Apr 24, 2016
Teenage Millionaire: The Teen Idol Career of Jimmy Clanton
I thought I was an expert on teen idols, but I missed this one.
Born in 1938 in Louisiana, he burst onto the charts right after high school, eschewing the usual rock for rhythm & blues. Between 1958 and 1962, he released six albums, and had three hit songs:
"Just a Dream" (1958) isn't heterosexist. It could apply to a boy or a girl:
Just a dream, just a dream
All our plans and our all schemes
How could I think you'd be mine
The lies I'd tell myself each time
"Venus in Blue Jeans" (1962), of course, is about a girl.
She's Venus in blue jeans
Mona Lisa with a ponytail
She's a walking, talking work of art
She's the girl who stole my heart
Go, Jimmy, Go (1959), where he is renamed Jimmy Melody. Chuck Berry, Eddie Cochran, and Ritchie Valens also perform.
Teenage Millionaire (1961) is about the millionaire son of a radio station owner, who goes undercover and woos a girl. Zazu Pitts, the 1930s movie legend who was a lesbian in real life, plays Aunt Theodora.
But Jimmy was a little "un-hip," even for the Kennedy Era, and his star soon faded.
He continued to perform through the 1960s, and later became a disc jockey. He is still in demand for nostalgia concerts.
Or a gay ally: he''s a member of the Lakewood Church in Houston, pastored by "homosexuality is a sin" Joel Osteen.
See also: Paul Anka; Beach Movies