THE 1000 BEST SONGS IN THE WORLD EVER.
250-Frankie Lymon & the Teenagers-Why Do Fools Fall in Love.
1956-Number 1 single.
Best Bit-At 0.14. The founder of Motown records Berry Gordy based much of the sound of this band on the development of Michael Jackson and The Jackson 5, as well as many of his other Motown acts.
The group who would become Frankie Lyman & the Teenagers were formed in 1954 in Harlem, New York City, New York, United States. In total there have been 22 members come and go, with the groups one constant being Herman Santiago, as of 2022 they are still a touring band. In 1954 a 12 year old Frankie Lymon met with Santiago, and Jimmy Merchant, another founding member of the group who would become the Teenagers, and Lymon helped re-write an earlier Santiago/Merchant composition that would become ‘Why Do Fools Fall in Love.’ As Frankie Lymon & the Teenagers they released one studio Album ‘The Teenagers Featuring Frankie Lymon’ in 1956, and 12 singles, three of which reached the top 40 in America on Billboard, and also three which made the UK top 40.
Frankie Joseph Lymon was born on September 30th, 1942, in Harlem, New York, United States, he died of a Heroin overdose on February 27th, 1968, at the age of 25, having been an addict since the age of 15. At the age of 13 he became the youngest person at that time to achieve a UK Number 1 single with this song, he was surpassed in 1972 by Little Jimmy Omond singing ‘Long Haired Lover from Liverpool,’ at the age of nine years and eight months, a record which still stands. Frankie Lymon & the Teenagers have the distinction of being called ‘Rock Music’s’ first successful all-teenaged act, and in 1998 Lymon’s life was dramatised in the film ‘Why Do Fools Fall in Love.’
The songs royalties have been the cause of constant dispute. When the song was first issued in 1956 on the ‘Gee’ record label, the labels owner George Goldner (1918-1970) added his own name to the credits, with later releases attributed to just Goldner and Lymon, leaving off Santiago and Merchant. When Goldner sold his record label to Morris Levy, (1927-1990) Levy replaced his name on the songs writing credits removing that of Goldner. After a lengthy court battle in 1992, Santiago and Merchant were awarded the songs writing credits, but in 1996 the ruling was overturned by the Court of Appeals under the stature of limitations and authorship, because Santiago and Merchant did not bring the case to court soon enough, with the songs rights being given back to Lymon and Levy.
In 1981 Diana Ross (see also best songs 1001-900-519-411-365-212-183-148 and 23) recorded ‘Why Do Fools Fall in Love’ for her first single for ‘RCA’ since leaving ‘Motown,’ taking the song to Number 4 in the UK, and earning in excess of one million in royalties worldwide. This led to legal cases being brought to court by the family of the late Frankie Lymon. Lymon had been married three times during his short life, although two of those marriages were legally dubious. Eventually Lymon’s third wife, and probably the only legal one, Emira Eagle Lymon Bryant (1939-2019) was awarded Lymon’s estate, which is depicted in the 1998 film ‘Why Do Fools Fall in Love, where Bryant is played by the actress Lela Rochon.
Oh wah, oh wah, oh wah, oh wah, oh wah, oh wah, why do fools fall in love? Why do birds sing so gay? And lovers await the break of day, why do they fall in love?