The Phono Project

Exploring the history of the groove


In the neighborhood of Harlem, Frankie Lymon and The Teenagers were formed. This song, “Who Can Explain?” stays in step with their usual doo-wop, rock and roll sound. The track was released in 1956 off their first album, “The Teenagers featuring Frankie Lymon,” The song is led by thirteen-year-old singer Frankie Lymon and backed by members Jimmy Merchant, Sherman Garnes, Joe Negroni, and Herman Santiago, as well as Jimmy Wright and his Orchestra. This is their only album that features Lymon.

A year after the success of their hit song “Why Do Fools Fall In Love?” and the urging of label execs, Frankie went solo. Lymon’s growing superstardom declined as his battle with addiction intensified. In 1968, at the age of twenty-five, Lymon died of an overdose. In 1993 the quintet was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Herman Santiago and Jimmy Merchant are the only original surviving members of the group.

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