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February 27th, 2012 By Mike Breen | Music | Posted In: Music History

This Date in Music History: Feb. 27

Frankie Lymon's tragic end and Josh Groban's comedy efforts

frankie-lymonFrankie Lymon

On this day in 1968, one of Rock & Roll's Shakespearean tragedies came to an end as singer Frankie Lymon, a Pop superstar in the mid-’50s with Rock & Roll/R&B vocal group The Teenagers, died from a heroin overdose at the age of 25.

Actually, if you've ever seen the 1998 film Why Do Fools Fall in Love (named for Lymon and the Teenagers' biggest hit), you know that the singer's death was a trick ending. The story of Lymon's sad legacy (blockbuster hit leads to lead singer ego explosion; quits group; can't find solo success; finds drugs; gets drafted; quits drugs; mounts comeback; celebrates with drugs; dies) took an unusual turn in the ’80s. Three different women came forward claiming to be Lymon's widow and entitled to his estate. Turns out, they were all telling the truth — Lymon had married all three but never divorced any of them. Ultimately, the singer's estate was awarded to his third wife; if that conclusion was reached on a coin-flip, could you really blame the judge?

Here's archival footage of Lymon's last TV appearance, a 1965 slot on the program Hollywood A Go-Go where the 22-year-old singer lip-synched to the original version of "Why Do Fools Fall in Love" — recorded when he was 13.





Born This Day: Musical movers and shakers sharing a Feb. 27 birthday include Jazz legend Dexter Gordon (1923); ex-WKRP in Cincinnati DJ, Dr. Johnny Fever, aka Howard Hesseman (1940); Journey guitarist and MILF pilfer Neal Schon (1954); guitarist/songwriter with Metal giants Iron Maiden, Adrian Smith (1957); Sex Pistols hanger-on Nancy Spungen (1958); singer with R&B/Hip Hop/Pop trio TLC, Rozonda "Chilli" Thomas (1971); and Classical/Pop vocalist Josh Groban (1981).

Groban is the kind of singer who would be really easy to make fun of if he didn't have such a good sense of humor about himself already. One of those Classical/Opera crossover Pop stars (like Charlotte Church or Il Divo) who approaches Pop and Rock material with the same overly careful enunciation and melodrama, Groban has parodied himself on various comedy programs, including Tim & Eric Awesome Show, Great Job! and this bit from Jimmy Kimmel Live, where the singer used his talents to make Kanye West's nutty tweets sound even nuttier.

 
 
 
 
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