1959 Fabian – This Friendly World
Fabiano Anthony Forte grew up in Philadelphia, the son of a police officer. Chancellor Records signed him to a recording contract when he was only 14 years old, solely on the strength of his looks. They gave him a haircut and some clothes and abbreviated his name to Fabian and had him start recording singles. Nobody has accused Fabian of being a great singer, and he later testified in court that the record company electronically changed his voice on his records to make them sound better.
Fabian’s first two singles didn’t chart, but he got some help when Dick Clark let him appear on American Bandstand. The third made the national top forty and the next two (Turn Me Loose and Tiger) each reached the top ten in 1959.
On the strength of his looks and the hit records, 20th Century-Fox signed Fabian to a long-term acting contract. Their hope was a repeat of the success they had seen with Elvis and Pat Boone. They gave him the lead role in the film Hound Dog Man and put four of his recordings into the film. The title song played over the opening credits and put him back into the top ten.
The B-side of the single also charted on its own. This Friendly World peaked at #12 on the Hot 100 in 1959.
Fabian reached the top forty one more time with both sides of the same single, and then never reached the Hot 100 again. Fortunately, this mostly happened because he chose to concentrate on his acting career.
He appeared in several dozen films and an endless string of television shows over the next forty years.
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