With both Taylor Swift and Britney Spears releasing new albums, it's time we thought about teen idols, doncha think?
Who doesn't love a teen idol? After all, they're so young! And as we age and slowly become decrepit, we look back at our youth and wonder at the innocence of it all. For the most part, I tried to stick with performers who were actual teenagers when they inspired their peers. However, Davy Jones was clearly a bit older when he swooned Marcia Brady's heart and he is the very definition of a teen idol, as was David Cassidy. These days, we're much better at making sure our teen idols are teenagers. Or at least were teenagers. Funny thing is they eventually grow up--like Britney. And develop into fine, fine citizens of the world. Or not.
Anyhow ranking them seems a little silly. I know from past experience that many of you dear readers will complain about someone's position on the list. I sympathize. If I woke up tomorrow to do this ranking system it would come out differently. There are no hard, fast rules here. Just me typing a name out and thinking that it looks nice in that spot. Or someone's got to be cut from this list. And since most of the people appearing on this list didn't get back to me about some "bonus" issues, well, we'll just let karma and fate and my accountant settle things once and for all.
No matter how you feel about these people, please remember to brush your teeth at least twice a day and stay away from those sugary snacks. Wheat Thins are in! And careful with that cellphone. Who knows if it really causes brain cancer? I'd hate to be on the wrong side of that argument. Which is why I prefer the U.S. Mail. Write a letter to your friends instead.
25) 98 Degrees: I remember when a friend of mine was telling me about these guys. His daughters were really into them. But he kept calling them 38 Degrees and I kept wondering what was the significance of being six degrees above freezing.
24) Tiffany: We just featured Tiff in our "Where Are They Now?" column and she's still out there remaking herself as a danceclub diva. But back in the 1980s she was the girl next door singing at the mall, raking in the money and making you wonder why your band couldn't get that gig. After all, you didn't need Tommy James covers, you'd written an entire concept album called The Mind Of Walter.
23) Brandy: I went looking to find out more about this wonderful singer and came across this information: "She is the sister of singer and actor William Raymond Norwood and a cousin of blues singer Bo Diddley and rapper Snoop Dogg." Is this true? If so, is everyone in the music business related? I've heard we're each other's brother and sister, but this is taking things too far.
22) New Kids On The Block: These kids were huge in their day and these days they can't even get a reality TV show, can they? I'm told they released a new album this year. Did anyone notice? I'm told the album debuted at #1 on the charts and has gone Gold. But who bought it? Teens? Fully grown adults who remember them back when? Who are these people?
21) Frankie Lymon: His life was tragic. "Why Do Fools Fall In Love?" guaranteed him success and then his voice changed and the people who managed him weren't very good to him and he was introduced to heroin and he died of an overdose at 25. Sometimes success isn't exactly success. Hey, Artie Lange, keep an eye on yourself (we went to high school together, this is true!)
20) Shaun Cassidy: His amazing version of "Da Doo Ron Ron" remains one of pop music's all-time classics and certainly everyone should own a copy. If you don't, do not pass Go, do not collect $200 and go directly to jail!
19) Debbie Gibson: Deborah to us now. And recently featured in my "Where Are They Now?" column. She was the cleanest, most wholesome of the lot and then she poses in Playboy to shatter our image of her and to promote an album called Naked. You expect certain folks to do these things, but not our Little Debbie! (Great snack food, too.)
18) Ricky Nelson: From The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet to more than 50 Top 100 Hits to "Garden Party" to siring two sons who would go on to ‘80s rock fame as Nelson, Ricky had done it all. He set the standard for others and yet never quite got the respect that many other less successful artists received. He should've filed a petition!
17) ‘N Sync: I guess any band with Justin Timberlake and Lance Bass should be considered a "Supergroup" of sorts. I mean, even I've heard of them and I wouldn't know these guys from Backstreet Boys, who I'm ranking higher because they have a better name, or 98 Degrees, who I ranked lower because of their lamer name. It's not an exact science, folks.
16) LeAnn Rimes: It's a shame she grew up because she made a great teenager. But we all knew it was bound to happen. We saw it happen with Alyssa Milano. So there was previous proof. She's currently 26! And she continues to have success--proving she wasn't just some teen flash-in-the-pan, but a force of a nature.
