Tag Archives: frankie avalon

23) Frankie Avalon – “Why”

 

With the beginning of 2009 in the real world comes the close of the ’50s on No Hard Chords.  And so the decade ends not with a bang, but with a wimp: Frankie Avalon scores his second #1 of the year with a tune even sappier than “Venus,” one so corny and syrupy that Karo practically drips off it: “I think you’re awfully sweet/Why? Because I love you/You say I’m your special treat/Why? Because you love me.”  If that hasn’t triggered your gag reflex, then you either have a stronger stomach than me or you haven’t heard the tinkly, cutesy production.  The nadir of the song is the part featuring an anonymous female voice cooing back the first verse (“I’ll never let you go/Why? Because I love you”), with Avalon interjecting “Yes, I love you!” and “Yes, you love me!”  It feels a little cruel to pick on Avalon, a talented guy who understood the value of marketing himself to the teenybopper segment.  But no one saddled with such a toothless song and a smothering production can escape unscathed. 2

Hit #1 on December 28, 1959; total of 1 week at #1
23 of 963 #1’s reviewed; 2.39% through the Hot 100

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Filed under 02, 1959

11) Frankie Avalon – “Venus”

 Listening to Frankie Avalon for this project has given me a new appreciation for the arch casting of his role in Grease.  As Teen Angel, he croons over a supper club version of rock and roll, all female backing vocals and inoffensive strings – much as he did on “Venus” 20 years earlier.  But while “Beauty School Dropout” is actually quite clever and funny, the lyrics of “Venus” are bland and completely free of irony.  Avalon presents the goddess of love with a shopping list of the qualities he wants his ideal girl to have … and that’s it.  This paragon of perfection never comes to life; there’s no twist.  There’s nothing even compelling here aurally.  Avalon’s an OK singer but he’s singing a dreary song bogged down with a plodding arrangement.  I’m sure the teenyboppers who imagined themselves grade-school Venuses bought it, but I have a hard time imagining why anyone else would. 3

Hit #1 on March 9, 1959; total of 5 weeks at #1
11 of 963 #1’s reviewed; 1.14% through the Hot 100

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Filed under 03, 1959