Thursday, February 6, 2014

February 6: 1950's-60's teen idol Fabian is 71-years-old today.

Born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Fabiano Anthony Forte rose to national prominence after performing several times on American Bandstand. Eleven of his songs reached the Billboard Hot 100 listing.

Fabian was discovered in 1957 by Bob Marcucci and Peter DeAngelis, owners of Chancellor Records. At the time, record producers were looking to the South Philadelphia neighborhoods in search of teenage talents with good looks, and Frankie Avalon, also of South Philly, suggested Fabian as a possibility.

Fabian was the oldest of three brothers, and with his father, a former policeman ill and unable to work, he hoped to earn enough for his family. At fifteen, Fabian won the Silver Award as "The Promising Male Vocalist of 1958."

With songwriters Doc Pomus and Mort Shuman, Fabian released a series of hit singles for Chancellor Records including "I'm a Man," "Hound Dog Man," a #9 hit in the U.S., "Turn Me Loose," and his biggest hit, "Tiger," which reached number 3 in the U.S. charts. Other singles that charted included "String Along," "About This Thing Called Love" and "This Friendly World."

His career in music basically ended after he bought out of his contract with Marcucci after signing a seven-year contract with 20th Century Fox. During the payola scandal of the 1960s, Fabian testified before Congress that his recordings had been doctored electronically to significantly improve his voice.

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"Acting" With Veronica Cartwright

Fabian was contracted to 20th Century Fox beginning with Don Siegel's Hound-Dog Man. He appeared in more than 30 films, including Five Weeks in a Balloon, High Time, Ten Little Indians, North to Alaska, The Longest Day and Ride the Wild Surf and Peter Brown. Most of his early films were comedies, and cast him as a restless teenager with a penchant for singing.
After 1965 his film and singing career began to fade, along with his popularity as a teen idol.

He made several films for American International Pictures, including portraying Pretty Boy Floyd in A Bullet for Pretty Boy. He also played Josh Ashley in Little Laura and Big John in 1973.

Forte never regained his teenage popularity, but has continued performing for more than forty years. Recently he has been appearing with Frankie Avalon and Bobby Rydell to perform concerts as "The Golden Boys."

With Frankie Avalon & Bobby Rydell

In his latest endeavor, Fabian hosts and headlines in the hit show "The Original Stars of Bandstand" at The Dick Clark Theater in Branson, Missouri. The show stars Fabian and Bobby Vee and features The Chiffons, Brian Hyland, Chris Montez and rare footage of the performers and Dick Clark.


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