Friday 20th July 1956 saw a song about the above, age old, question at number one in the UK popular music charts.
Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers were asking the question ‘Why do fools fall in love?’ Frankie – then aged 12 – had written the song with a friend 12 months earlier. They were two of a group who sang gospel songs on New York street corners. Now they had the world at their feet.
In the following year – 1957 – aged 14, Frankie was top of the bill at the London Palladium. I remember watching that on television and being very disappointed at their performance. To me it was more like a rehearsal – and I wasn’t too far from the truth.
Because of their age they were banned from performing live on a television show, so what we saw was the group singing to an empty theatre on the Palladium stage with the curtains drawn behind them. It didn’t do them too much harm though because they had three more hits in that year.
Over the following 10 years Frankie had a very up and down life with musical agreements and marriages. On Wednesday 27th February 1968 Frankie Lymon, aged 25, was found dead of a heroin overdose on the floor of his grandmother. Frankie was one of the first rock ‘n’ roll drug casualties.