In 1960, titling your LP For Teenagers Only was betting on a long shot that teenagers would fork over the money for a full-length when they could buy at least half a dozen 45s for the same price. But with Bobby Darin's recent success in the adult pop market (thanks to "Mack the Knife" and the Darin at the Copa LP), executives at Atco were understandably concerned that they were leaving behind some of Darin's earliest fans (i.e., younger listeners who'd loved "Queen of the Hop" and "Splish Splash"). For Teenagers Only is a very strange beast, with a few of the bluesy uptempo numbers that Darin had done so well with during the late '50s -- just listen to "Bull Moose" (not included here) if you think he wasn't a great rock & roll singer -- combined with several titles that would have done much better on his adult-focused albums of the time. (As it turns out, nearly all of the material was from the vaults, mostly recorded during 1958.) The opening blast is straight-ahead rock & roll, with "I Want You with Me" and "Keep a Walkin'" (the latter written by Darin friends and teen pop maestros Neil Sedaka and Howard Greenfield). Darin himself wrote the next two songs, and keeps things light with a fun title by Doc Pomus-Mort Shuman, "I Ain't Sharin' Sharon." The second side mellows considerably, with versions of songs at least a decade old in "That Lucky Old Sun" and "A Picture No Artist Could Paint" as well as the Otis Blackwell R&B standard "All the Way Home." Teenagers weren't biting, however, and the LP languished without even a whimper on the charts.
For Teenagers Only Review
by John Bush