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Saturday, 20 June 2015

Lewis Lymon born 20 June 1944

Lewis Lymon (June 20, 1944 Harlem, NY - Jul. 9, 2013 Las Vegas) was the lead singer and founder member of the group The Teenchords.
Though he has always been remembered primarily as Frankie Lymon's brother, Louie Lymon attained some notoriety on his own. He fronted his own ensemble Lewis Lymon and the Teenchords.
Born in Harlem, New York, Lewis (or sometimes called Louie) was exposed to music at an early age.
Lewis was the third of the Lymon brothers (Howie and Frankie were older; Timmy was the youngest) Lewis and Frankie were part of a musical family that grew up in the world of gospel. Their father, Howard, was part of the Harlemaires and both boys, along with brother Howard, Jr., were part of Harlemaires Juniors.
When Frankie and his group the Teenagers struck it big with Why Do Fools Fall in Love in 1956, brother Lewis got the itch to try and duplicate the success.  He formed the group the Teenchords with Ralph Vaughan, Rossilio Rocca, Lyndon Harold and David Little who were soon signed to Bobby Robinson's new Fury label on the strength of the Lymon name.

The group's first single, I'm So Happy, was also their biggest. While it didn't make the national charts, it did have good sales on the east coast and has gone on to become a Doo Wop favourite.

The Teenchords were soon touring with such major acts as Jerry Butler and The Impressions, Jessie Belvin, and Mickey and Sylvia. The following year (1957) at the height of their popularity, they were a featured act at the Apollo Theatre and had a performance in the motion picture "Jamboree!" (1957). They issued two more singles on Fury. They later recorded for George Goldner's End label in New York where they released two singles, neither of which caught on with the public.
When two of the Teenchords, Little and Harold, were discovered in a stolen automobile, the fate of the group was all but sealed. Mrs. Lymon would not allow her son to continue singing with the contingent. Some personnel changes were made, but shortly thereafter the group had disbanded. As the group's swan song, Goldner released a single on his Juanita label. "Dance Girl" backed with "Them There Eyes" came out in 1958 with little fanfare.
The Teenchords' last appearance at the Apollo was the week of October 31, 1958. By this time, Lewis was the only original member left. The rest of the roster consisted of Jimmy Castor (second tenor), Eddie Pellegrino (baritone), and Johnny Pruitt (bass).
Following the breakup of the Teenchords, Lewis Lymon went on to record one more record as part of the Townsmen. Issued in 1961 on the PJ label, "I Can't Go On" had Lewis on lead.  The record became an instant obscurity. A tour of duty in the armed forces in the mid-'60s removed Lewis from the music scene. By the time of his return, America had experienced the British Invasion and the shape of teenage rock & roll had changed dramatically from the heyday of doo wop.
In 1971, when another "oldies" revival was sweeping the Northeast, Lewis re-formed the Teenchords with Ralph Ramos, Louis Vasquez, Velmont Miller, and Frank San Pietro.
Lymon tried with another edition of The Teenchords in 1983, and they recorded a version of the Teenagers' "I Want You to Be My Girl" in 1984 for Starlight. They cut "Dance Girl" for the same label in 1985. This line-up included John O'Keefe, Mike Nicoletti, Thomas Camuti, and Andre Gains, along with Lymon. Lewis subsequently left and co-wrote a book about his experiences that was never published.
In 2003, he performed as a member of Frankie Lymon's Teenagers with original members Jimmy Merchant and Herman Santiago.
He also performed with The Drifters revival group. Although he had been suffering from prostate cancer, he still continued to perform until the early part of 2013.
He died at his home in Las Vegas on July 9, 2013. He was 69. (Info edited from various sources, especially All Music and Find a Grave and obits.)

1 comment:

boppinbob said...

For Lewis Lyman & The Teenchords – I’m So Happy
Go here:

1. I'm So Happy
2. I'm Not Too Young To Fall In Love
3. Dance Girl
4. Your Last Chance (outtake)
5. Tell Me Love
6. Too Young
7. Please Tell The Angels
8. Lydia
9. Falling In Love
10. Your Last Chance
11. Honey Honey
12. I Found Out Why
13. I'm Not Too Young To Fall In Love (outtake)
14. Them There Eyes

A very big Thank You goes to FredO of The Rockin’ Bandit blog, who sent me the original link after requesting it today! How’s that for service.