Fabian (1943—)

views updated

Fabian (1943—)

Perhaps the quintessential teen idol of the 1950s, Fabian was only fourteen when he was plucked from obscurity and thrust into the idol-making machinery by Philadelphia record producer-promoter Bob Marcucci. Though he had failed his high school chorus classes, the darkly handsome Fabian Forte hit the national charts with the offkey single, "I'm a Man." The hits "Turn Me Loose" and "Tiger" followed. Critics savaged him; Time labeled him a "tuneless tiger." But to teenage girls lamenting Elvis Presley's tenure in the U.S. Army, Fabian filled a void. Aware that he was being marketed like "a thing," Fabian left music in the early 1960s to pursue a Hollywood career. But after proving an affable co-star in popular movies such as High Time and North to Alaska, his career stalled. His career was revived in the 1980s by "golden oldies" tours, which continued into the 1990s.

—Pat H. Broeske

Further Reading:

Farley, Ellen. "The Story of Frank and Fabe and Bob." Los Angeles Times, November 23, 1980, 30-31.

Time. "Tuneless Tiger." July 27, 1959, 33.