Frankie Avalon (b. September 18, 1940) is a highly acclaimed and veteran singer, actor, and former teen idol who became famous beginning in the late 1950s. As one of that era's top pop acts, his best known songs include the upbeat "DeDe Dinah" (1958), the wistful "Venus" (1959), and the heartfelt "Why" (1959). His popularity as a singer and teen heartthrob continued throughout the 1960s with his many beach movies in which he co-starred and performed with Annette Funicello.
Born Francis Thomas Avallone in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, he was a child prodigy on the trumpet and made his TV debut in 1951 at age 11 on The Jackie Gleason Show. He landed his first recording contract soon after with X Records, a subsidiary of RCA Victor, and had his first hit in 1954 on Cash Box with "Trumpet Sorrento" (with the Textor Singers). By his early teens, he had joined a local group known as Rocco & The Saints and was discovered by songwriter/producer Bob Marcucci who signed him to a management contract. In 1958, Frankie Avalon released his eponymous debut album, the first of many recordings on Marcucci's label, Chancellor Records.
Avalon kicked off his long string of hits as a teen idol in early 1958 with "DeDe Dinah," which became a Top 10 hit on both the R&B and Pop/Rock charts. This smash was followed later that year by "Ginger Bread," "I'll Wait For You," and several other hits before he topped the charts for the first time in 1959 with "Venus," his signature song. After several more top hits that included "Bobby Sox To Stockings," "A Boy Without A Girl," and "Just Ask Your Heart," he topped the charts again in late 1959 with the Bob Marcucci/Peter De Angelis-penned "Why." Other top hits include "Swingin' On A Rainbow" (1959), "Don't Throw Away All Those Teardrops" (1960), "Where Are You" (1960), "Togetherness" (1960), and "You Are Mine" (1962). As a matinee idol, Avalon also lent his vocals to a number of movies that included the 1961 sci-fi blockbuster, "Voyage To The Bottom Of The Sea," for which he sang the title theme. Avalon had a resurgence in popularity many years later in 1976 with his disco remake of "Venus," which topped the Adult Contemporary chart. His final charting song came in 1978 with "Beauty School Dropout," which he performed in the smash musical romantic comedy, "Grease," co-starring Olivia Newton-John and John Travolta.
In addition to his hugely popular beach party movie series, Frankie Avalon's many acting credits over the years include both comedic and dramatic roles in various Westerns, comedies, dramas, and documentaries. With co-star Annette Funicello, he parodied the movie genre they had previously made famous in the 1987 comedy, "Back To The Beach," in which they play a married couple with children living in Ohio who pay one last visit to their old haunt. Other memorable movie roles include a cameo as himself in the 1995 crime drama, "Casino." Avalon has also continued to tour and perform actively to the present day in various oldies shows and in nightclubs worldwide.
- For more info about Frankie Avalon's life, career, and current projects, visit frankieavalon.com.
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- Don't Throw Away All Those Teardrops 1960
- Swingin' On A Rainbow 1959
- Togetherness 1960
- Venus 1959
(This oldies classic, which was written by Ed Marshall and Peter DeAngelis, topped the charts in 1959. A disco version was later recorded in 1976 which topped the Adult Contemporary charts.)
- Where Are You 1960
- You Are Mine 1962
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