Frankie Avalon Biography

Francis Avallone, 18 September 1940, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA. This photogenic 50s teen idol started as a trumpet-playing child prodigy. His first recordings in 1954 were the instrumentals ‘Trumpet Sorrento’ and ‘Trumpet Tarantella’ on X-Vik Records (an RCA Records subsidiary). In the mid-50s, he appeared on many television and radio shows including those of Paul Whiteman, Jackie Gleason and Ray Anthony. He joined Rocco And The Saints and was seen singing with them in the 1957 movie Jamboree (retitled Disc Jockey Jamboree in the UK). Avalon signed to Chancellor Records and in 1958 his third single for them, ‘DeDe Dinah’, reached the US Top 10. It was the first of his 25 US chart entries, many of which were written by his hard-working manager, Bob Marcucci. Despite the fact that he had a weak voice and his musical talent was often questioned, Avalon quickly became one of the top stars in the USA and managed two chart-toppers in 1959, ‘Venus’ and ‘Why’, which were his only UK Top 20 entries. Avalon had to wait until his 21st birthday in 1961 to receive the $100, 000 he had earned to date, and by that time he had passed his peak as a singer and turned his attention to acting. This career move proved successful, with appearances in many movies, including a string of beach flicks alongside fellow 50s pop star Annette and a memorable appearance as Teen Angel in the highly successful 1978 movie, Grease.

Avalon later recorded with little success on United Artists Records, Reprise Records, Metromedia, Regalia, Delite, Amos and Bobcat. Apart from his movie and occasional television appearances, Avalon still performs on the supper-club circuit, and in 1985 toured in The Golden Boys Of Bandstand. He now runs the highly successful Frankie Avalon Products, selling a line of health supplement products. Alongside fellow Chancellor Records artist Fabian, he is often dismissed by rock critics because of his limited vocal range, yet he remains one of the American public’s best-loved 50s teen-idols.

Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.