Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Heroin addict? Frankie?


This picture is rumored to be among his last taken in 1968. Looking at this, and listening to his songs from 1961, 1964, and 1968 I just find it very hard to imagine that Frankie was heavily addicted to heroin. I know the majority of the pics available of him are professional and he probably wore makeup. But, still he looked amazing! It still would be interesting to see a pic of him when he was out on the street on drugs or something like that though.

As for his voice, although it got deeper (as every voice does as one reaches adulthood) it still sounded great. It is surprising that heroin didn't seem to effect it at all. Not, that I personally think it really would since he would only injectet it into his veins. I say that because it seems that some people are ignorant and feel that it was his drug use that caused his voice to change rather than puberty which everyone goes through. I guess since Frankie was a star as a child he was immune from mother nature. Please!

But anyway the main point of this post is you can't judge a book just by its cover. This cliche is very true cause just look at that handsome man. Does he look like he could possibly do anything as bad as heroin?

Sunday, April 18, 2010

To have Frankie as a brother...


As I look at this picture I wonder how life must have been to be related to Frankie Lymon at the height of his career. This is a picture of Frankie and his little brother Lewis. Lewis also had a hit record as a child and this picture seems like a publicity photo with Frankie congratulating Lewis on his album.

I wonder if Lewis ever got hassled by people wanting to meet Frankie. I bet he was very popular because Frankie was his brother as with his other siblings and family members.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Child Star Curse?


Okay first let me say that I know that there are completely different circumstances involved in Frankie's and Michael's deaths and I know that Michael had a much more successful adult career probably due to the fact that he out lived Frankie by 25 years. But other than that their lives and deaths are remarkably similar, although not 100%

First the obvious similarities they were both black superstars who found worldwide success before they hit puberty. And they both died prematurely of drug overdoses as they were on the verge of making a comeback.

Their childhoods (or lack of one) are similar. Of coarse everyone knows how Michael's father pushed him to perform and rehearse everyday instead of letting him play with other children. For Frankie his father drove he and his brothers to different churches to perform as the Harlemaire Juniors. I also find it interesting that both Frankie's father and Michael's fathers had a band of their own before their children began performing. Joseph Jackson had the Falcons and Howard Lymon Sr. had the Harlemaires. The similarities end there because I don't think Howard pushed Frankie nearly as hard and Howard was basically out of the picture when Frankie was nine, when he divorced. But Frankie still didn't get a chance to play around like the other kids. Soon after Frankie got a job at a grocery store and then suprisingly became a little pimp on the mean streets of Harlem. As I have posted earlier, at this moment I can only imagine what he went through as a little boy on the streets. Although I doubt he complained about the GROWN women who offered him "other favors" as opposed to money, I bet the grown men on the streets with him weren't so friendly. I just feel so bad for him cause I believe the only reason he was doing those things was to help out his mother.

Speaking of Frankie's mother; she passed away in 1961 of cancer when Frankie was only 18. I feel, (again this is only an assumption, I am not sure of anything yet) that he was very close to her and when she died it hurt him deeply, thus he spiraled into depression and started using heroin heavily.

Okay back to the similarities. One thing that I have noticed from being a fan of music and different artist and listening to what they have to say about the business is that the music industry is a very isolating business. Meaning, that it involves so much responsibility; rehearsing, recording, photo shoots, tv appearances, tours, that one has very little time for anything else like family or friends. Your "friends" are co workers, bosses, and bandmates. I have heard it said many times that the entertainment industry is not a child friendly business because of those factors. Both Frankie and Michael were the youngest of their bands so they really didn't have any peers to talk to. That in itself makes child stars even more isolated than their adult counterparts because their are so few people who have shared their same experiences as a child. Thus, they become isolated adults. They both, also were the most successful and were shown the most attention out of their groups which isolated them even more, so who is there to talk to who would understand where they are coming from when they speak of the loneliness they experienced cause from the outside it looks like they were surrounded by love and adoration from their fans, but one must ask the question, who were their friends.

