Teen idol  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

A teen idol was a recording artist who attracted a very large following of (mostly) female "teenagers", because of their good looks and "sex appeal" as much as their musical qualities. A good example is Frank Sinatra in the 1940s, although a case can be made for Rudy Vallee even earlier. With the birth of rock and roll, Elvis Presley became one of the greatest teen idols of them all. His success led promoters to the deliberate creation of new "rock and roll" idols, such as Frankie Avalon and Ricky Nelson. Other musicians of the time also achieved mass popularity. In 1959, Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and the Big Bopper (J.P. Richardson) were killed when a plane Holly had chartered from Mason City, Iowa, to Fargo, North Dakota crashed in a corn field, after a performance at the Winter Dance Party.

Teen idols of the rock and roll years were followed by many other artists with massive appeal to a teenaged audience, including the Beatles and the Monkees. Teen idols were not only known for their catchy pop music, but good looks also played a large part in their successes. It was because of this that certain fan magazines, exclusively geared to the fans of teen idols (16 Magazine, Tiger Beat, etc.), were created. These monthly magazines typically featured a popular teen idol on the cover, as well as pin-up photographs, a Q&A, and a list of each idol's "faves" (i.e. favorite color, favorite vegetable, favorite hair color, etc.).

Teen idols also influenced toys, Saturday morning cartoons and other products. At the height of each teen idol's popularity, it was not uncommon to see Beatle wigs, Davy Jones' "love beads", or perhaps even Herman's Hermits lunchboxes for sale.


See also




Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Teen idol" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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