During the late 50s and early 60s, doo-wop was the coolest, most popular form of music in America. Its popularity was nationwide. Talented groups were springing up from coast to coast like an overdue wheat harvest. One group of teens out of Harlem, New York rocked the music world, coming to prominence in 1955. Before then doo-wop acts were usually in their twenties, but these youngsters were only teenagers. Thus, they bore the name Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers.
13-year-old phenom, Frankie Lymon, was the groups lead singer. He had been singing in church since he was only five. His parents had a gospel band called the Harlem Mayors. The band traveled around to different churches giving praise and glorifying God with their music. Satan didn’t like that, and so he launched a spiritual attack against the Lymons. The plan was to conquer Frankie’s soul. He was the second oldest child and the one with the most angelic voice.
Satan knew just how to entice the richly talented precocious teen. On the night when Frankie and the other members of his group had wrapped up recording “Why Do Fools Fall in Love.” Satan visited Frankie in a dream.
“Hello Frankie, do you know who I am?” The evil spirit asked.
Frankie looked into the Devil’s red eyes and could smell the ashes, and he immediately knew the answer to the question.
You’re Satan! Frankie shouted at the top of his voice as if to sound the alarm to the entire neighborhood. “Don’t be afraid of me Frankie. I’m your friend.” Said the devil.
Young Frankie had grown up in the rugged Harlem of the 1950s, which was predominantly an African-American ghetto. He knew not to show fear. Although the thirteen-year-old soprano was at first terrified and could feel his heart racing. He reminded himself that this is only a nightmare and that he would soon wake up tossing and turning from a bad dream.
Frankie, I want you to make your mom and dad proud. I want to give you money enough so that your mom won’t need to clean people’s homes, and dad won’t need to be gone all the time out driving a truck. You’d like that now Frankie, wouldn’t you?
“Why yes, I would, but I trust the Lord. He will make it happen for us.” Frankie responded.
The devil became irritated by Frankie’s response, to which he then replied “Frankie if you read your Bible you will know that I am the Lord of this world. It is written in Luke 4:6. If there is something in the material world that you want you should ask it of me. I am your friend.”
Having been raised in church all his life Frankie also knew that the devil was a liar. Which led him to boldly challenge the devil’s claim. Frankie declared “How do I know that you aren’t bullshitting me devil?”
The devil laughed out loud and smoke emanated from his mouth. “Look here.” Said the devil, as he held out the palm of his rather large right hand. Just then a vision materialized. In the devil's palm, Frankie could see his future beginning with the success of the soon to be released “Why Do Fools Fall In Love.”
The devil also showed Frankie and his mates from the Teenagers traveling the world on tour. They were each dressed to the nines in fine matching suits and performing on stage and on television as throngs of adoring fans cheered their performance. It was a glamorous spectacle. “All this I can deliver for you and then some.” Satan told the youngster.
Frankie was amazed and was ready to agree, but then he remembered that this was the devil, and he declined the tempting offer. But the devil was not deterred. He knew Frankie better than Frankie knew Frankie. “Frankie you drive a hard bargain.” Said the devil.
“Frank, here’s what I’m gonna do for you,” said the fallen angel, “I’m gonna give you more hit records.” The devil then conjured a grey colored record player and began playing songs by Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers which Frankie had never heard before let alone recorded. The devil played “Little Bitty Pretty One,” then “Teenage Love” followed by “Tears On My Pillow.”
“What do you think Frankie baby?” The Prince of Darkness asked.
Frankie was too astonished to speak. The King of Hell knew that he had him leaning. One or two more inducements and he would close the deal.
You like girls don’t you Frankie? It was a rhetorical question. The devil knows everyone’s desires. He then displayed three lovely young women. They each somewhat resembled Frankie’s mother in her youth, all fine specimens of womanhood. “You may marry anyone of these pretty ladies you desire Frankie. “Frankie began smiling and rubbing his hands together.
“Hell, I see you can’t make up your mind. I’m gonna let you marry all three of them then.” Satan said in a voice of absolute authority, with the tone of a priest pronouncing a newlywed couple to be man and wife for the first time.
Frankie was now giddy with amusement. He was still just a boy, and the devil knew that for now, his biggest obsession wasn’t necessarily girls or women. Frankie could most easily be swayed with a new bike, candy, hamburgers, and Pepsi Cola. So, the devil produced a large brown paper bag.
Frankie, if I show you what’s in this bag and you like it, you can have it in addition to all my other promises. But that means that from now on you belong to me, and in 13 years I will come to collect what belongs to me. Is that a deal?
The innocent thirteen-year-old nodded his head and said: “You got a deal devil!”
The devil smiled an evil smile as he opened the paper bag showing Frankie that it was filled with candy. He then closed the bag and smashed it over the teenagers head. In the morning when Frankie woke from his sleep his head was filled with lots of great new lyrics, and there was candy everywhere.
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Hi, I'm Lester Patterson,