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  • Franklin Joseph Lymon was an African-American rock ‘n’ roll, doo-wop, and R&B soprano singer and songwriter. Considered America’s first black teenage pop star, Frankie Lymon died of a heroin overdose at the age of 25.

    How Did Frankie Lymon Die?

    At the age of 25, Frankie Lymon was found in his grandmother’s bathroom dead from a heroin overdose on February 27, 1968. A syringe was located by his body.

    Lymon was laid to rest at Saint Raymond’s cemetery located in The Bronx, New York City. A song which was recorded before his passing was released the following year and titled “I’m Sorry.”

    Posthumously, Lymon was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1993. Many well-known singers and songwriters have credited Lymon with their success and have acknowledged his influence.

    Some of these artists include:

    • The Temptations
    • George Clinton
    • Diana Ross
    • Michael Jackson
    • Billy Joel
    • Smokey Robinson

    About Frankie Lymon

    Frankie Lymon was born to the parents of Jeanette and Howard Lymon in Harlem, New York on September 30, 1942. At a young age, he became friends with Herman Santiago, the lead singer of the Coupe De Villes, a local doo-wop group.

    Later, they would go on to form the band The Ermines and The Premiers. However, Lymon’s career was forever changed when The Teenagers was formed. 

    The Teenagers

    Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers consisted of himself, Jimmy Merchant, Joe Negroni, Herman Santiago, and Sherman Garnes.

    Calling themselves The Teenagers, the group of talented teens auditioned for George Goldner, the record producer of Gee Records at the time. The Teenagers’ first single was titled “Why Do Fools Fall In Love,” which became their first hit in 1956.

    In addition to this popular song, there are a number of other hits from The Teenagers which include:

    • “Goody Goody”
    • “I’m Not A Juvenile Delinquent”
    • “I Want You To Be My Girl”
    • “Who Can Explain?”
    • “The ABC’s Of Love”

    Solo Career

    After a successful string of hit songs, Lymon began a solo career, at the pressure of the record producer. Lymon performed at the London Palladium for Queen Elizabeth II.

    Although still managing to have work, Lymon’s success wasn’t as much of a hit as his previous work with The Teenagers. Lymon experienced discrimination when he danced with a white woman on a the live ABC broadcast “The Big Beast.”

    Not only was the television show canceled, at the time those living in the South objected to the content on their television sets.

    Lymon then moved to Roulette Records later and accomplished a solo hit of a cover of Bobby Day’s “Little Bitty Pretty One.” 

    Frankie Lymon’s History Of Heroin Addiction

    During the 1960s, Lymon began to struggle with drug use. It’s reported that Lymon suffered from heroin addiction since the age of 15.

    To avoid a jail sentence due to a heroin charge in 1966, Lymon chose to join the Army. That same year, Lymon met his first wife, school teacher Emira Eagle in Augusta, Georgia.

    Although struggling with drug abuse throughout his life, Lymon was later signed by Big Apple label days before his death.

    Did Frankie Lymon Attend Addiction Treatment?

    During his time in the Army, Lymon did not participate in drug abuse. For two years, Lymon’s drug use did not exist. It wasn’t until receiving a promotion in the Army that Lymon decided to return to heroin as a form of indulgence or celebration.

    Recovery Is Possible

    Although Frankie Lymon tragically succumbed to his heroin addiction, recovery is possible with a variety of tools and treatment services.

    For information on how we treat heroin addiction with multiple resources, including medication-assisted treatment, behavioral therapy, and ongoing support, please contact Ark Behavioral health today.

    Written by Ark Behavioral Health Editorial Team
    ©2024 Ark National Holdings, LLC. | All Rights Reserved.
    This page does not provide medical advice.
    Medically Reviewed by
    Manish Mishra, MBBS
    on February 17, 2023
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