Passings: Lewis Lymon of the Teenchords

Lewis Lymon, the brother of Frankie Lymon of the Teenagers, died on Tuesday at his Las Vegas home. He was 69.

Lewis and Frankie were part of a musical family from Harlem that grew up in the world of gospel. Their father, Howard, was part of the Harlemaires and both boys, along with brother Howard, Jr., were part of Harlamaires Juniors.

When Frankie and his group the Teenagers struck it big with Why Do Fools Fall in Love in 1956, brother Lewis got the itch to try and duplicate the success.  He formed the group the Teenchords with Ralph Vaughan, Rossilio Rocca, Lyndon Harold and David Little who were soon signed to Bobby Robinson's new Fury label on the strength of the Lymon name.

The group's first single, I'm So Happy, was also their biggest. While it didn't make the national charts, it did have good sales on the east coast and has gone on to become a Doo Wop favorite.

While the group's national success was marginal, they did find that they were in demand, playing shows at the Apollo and were part of an Alan Freed tour. They also appeared in the movie Jamboree.

A year later, they left Fury to sign with End where they released two more singles, neither of which caught on with the public.

After Little and Harold were arrested in a stolen car in 1958, the group broke up with Lymon eventually moving to the group the Townsmen in 1963.

Lewis served a tour of duty in the Navy during the mid-60's and went on to revive the Teenchords during the early-70's as interest in oldies began to peek. He continued singing with various incarnations of the group through out the decade and into the 80's where they finally recorded a few new sides for Starlight Records.

In the 90's, Lewis worked with a new version of the Teenagers, the Drifters and the Coasters.

The Teenchords were revived late last year via an ad for Google Chrome that used their biggest hit, I'm So Happy.

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