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Frankie Avalon

Discussing Frankie Avalon's career as a mover and shaker in 1950s rock & roll with anyone who takes their rock & roll even halfway seriously is to court derision. Avalon was the first of the manufactured teen idols, before Fabian and Bobby Rydell and the myriad of other pretenders to the throne who worked the turf with tight black pants and red, red sweaters to the fore while Elvis cooled his heels in Germany. In the late '50s and early '60s, post-Twist and pre-Beatles, these generally untalented pretty boys were the cardboard no-threat remnants of a post-Elvis age. But Avalon had a real musical background to go with the pretty boy looks, and was no drugstore teenager waiting to be discovered.

Born in South Philadelphia in 1939 as Francis Thomas Avallone, he broke into show business as a child prodigy trumpet player, good enough to win talent contests, get on the Jackie Gleason Show, and make records for RCA Victor's subsidiary, X Records. But as childhood gave way to teendom, Avalon found himself playing backup trumpet in a local band called Rocco & the Saints. When queried by local impresario Bob Marcucci if there might be some local rock & roll singers who would be good enough to record some of his songs, Frankie suggested he check out the group's lead singer, blond-haired-and-blue-eyed Andy Martin. Marcucci came to the gig, but was unimpressed with Martin, feeling that blond-haired singers didn't have the right "look" to connect with females. But once he heard Avalon belt out a couple of tunes, Marcucci knew he had found what he was looking for, and a management contract was inked immediately. It was another six to eight months before Avalon's first single, "Cupid," came out on Marcucci's Chancellor label, and it wasn't until his third release, "Dede Dinah," that he had his first Top Ten hit. From there, it was an unprecedented run of hits, starting with his first number one in 1959, "Venus," placing no less than six more records in the Top 40 in that year alone. Marcucci worked the formula, easing Avalon away from rockers into more "adult," sap-oriented fare like a true pro, and was able to produce similar results with the far less talented but also very pretty Fabian.

By 1962, Avalon's four-year domination of the charts was coming to an end, but his career wasn't. He teamed up with Annette Funicello and reinvented himself as a clean-cut, pretty-boy surfer in a wildly successful batch of Beach Party movies that got him through the '60s in far better shape than most of his colleagues. The series was big enough to bring himself and Funicello back for an update in the '80s, Back to the Beach. Ever the musician, Avalon insisted surf legend (and original cast member) Dick Dale be in this revival. Today, Avalon divides his time between hawking pain medicine on home shopping networks and appearing on the Golden Boys of Rock'n'Roll oldies show with Bobby Rydell and Fabian, looking handsome as ever. ~ Cub Koda, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

Comments

I was a young guy but realized the beauty of Venus even then. Cannot listen too much to that beautiful song.
What girl didn't have a crush on Frankie Avalon? I loved watching Annette Funicello and Frankie together in all their movies.
Dreams With Love Innocent
Condolences to you on the passing of one of your greatest friends...An n e t t e
always a great guy
OMG!! Memories.... . . This song in particular makes this old f*rt croon again!
joeydi981
Listen to him sing brings back many wonderful memmories.of my younger years as a teenager.
kpdahl
He was my teenage heart-throb. I loved listening to his songs, and bought all of his 45's and albums. He was so handsom. I watched some of the beach party movies, but I was a mommy by then and was busy with other things. But, I still listen to his music. Love that boy....
steve3691
"Venus" was a true classic!
booknman
The beloved icon of an era, whose songs soundtracked my exact high schoold days, 1959-1963. I think of Sharon Kern, tall dark beauty with whom I claimed Avalon's "A Boy Without A Girl" as "our song". I think I'll go and order myself a copy of his greatest hits.
roysimcox
Roy
I think he is a great artist. Love his music.
chelinsky
I think Frankie Avalon was the best of the best. He made me feel like I was 16 all over again. I think he is the best ever. I have all of his music. He makes me feel like I am 16 all over again.

Thanks again,

Connie Helinsky
A Real "American Idol"! I agree with galamia1. Worth more then the price of a ticket!! A family man, and good role model for my generation! Thanks Frankie!!!!! ! ! ! ! ! !
I can't believe you have Elvis as a "similar artist"....o h , blasphemous! ! ! ! Elvis wasn't similar to ANYONE in my humble opinion^-^
sassyjan
dreamy
I see the reviewer forgot to mention that Mr. Avalon also was in the first Gigit movie and had a full song production in the movie Grease.
Dreamy Romantic Voice~ Best ever Role-Model for a girl to base her future guy on~ Lucky to have him in the 60's!! Thank You, Frankie!!
Frankie Avalon has a good singing voice.

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