Monday, September 9, 2013

September 9: Joe Negroni, founding member of Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers was born on this day in 1940...

... He died on September 5, 1978 at 38 from a cerebral hemorrhage.

Negroni's family moved from Puerto Rico to New York City in 1930s during the Great Depression. The family lived in Manhattan where Negroni met and befriended Herman Santiago. In the early 1950s Negroni - a baritone- Santiago and two other friends Jimmy Merchant and Sherman Garnes would get together in front of Santiago's "stoop"and sing "Doo-Woop" songs.

They called themselves the "Ermines" with Santiago as lead singer. On one occasion the Ermines performed alongside the "Cadillacs," prompting The Ermines to change their name to "Coupe de Villes" and later to "The Premiers."

Twelve-year-old Frankie Lymon worked in a grocery store and one night The Premiers and Lymon's brother performed in a talent show at a local junior high school. Legend has it Frankie approached the Premiers, telling them how good they sounded. They started jamming together and the Premiers were impressed with the sound of Frankie's high tenor/soprano voice. In early 1955 they had invited him to join, singing first tenor behind Santiago's lead.

In 1955, Richard Barrett, a scout for "Gee Records", heard them singing and introduced them to George Goldner, the owner of "Gee". Upon hearing them sing, Mr. Goldner signed them to a contract and changed the groups name to "The Teenagers". he following day the group was supposed to meet with Mr. Goldner in the studio for a recording session. Santiago, who was the lead singer, was ill and could not attend. He gave Negroni the music sheet with the words to the song he had written. The song was "Why Do Fools Fall In Love."

Goldner asked Frankie to sing and soon after, they changed the group's name to "Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers" and released the record. The song became an instant hit in the US and UK. It became the first top British hit of an American vocal group.

In 1957, Frankie Lymon, "the Teenagers" and went solo. Eventually the group broke-up. Santiago tried to reunite "the Teenagers" in the 1970s and 1980s without success.

In 1993, Joe Negroni, Herman Santiago, Frankie Lymon, Jimmy Merchant and Sherman Garnes, the original members of "the Teenagers", were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and in 2000 into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame.

Their Greatest Recordings [ORIGINAL RECORDINGS REMASTERED]Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers: The Complete Recordings


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