Frankie Lymon, teenage star, interred at St. Ray’s
MAY 25TH & 26TH
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BRONX TIMES REPORTER, M BTR AY 24-30, 2019 63
Being a product of the 1950’s, I’m
well acquainted with the Rock and
Roll stars of that decade. Among
the most popular was “Frankie Lymon
and the Teenagers” who came
out with a smash hit on Gee Records
in February of 1956 called ”Why Do
Fools Fall in Love.”
It was quite a surprise when I
learned that Frankie Lymon was laid
to rest in St. Raymond Cemetery not
far from my Throggs Neck home. I
went down to the cemetery that same
day and found his gravesite in the St.
Just weeks after they produced
that hit record, they appeared on the
Frankie Laine show on WNEW – TV
sporting bow ties and white sweaters
bearing the letter T for teenagers.
They had been professionally choreographed
by Cholly Atkins who
later did the same for “The Temptations.”
The appearance proved to be a
grand success and one month later
they appeared with the Platters and
Bill Haley and the Comets at the
Brooklyn Paramount staged by Alan
Freed, who was noted as the king of
Rock and Roll.
Then in April they produced their
second single “I Want You to be my
Girl.” It, too, was a great success and
led to an appearance on CBS – TV’s
“Shower of Stars.” They had arrived
and were now very much in demand.
They had a cameo appearance on
“Rock, Rock, Rock” and then in September
they were on Alan Freed’s radio
They also starred at the Apollo on
125th Street when the “ABC’s of Love”
“Baby, Baby,” their fi fth single was
released in November and the following
month saw the release of their fi rst
album “Meet the Teenagers.” “Paper
Castles” was released early in 1957 after
which the group toured England
starring at the London Palladium.
It was at this point that the group
broke up and his next appearance
on the Alan Freed Show in July was
without the Teenagers. “Goody,
Goody” was his last recording with
his old group. They did get together
one more time for an appearance on
the Dick Clark Show, but that was
their group fi nale.
“The Teenagers,” which also included
Herman Santiago, Jimmy
Merchant, Joe Negroni and Sherman
Garnes failed to make it without Lyman
and Frankie Lymon’s voice was
changing as he matured and he, too,
faltered on the pop charts.
He also started getting involved
with drugs which led to a rapid decline.
He was told at one point that it
was jail or the U. S. Army. He chose
the latter and was assigned to Camp
Gordon in Augusta, Georgia when he
met Emira Eagle, a teacher, whom he
married on June 30, 1967.
While on leave from the Army in
February of 1968, he told Emira that
he had a weekend job in New York.
He died in his old Washington
Heights apartment at 370 West 156th
Street near Edgecombe Avenue that
was occupied by his friend, Walter
Stribling. A hypodermic needle was
found by his bedside and his death
was ruled an accidental overdose.
Frankie Lymon was only thirteen
when he released his fi rst hit record
and only 26 when he met his maker on
February 27, 1968. Today this simple
memorial marks his grave.
I took this photograph of Frankie Lymon’s memorial in St. Raymond Cemetery on February
10, 2001 when I learned that he was interred there. Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers was
one of the most popular Rock ‘n Roll groups of the 1950s.
Busy weekend at the
post. Now I can catch
up on sleep during the
Bingo for the Troops
on Friday night was a
huge success, thanks
to all that make this
happen every year. On Saturday we
headed to St. Raymond Cemetery to replace
the fl ags on the graves of our veterans.
Great turn out by post members
as well as the Marine Corps League. My
thanks to each one of you. Sunday we
attended the Blessing of the Colors at
the Hawkins Post. Great job by County
Commander DelDebio and his post
members, Rev. Jolly did a outstanding
job with the service.
Have to say that I, as well as the
rest of the Legion members, were disappointed
and a little
angered by the refusal
of St. Mary’s pastor to
allow us to bring our
colors into the church
to have them blessed.
Sure you will hear it
from others pastors. It
is because of the veteran you have the
freedom to worship, don’t forget it padre.
Maybe someone should enlighten
the pastor of the heroism and sacrifi ce
of the Four Chaplains, just a thought.
Sons BBQ Saturday, May 25 at 1 p.m.
Usual BBQ fare beer, wine and soda, We
will also have live music, $20 bucks a
head. Can’t beat it with a stick.
Elections to be held at the June meeting.
Be there to cast your vote. That’s all
for now. We are stronger as one. Let’s
work together. God bless America.
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