Lewis Lymon, the last living member of a groundbreaking 1950s Harlem family of teen singers, died in his Las Vegas home on Tuesday at the age of 69.
Lymon was a member of the group The Teenagers, which became popular in the ’50s for the classic “Why Do Fools Fall In Love” (embedded above). He had been suffering from prostate cancer, but continued to perform until earlier this year.
Though Lewis never enjoyed the level of fame of his late brother Frankie, he cut successful records with his group The Teenchords containing tracks that are still cited as major works of the 1950s New York rhythm and blues culture.
Some songs from Lewis’ catalog include “Please Tell the Angels,” an the uptempo tracks “Not Too Young To Fall In Love,” “Honey Honey,” “Tell Me Love,” “Lydia” and “I’m So Happy.”
With The Teenchords, Lewis also performed in the 1957 film Jamboree, featuring Fats Domino and Jerry Lee Lewis.
Lewis never bragged about his talents in interviews, and often downplayed himself in favor of his brother, Frankie. But original Teenagers member Jimmy Merchant said after Lewis’ death that he was too modest.
“His singing and stage skills, as with Frankie, were a true gift from God,” Merchant opined.
Still, Lewis never resented Frankie for his popularity.
“I was proud of what Frankie did,” Lewis said. “He helped pave the way for a lot of the rest of us.”
The oldest and youngest Lymon brothers, Howard and Timothy, dies several years ago. Frankie died in 1968 from a heroin overdose.
Lewis Lymon lived in New York most of his life before settling in Las Vegas in recent years. He will be sorely missed.