I wonder if Frankie had any friends. In his letter he spoke of loneliness. It is really baffling to me. I have this picture in my head of adult Frankie roaming the streets of Harlem alone, without a friend in the world, no one to talk to, looking for a heroin fix to ease his pain. Maybe I'm being a little too dramatic but that's the picture I have in my head. Very sad.

"...misery, the loneliness, the frustration and personal tragedy." To me, that describes his whole life outside of his success as a child star. Like I previously stated, I wonder if his painful life was on his mind Feb. 27 1968 and the only way he knew to clear his mind was heroin. I have always thought that a visit to a pshycaitrist (sp?) would have helped Michael, maybe Frankie needed to see one too.

So is it the curse of child stars that these two died before experiencing their comebacks?

Also isn't it ironic that their last interviews were with Ebony and a year before their deaths?

A letter from Frankie!!

I nearly jumped out of my chair with joy when I found this. It is a letter he wrote to Ebony Magazine in 1967 after his interview with them.

Coincidental with the publication of the article concerning me in the last issue of Ebony magazine, “Comeback Of An Ex-Star” (Jan. 1967), I have joined the United States Army.
My health is improved to the extent where I can participate in maneuvers, exercises and a one-mile run every morning befor breakfast.
I am presently in the infantry and hope that it will be possible for me to serve in Special Services so that I can resume my activities as an entertainer.
I feel that the experiences of the past and those described in the article have given me a greater insight into to misery, the loneliness, the frustration and the personal tragedies which can affect individuals. I think that this relization has added depth to my capacities as an artist.
I sincerely hope that other artist will recognize their responsibility, as I now recognize my responsibility, to the welfare of our people.
I sincerely hope that every performer will voluntarily, and in fact, eagerly, assume an active share in all movements benifiting our people and establishing their rights to live as individuals, as families and as members of a great democracy.

PVT. Frank J. Lymon

Fort Gordon Ga.

Upon first reading this I was amazed at how mature and self assured he sounded in this letter. He sounds so eager and ready for the next step in his life confident that his past is far behind him and that his experiences will help not hinder his career. I wonder if he wrote any of his own songs (besides Why Do Fools Fall In Love). Can you imagine the great autobiographical songs he would have. Great stories!
Back to the letter; as I began to read it again the words miserey, lonliness, frustration and tragedy stuck out to me. I wonder if his pain that he felt through his short life made it "easier" for him to become and addict, and if that same pain led him to start using again that fateful night of Feb. 27 1968.
I am so happy that I found this letter cause this leads right into what I had originally planned to post. In my next post I will post what I had planned to write in this post.

Here is the link to prove that I didn't make this letter up http://books.google.com/books?id=k-xzFES8bWcC&pg=PA10&dq=Frankie+lymon+ebony+1967&cd=3#v=onepage&q=Frankie%20lymon%20ebony%201967&f=false

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

"I never was a child." Frankie's non existant childhood


Everytime I look at this picture of adult Frankie seemingly enjoying himself playing with the neighborhood kids, their childhoods full of fun and freedom; I wonder about Frankie's childhood. In his last interview in 1967 he states that while other children in his neigborhood were outside playing he was working in a grocery store and hustling prostitutes to help his mother with the bills. I am not sure wether or not Frankie's mother specifically requested that nine year old Frankie go out and get a job, but I am almost definite that she did not force him and probably didn't know that he was pimping. I feel that he may have felt obligated to do so for some reason. No matter what life on the streets for a little boy was hard surrounded by a bunch of grown gangsters/pimps. I plan on finding out more about his childhood and if that had any effect on his adulthood. Maybe so.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Frankie's Smile Pt. 2


This is a pic of adorable little Frankie that I absolutely love! I think his crooked teeth make him even more cuter in this pic (call me weird!) What a cute little boy!

Frankie's Smile


I just love Frankie's smile. He had one of the best smile's ever. This pic was taken in April of 1960 which means that Frankie was almost 18. He grew into such a handsome man didn't he?