Synopsis of Pop Music
“I’m a man,
I spell M-A-N, man...”
Fabian was a classic teen idol, the kind of overnight success who had racked up a career’s worth of hits before reaching the age of 18. Most people who find stardom this young fade after their initial success, but Fabian used his teen-idol days as the stepping stone to an impressive career whose success continues to this day.
The story of Fabian’s discovery is the kind of thing that Hollywood fantasies are made of. Born Fabiano Forte Bonaparte in Philadelphia, he was 15 years old when he was spotted by Bob Marcucci, a local music mogul who had previously discovered Frankie Avalon. Marcucci saw Fabian as a potential Italian-American equivalent of Ricky Nelson. He snatched up Fabian on sight and began recording singles with the young boy as he revved up his publicity machine.
Fabian’s career caught fire with his third single, a Top-40 hit called “I’m A Man.” This song was penned by Doc Pomus and Mort Shuman, the same songwriters who wrote many a hit for artists like the Coasters, the Platters and Elvis Presley. Fabian followed “I’m A Man” with two even greater successes that year: “Turn Me Loose” (a #9 hit) and “Tiger” (a #3 hit that sold a million copies). He also frequently performed on American Bandstand, thus cementing his teen-idol status with legions of screaming girls. Year later, Laverne and Shirley would pay tribute to the hysteria that Fabian inspired in his female fans by having its two stars flip their lids over Fabian.
Fabian’s horizons expanded at the end of the year when he acted in his first film, Hound Dog Man. The film also featured a Pomus-Shuman song with the same title that went to #9 on the pop charts. Fabian continued to act after this film and devoted himself to his acting career on a full-time basis in 1961. Although he would record occasionally after this time, he spent the majority of his time starring in films like Fireball 5000 and Ride the Wild Surf. Over the years, he would work with actors as diverse as John Wayne, Jack Palance, Jimmy Stewart and Tuesday Weld.
Fabian remains active in show business today, both as a musician and an actor. He recently put together “Fabian’s Goodtime Rock ‘N’ Roll Show,” a musical revue featuring artists of the 50’s and 60’s. This revue was also taped for a pay-per-view special and was eventually released to syndication and PBS. Like fellow teen idol Frankie Avalon, Fabian has made a graceful transition from teen idol to elder statesman, keeping the good-time pop coming long after his teen-idol years were up.
Artist Release History1959 - Fabulous Fabian
1959 - Hold That Tiger
1960 - Good Old Summertime
1960 - Facade Young & Wonderful
1960 - The Hit Makers
1961 - Rockin' Hot
1974 - Fabian
1987 - Fabulously Grateful
1987 - The Tiger Chancellor
1997 - Schöne Lieder (live)
1991 - This Is Fabian! (1959-61)
1995 - The Best of Fabian