Teen Idols Pt. 1 (50s-80s)

Teen Idols are the people we grow up listening to. We grew up loving their music, fashion & much more. I can name tons of teen idols like Elvis Presley, Frankie Avalon, James Dean, etc..but what I want to discuss is Black teen idols. The people our grandparents, parents and we idolized and adored growing up! 🗣

Frankie Lymon:

Years active: 1954-1968

Known for: Why Do Fools Fall In Love, The ABCs of Love, Little Bitty Pretty One, Goody Goody, Out in the Cold Again.

Frankie Lymon & The Teenagers were a huge sensation in the mid 50s! Their most known hit “Why Do Fools Fall In Love” was a top ten pop hit, & number one on the R&B charts. The group had other hits, but did not match the success of their big hit.

Frankie eventually went solo, & had some hits under his belt. He tragically passed away in 1968 at the age of 25. His life was dramatized for the 1998 film “Why Do Fools Fall in Love,” which starred Larenz Tate, Vivica A. Fox, Halle Berry & Lela Rochon.

The Supremes:

Years active: 1959-1977.

Members: Diana Ross, Florence Ballad, Mary Wilson, Cindy Birdsong, Betty McGlown, Barbara Martin, Jean Terrell, Lynda Lawrence, Scherrie Payne, Susaye Greene.

Known for: Baby Love, Where Did Our Love Go, Come See About Me, Someday We’ll Be Together, Love Child, I Hear A Symphony

Out of all of the acts for Motown, The Supremes were the most commercially successful vocal group. The lineup of Diana, Mary & Florence made it possible for African-Americans to find mainstream success.

Stevie Wonder:

Years active: 1961-present

Known for: Fingertips Pt. 1&2, Isn’t She Lovely, Uptight (Everything’s Alright,) Living For The City, I Just Called To Say (I Love You,) My Cherie Amour, Superstition, Signed, Sealed, Delivered (I’m Yours).

Stevie Wonder is one of the most prominent figures in music history. Being one of the artists at Motown to stay with the label his entire career, he pushed the envelope on what it means to be a musician. The kids could NEVER. Stevie is the standard for black artists.

The Jackson 5/The Jacksons:

Years active: 1964-1989, 2001, 2012-present

Members: Jackie, Tito, Jermaine, Marlon, Michael & Randy Jackson.

Known for: ABC’s, I Want You Back, Who’s Loving You, Can You Feel It, Dancing Machine, Mama’s Pearl, I’ll Be There, Never Can Say Goodbye, All I Do Is Think Of You, Enjoy Yourself, Show You The Way to Go, Good Times, Blame It On the Boogie, Shake Your Body (Down to the Ground,) This Place Hotel.

The Jackson 5 was a cultural phenomenon in the late 60s/70s. The definition of teen idols. Being one of the black bands at that time to experience crossover success, the group became one of the commercially successful musicians to come from the Motown label. Even after leaving the label for Philadelphia International records and eventually Epic…the group continued their streak as one of the best.

Stacy Lattisaw:

Years active: 1979-present

Known for: Let Me Be Your Angel, Attack of the Name Game, Love on a Two Way Street, Hey There Lonely Boy, Baby It’s You, Jump To The Beat.

Stacy Lattisaw is one of R&B’s underrated Queens is ever! Y’all don’t talk about her enough! For little over a decade, she gave us quality gems that has been sampled and appreciated by artists like Tiffany Evans & Mariah Carey.

Whitney Houston:

Years active: 1977-2012

Known for: I Will Always Love You, Greatest Love of All, You Give Good Love, All At Once, Saving My Love For You, So Emotional, I Wanna Dance With Somebody, I Belong To You, I’m Your Baby Tonight.

In the 80s, Whitney Houston was THEEEEEEEE Star destined for greatness. Coming from a family of VOCALISTS (Dionne Warwick & her mother Cissy Houston,) Whitney broke barriers with her self titled debut album and her second album “Whitney.”

Michael Jackson:

Years active 1964-2009.

Known for: Billie Jean, Thriller, Smooth Criminal, Beat It, Black & White, Remember The Time, The Way You Make Me Feel, Man in the Mirror, Liberian Girl, Dirty Diana.

Michael began his career as one of the lead singers of his family band “The Jackson 5” at a young age. The group signed to Motown, becoming one of the first Black performers to have a huge crossover following. Michael’s solo career also began at Motown, but under the guidance of Quincy Jones and Epic Records..he became a cultural phenomenon with his 1982 album “Thriller.” His film like videos from this album broke racial barriers, and brought MTV to prominence..which lead to an award from MTV being in his name for their video vanguard award. To this day, Thriller is the best-selling album of all time. Michael’s legacy lives on through his work, and was the greatest entertainer that ever lived.


Years active: 1975-2016

Known for: Purple Rain, Darling Nikki, I Wanna Be Your Lover, 1999, The Beautiful Ones, Do Me, Baby, Call My Name, Raspberry Beret, Money Don’t Matter Tonight, I Feel For You, I Would Die 4 U, When Doves Cry.

The electrifying Prince Rogers Nelson was the greatest musician to ever live. From his classic Purple Rain soundtrack album to his Musicology album, he reigned supreme in the world of music.

New Edition:

Years active: 1978-1990, 1996-1997, 2002-Present.

Members: Ricky Bell, Ralph Tresvant, Michael Bivins, Bobby Brown, Ronnie DeVoe, Johnny Gill.

New Edition burst onto the scene in the early 80s, and have been remarkable icons ever since. The group has ventured into solo careers and other groups, but one thing remains the same: the UNITY & the quality of music.

Janet Jackson:

Years active: 1973-present.

Known for: Control, The Pleasure Principle, Rhythm Nation, Alright, All For You, Scream I Get Lonely, Nasty, That’s The Way Love Goes, Together Again, Young Love, Say You Do, Feedback, Escapade.

Being the youngest out of the Jackson family dynasty, Janet had to prove that she can stand against her siblings in the world of entertainment. An actress, author, philanthropist and singer, Janet’s career skyrocketed after the success of her third studio album “Control.”


Years active: 1984-present

Known for: I Love Your Smile, Lovin’ You, Silent Prayer, Saving Forever For You, If I Never knew You, When I Close My Eyes, No 1/2 Steppin’, (Baby Tell Me) Can You Dance.

It should be a crime how criminally underrated Shanice is. Shanice’s whistle register is INSANE…& her vocals overall is simply remarkable!

Tracie Spencer:

Years active: 1987-present

Known for: Hide & Seek, Tender Kisses, Symptoms of True Love, Love Me, It’s All About You (Not About Me,) Imagine.

Tracie Spencer was the youngest female artist to sign a contract with Capitol Records. Her catalog is so amazing. Her range is sick. Just everything about her is great. Get into her!

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