15) Silverchair: I've already been taken to task for not realizing that these guys still had a career going after their first initial success. Damn. I should've known something was up when I saw they worked with Van Dyke Parks. That's not someone you call upon when you want a hit. That's who you call when you want prestige and to sell no records whatsoever. Unless you're the Beach Boys, then you call him because you want to get weird--and annoy Mike Love.
14) Hanson: Who didn't think these guys were the best? They always looked uncomfortable and awkward and you figured the little drummer boy in the back would eventually become a terror. They had to know that "MmmBop" wasn't going to help them be taken seriously. Catchy tune. Big hit. But it's kind of like farting on your first date. Everyone remembers, but not everyone is impressed.
13) Backstreet Boys: Given the 13th position strictly because I like their name. They've sold over 120 million albums but not one of them to me or anyone I know and I assume that most of those albums--CDs?--are now sitting in a landfill somewhere alongside my old computer and my Atari 2600. Damn, I miss that thing.
12) Jonas Brothers: I've been to Wyckoff, New Jersey, so there's a chance that I once ran into these guys when they were little tykes probably trying to run me over with their tricycles. These days, they could buy and sell me. I just hope these talented young men are putting away their money into smart, retirement plans because even though right now the horrors of old age may seem to be in the distant future it will come sooner than they think. But, hey, for now, let's celebrate!
11) Taylor Swift: Maybe Joe Jonas can dump her in 27 seconds on the phone, but just for that we're putting her one spot ahead of those guys--to teach them a lesson! We here at List Of The Day will not stand for guys breaking up with girls over the phone. That's what the mail is for!
10) Menudo: What I liked about this group was how you got kicked out after you got too old. It didn't matter what you had contributed, it was time to move on. Imagine if we could do that to all those old, senile high school teachers who keep reading from the same yellowed notes year after year. Or to the mail delivery person who no longer can remember which box is which and keeps giving my mail to the neighbors. Forced retirement at age 17 might seem a bit extreme, but reality burns sometimes.
9) Donny And Marie: She was a little bit country and he was a little bit rock n' roll, and we do mean a little bit. These two had their own variety show that if I remember correctly was on Friday nights, which served as a reminder that you were HOME on a Friday night. They had so many teeth there should've been a dental inquiry.
8) Lulu: I'm including her because of her name. It's a great one. And she was a teen star. And I'm figuring about 3 per cent of my reading public remember her. And the rest will just ignore this entry and move on to the one about Michael Jackson or maybe Avril. Our attention spans are like that.
7) Tanya Tucker: These days young ones are so much more commonplace but back in the 1970s, it was always as if they had "blue laws" stopping youth from happening. Tanya took over the country world with "Delta Dawn" at 13 and "Would You Lay With Me (In A Field Of Stone)" was among her hits that caused people to raise their eyebrows and wonder where the world was headed. They would've shuddered to learn about Gangsta Rap, that's for sure.
6) Michael Jackson: Michael wasn't even a teen when he started his career. He had so much of a head start on everyone else it practically wasn't fair. That it turned out he had actual talent must've been a surprise to everyone. I mean, when a kid is nine, you can't map out what he'll be doing at 20 or 30. Weathermen can't even figure out what's going to happen in three days!
5) David Cassidy: Another one of these guys who was a little old by today's standards. But he had that show--The Partridge Family--and maybe he wasn't always crazy about performing on the show but I'm pretty sure Willie Aames would've killed for the opportunity to perform regularly, as his band only got to perform once on Eight Is Enough, which was a show that starred Dick Van Patten, an absolutely legend here at Y! Music.
4) Avril LaVigne: She made skater kids go mainstream and took the punk she found at the mall and went for it. I don't imagine she'll ever be teaming up with the guys from Fear or Black Flag, but then who knows? Weirder things have happened. And often do--if you live long enough.
3) Miley Cyrus: I can't get over how much more teenager is left in this girl. It seems like she's been popular forever. I can barely remember a world where she wasn't dominating the lunch box market. But then I can barely remember where I put my shoes.
2) Britney Spears: Her songs have always been catchy. Which when you're performing pop music really helps. And she's been controversial, which when you're performing pop music really helps. And she likes attention, which when you're performing pop music really helps. And we here at Y! Music really like her too, which when you're performing pop music really helps.
1) Davy Jones: This is where my own bias has to show. It's impossible to really determine a #1. So, considering his A-1 performance of "Girl" on The Brady Bunch and his agreement to attend the prom with Marcia, well, what a swell guy. He did attend the prom with her, didn't he?