FRANKIE AVALON, 1938-

A child prodigy of the trumpet, Frankie Avalon starred on Paul Whiteman’s radio and TV programs, both of which were based in the Philadelphia area in the early 1950s. By 1957, he signed with Chancellor Records as a vocalist. The label’s owners, Bob Marcucci and Peter de Angelis, also took on the management of his career.

Avalon’s scored his first national hit in early 1958 with a Marcucci-de Angelis composition, "Dede Dinah" (Chancellor 1011). A prime exponent of the teen idol school, he enjoyed five Top Ten hits the following year, including three million sellers—"Venus" (Chancellor 1031), "Just Ask Your Heart" (Chancellor 1040), and "Why" (Chancellor 1045).

Although his recordings were less successful in the early 1960s, Avalon became a major Hollywood film star. His acting credits included Guns of the Timberland (1960), The Carpetbaggers (1962), and a string of beach party movies produced by American International Pictures. From the 1960s to the 1990s, he divided his time between television and film acting—most notably, Grease (1978) and Back to the Beach (1987), club appearances, and occasional recording sessions. A disco version of his number one hit, "Venus" (De-Lite 1578), was his last charting single. By the late 1970s, he became increasingly active performing on the rock and roll revival circuit. [Stambler, 1989]

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