Teenage tragedy song - Wikipedia. The teenage tragedy song is a style of ballad in popular music that peaked in popularity in the late 1. Examples of the style are also known as "tear jerkers," "death discs" or "splatter platters", among other colorful sobriquets coined by DJs that then passed into vernacular as the songs became popular. Often lamenting teenage death scenarios in melodramatic fashion, these songs were usually sung from the viewpoint of the dead person's sweetheart, as in "Last Kiss" (1. Other examples include "Teen Angel" by Mark Dinning (1.
Tell Laura I Love Her" by Ray Peterson (1. Ebony Eyes" by the Everly Brothers (1. Dead Man's Curve" by Jan and Dean (1. Leader of the Pack" by the Shangri- Las (1. The genre's popularity faded around 1. American phenomenon it was one of many musical formats that was drowned out by the British Invasion), but inspired a host of similar songs and parodies over the years.
Origins and formatBy the mid- 1. U. S. was embracing rock and roll, and the folk revival was also approaching its zenith – the narrative style of many teenage tragedy songs had similarities to folk balladry. Prison ballads (such as the Kingston Trio's "Tom Dooley", based on a folk song about a real murder) and gunfighter ballads (including Johnny Cash's "Don't Take Your Guns to Town"), with similar themes of death, were also popular during the heyday of teen tragedy songs. The teen tragedy genre's popular era began with "Black Denim Trousers and Motorcycle Boots", written by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller.
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Released just before 2. James Dean's death in an automobile accident in the fall of 1. Teenage tragedies had specific thematictropes such as star- crossed lovers, reckless youth, eternal devotion, suicide, and despair over lost love; along with lyrical elements that teens of the time could relate to their own lives – such as dating, motorcycles and automobiles (car songs also being popular during the 1. Contemporary girl groups of the '6. Reparata and the Delrons' over- the- top "Saturday Night Didn't Happen" and its B- side, "Panic," in 1. In The Pussycats' 1. Dressed in Black", (co- written by George 'Shadow' Morton, and originally a Shangri- Las B- side) and in "We Don't Belong" by UK singer Sylvan (1.
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Sylvan's case, nearly suicidal.Ethnomusicologist Kirsten Zemke considers these songs as forming a strictly musical genre that was bound by common thematic tropes, musical style and production elements; and as being of their time. As for their popularity, she writes: "They sold well in their time, and the style has persisted throughout the decades in various forms. And …. they have an interesting history. The question some writers have asked is “why?”. Some of the reasons suggested for this genre’s macabre popularity are: These were the ultimate teen rebellion songs. The only way out of parents’ (and/or societal) control and expectations are death.
They were a natural extension of the “unrequited love” song, facilitated by the obvious rhyming of: good bye, cry and die. There were a number of publicized deaths of pop stars and young actors during that period, including Sam Cooke, Johnny Ace, Eddie Cochran; and of course the plane crash that killed Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and the Big Bopper in 1. This might explain the interest in songs around death, tragedy and sorrow."ExamplesTitle. Original artist. Year. Songwriter(s)Notes"Black Denim Trousers and Motorcycle Boots"The Cheers. Jerry Leiber, Mike Stoller. U. S. #6. Protagonist disappears, presumed dead but never found."Endless Sleep"Jody Reynolds.
Jody Reynolds, Dolores Nance. Emotionally Abused Adults. U. S. #5, precursor of the genre. The singer's sweetheart is saved in the last verse; in Reynolds' original version, she dies."Running Bear"Johnny Preston. J. P. Richardson (The Big Bopper)U. Safe Sex And Older Adults'>Safe Sex And Older Adults.
S. #1"Teen Angel"Mark Dinning. Jean Dinning, Red Surrey.
U. S. #1"Tell Laura I Love Her"Ray Peterson[1. Dating Singer Featherweight Machine. Jeff Barry, Ben Raleigh. U. S. #7, cover by Ricky Valance was #1 in the UK. Protagonist dies in an automobile racing accident."Ebony Eyes"The Everly Brothers. John D. Loudermilk. U. S. #8, UK #1, Can.
Johnny Remember Me"John Leyton. Geoff Goddard. UK #1, produced by Joe Meek; later covered by psychobilly band The Meteors"Moody River"Pat Boone.
Gary D. Bruce. U. S. #1. Singer's girlfriend commits suicide by drowning."The Water Was Red"Johnny Cymbal. Stanley Wagner"The Prom"Del Shannon. Del Shannon"Leah"Roy Orbison. Roy Orbison. U. S.
Can. #7"Call Me Lonesome"Arthur Alexander. Arthur Alexander. Unreleased until 1. Lonely Just Like Me""Patches"Dickey Lee. Barry Mann, Larry Kolber.
U. S. #6"Echo"The Emotions. The Emotions, Henry Boye"Chapel Bells Ringing"Gene Summers. M. Torver"Last Kiss"Wayne Cochran & the C. C. Riders. 19. 62.
Wayne Cochran. Cover by J. Frank Wilson and the Cavaliers was a 1. U. S. #2. Cover by Pearl Jam was a 1. U. S. #2"A Young Man Is Gone"The Beach Boys.
Bobby Troup, Mike Love"B. J. the D. J."Stonewall Jackson.
Hugh X. Lewis. U. S. Country #1"Dead Man's Curve"Jan and Dean.
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