• American Idol 50s style: Frankie Avalon makes a surprise appearance
  • American Idol 50s style: Frankie Avalon makes a surprise appearance
    Written by battye
    Thu Apr 09, 2009 4:41 pm

    Frankie Avalon appeared on American Idol this week and many people are asking why.

    Born on September 18, 1939 Frankie Avalon grew up in South Philadelphia and rose to fame through his trumpet playing ability. He first recorded in 1954 on X Records - a subsidiary of RCA Victor - releasing Trumpet Tarantella and Trumpet Sorrento. In the mid 1950's he made his first television appearances on the Paul Whiteman Show and the Jackie Gleason Show. As a young teenager he joined Rocco and His Saints on the Chancellor label which led him to his first film appearance with the band in the movie Disc Jockey Jamboree. In the film he sang Teacher's Pet (not to be confused with the song of the same name by Doris Day), which despite the exposure didn't experience success on the charts.

    At this point Avalon ventured towards a solo career, and his first taste of success came with the release of Dede Dinah in 1958. It wasn't until Venus - which he performed on American Idol - and Why in 1959 that he established himself as an American star.

    He also began to feature in more films, starting with Guns of the Timberland with Alana Ladd before starring in Alamo alongside John Wayne and the series of Beach Party movies opposite Annette Funicello. Due almost entirely to drive-in movie sales The Beach Party series of movies saved American International (film studios) from bankruptcy.

    From 1958 to 1961 during his peak he was a regular performer on Dick Clark's American Bandstand - something which helped to enhance his reputation and cement his position as an American teenage idol. He parodied his own success as a teenage star in the 1978 movie Grease and in the 1980's toured with fellow former teenage idol and label-mate Fabian in the Golden Boys of Bandstand concerts.

    Between January 1958 and July 1962 Avalon enjoyed 24 hit records and in 1976 his disco version of Venus featured again on the American charts.

    Frankie Avalon's appearance on American Idol was an interesting reflection on the career of one American teenage idol.
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