrical release of Beach Partystarring Bob Cummings and Dorothy Malone but focusing mainly on the youthful sandy-shore adventures of Frankie and Annette with songs by Dale and his Del-Tonescaused a sensation. Frankie's 45 of the "Beach Party" theme was his last on Chancellor, but there was little to no pain involved in leaving the label that had made him a star. Movie stardom was sweet; just the names "Frankie and Annette," when said together, represent one of the definitive phrases in s pop culture.
Top-billed on all the sequels, Avalon and Funicello frolicked through two shoreline-set comedies duringMuscle Beach Party and Bikini Beach.
The Hieroglyphics - Howard Shore, The Kronos Quartet* - Spider starred together again in 's Beach Blanket Bingothen Frankie and Dwayne Hickman did the buddy thing in Ski Party that year, Annette and Dwayne appeared in How to Stuff a Wild Bikini and whoever was missing made at least one cameo per picture.
This game of musical chairs continued in Dr. Avalon kept making records into the s, jumping from label to label United Artists, Reprise, Amos, Metromedia while juggling a full slate of film roles Drums of Africa, I'll Take Sweden and television appearances Rawhide, Mr. Novak, Burke's Law, Combat! In he returned to the charts with a disco version of "Venus" it was a trend: Al Martino had scored a hit a couple of months earlier with a disco-style " Volare ".
InFrankie hesitantly took the role of "Teen Angel" in the highly successful film version of the Broadway play Grease starring John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John ; his performance of "Beauty School Dropout" made him an "older idol" of sorts for a new generation of Bizarros-revival rock and roll fans.
This predated the oldies concert revival curve and by the mid-'80s he was touring with Bobby Rydell and Fabian under the banner "The Golden Boys of Bandstand," as shows of this type became increasingly more common. Parts in films and on television kept coming his way son Frank Burt Avalon gave acting a try and had small roles in Frankie Avalon With Rocco And His Saints* - Cupid few films, most notably 's The Karate Kid.
His marriage to Kay continued going strong and has since passed the half-century mark. The music career had come full circle with additional concert packages pairing him with other '50s and '60s hitmakers. His movie career ran the cycle as well. InFrankie Avalon and Annette Funicello played their original characters as parental figures in Back to the Beacha fun finale to the film series of two decades previous that had connected the names "Frankie" and "Annette" in a way that can't be undone.
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