Various Artists

The Rock 'N' Roll Era: Teen Idols, Vol. 2

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It's as true today as it was true in 1958: teens will make idols out of just about anyone. That's why Time Life has released Teen Idol, Vol. 2 even though most adults -- from the early rock & roll era -- could see no reason for volume one. Having said this, the primary audience -- now -- for Teen Idol, Vol. 2 will be the folks who came of age when heartthrob Neil Sedaka sang "Next Door to an Angel." Guys like Sedaka, along with a few token gals, paled beside rock & rollers like Elvis and Wanda Jackson, but how many kings of rock & roll can one era hold? And while many folks may laugh today when Pat Boone (rock & roll's version of vanilla ice cream) sings "April Love," the smooth crooner sold more records than anyone save Elvis. Still, it will be hard to see the appeal of Fabian and Frankie Avalon 50 years later. But while a singer like Tab Hunter might seem just as ridiculous, "Young Love" is nonetheless a good song. Likewise, Connie Francis' "Stupid Cupid" at least has the virtue of being so silly that it's kind of cool, while Brenda Lee's "I Want to Be Wanted," even though buried in strings, still features her great voice. Teen Idol, Vol. 2 may not be the best way to remember the '50s, but the collection does remind one of a 50-year-old musical phenomena that won't go away.

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