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View Full Version : Interesting and notable rock-&-roll accomplishments by teenagers


bordelond
10-27-2005, 11:06 AM
I'll offer two that are in line with the kinds of factoids I have in mind:

-- Guitarist Neal Schon was invited to join Santana at age 17. Schon did perform (and get a production credit!) on Santana's album Santana III, but did not tour with the band. IIRC, he felt he was too young to leave the country to tour. Two years later, at 19, Schon co-founded Journey.

-- Singer Steve Winwood recorded with the Spencer Davis Group starting at age 16. Their biggest American hit, "Gimme Some Lovin' ", features an 18-year-old Winwood on lead vocals and organ.

...

Trying to stick to rock-&-roll anecdotes here. There seem to be many, many youngsters that made it big in soul/R & B/dance and later rap -- Stevie Wonder, The Jackson Five, New Edition, Kriss Kross, etc. And pop music has always had the teen idols of the 50s & 60s, the likes of Leslie Gore and Lulu, and today the manufactured boy bands and acts like Britney Spears and Hillary Duff.

But how many teenagers, over the years, have made their marks in straight-ahead rock-&-roll the way Schon and Winwood did?

DfrntBreign
10-27-2005, 11:12 AM
The first two that spring to mind are Ted Nugent as a member of The Amboy Dukes and Rick Derringer as a member of err.. uhm. that band that did "Hang On Sloopy".

bordelond
10-27-2005, 11:21 AM
The first two that spring to mind are Ted Nugent as a member of The Amboy Dukes and Rick Derringer as a member of err.. uhm. that band that did "Hang On Sloopy".
Good ones -- the Amboy Dukes' debut album came out when Nugent was 18. A year later, the title track to their second album -- "Journey to the Center of the Mind" -- became a hit.

Derringer was 17 when he recorded "Hang on Sloopy" with The McCoys.

Thudlow Boink
10-27-2005, 11:23 AM
If I recall correctly, Dave Davies was 17 when the Kinks recorded "You Really Got Me."

John Corrado
10-27-2005, 11:30 AM
George Harrison was 16 when he joined The Quarrymen; he was 17 when the group changed its name to "The Beatles" and began playing in Germany; and he was 19 when "Love Me Do" was released in England.

Yookeroo
10-27-2005, 11:33 AM
-- Guitarist Neal Schon was invited to join Santana at age 17. Schon did perform (and get a production credit!) on Santana's album Santana III, but did not tour with the band. IIRC, he felt he was too young to leave the country to tour. Two years later, at 19, Schon co-founded Journey.

So if Schon was born a couple of years earlier, we would have been spared Journey? This is why I sometimes think the gods hate us.

lissener
10-27-2005, 11:35 AM
Kate Bush was 16 when she was discovered by David Gilmour. EMI was so impressed with her that they supported her family for 3 years while she finished school and worked on her music. Her debut album came out when she was 19, and launched one of the most influential careers in rock history.

(Her new album, Aerial (http://katebush.com/) , her first in 12 years, is out soon.)

Diogenes the Cynic
10-27-2005, 11:50 AM
The guitarist for Iron Butterfly, Eric Braun, was 16 years old when he joined the band and recorded the classic, "In-A-Gadda-Da-vida." He had been playing guitar for three months when he joined the band.

WordMan
10-27-2005, 01:45 PM
Most of Def Leppard was about 18 when they made their first album On Through the Night.

Hansen are an obvious mention - they were low teens when MMMBop became a hit and they do actually play their instruments.

need we mention the Jackson 5 and "Little" Stevie Wonder?

Fiona Apple was discovered when she was about 16 and her first album Tidal was released a few years later.

The band Eve 6 was signed in high school and paid to finish school and work on their music chops.

Just a few to get warmed up...

Larry Mudd
10-27-2005, 01:57 PM
Gordon Gano wrote most of the songs on the Violent Femmes' first album while he was still in high school. He was 18 when the album debuted.

saoirse
10-27-2005, 02:22 PM
Anna Something of Bow Wow Wow was 15 when she recorded "I Want Candy."

Penelope Houston formed The Avengers when she was 19, wrote all the lyrics and developed enough of a following to open for the Sex Pistols when they came to San Francisco, playing, IIRC, 300 shows in 12-month stretch.

bordelond
10-27-2005, 02:26 PM
need we mention the Jackson 5 and "Little" Stevie Wonder?
Covered in the OP. I noted that this type of thing was more common in some genres than others.

Interrobang!?
10-27-2005, 02:27 PM
Tommy Stinson, bassist for the Replacements, was 12 when they formed. He was born in 1966, so was a teenager when they released Sorry Ma, Forgot to Take Out the Trash (1981), Hootenanny (1983), Let It Be (1984), and Tim (1985).

kidchameleon
10-27-2005, 02:34 PM
Tommy Lee and Vince Neil were 18 when Motley Crue turned the LA music scene on it's head and were 19 when Too Fast for Love was released.

Necros
10-27-2005, 02:36 PM
I believe both Rich and Chris Robinson of the Black Crowes were in their teens when Shake Your Money Maker was released, but I can't find any definite ages.

plnnr
10-27-2005, 02:38 PM
Janis Ian's first recognition came for a song called "Society's Child" when she was a teenager. She then fell kind of silent until "At Seventeen" hit.

nvad
10-27-2005, 02:50 PM
Alex Chilton was 16 when the Box Tops recorded "The Letter" in 1967.

Spoke
10-27-2005, 02:55 PM
Alex Chilton was 16 when the Box Tops recorded "The Letter" in 1967.

Well, that was gonna be my contribution. Hard to believe that gravelly voice belonged to a 16-year-old.

RealityChuck
10-27-2005, 03:06 PM
Keith Moon was 19 when "My Generation" was released.

More obscurely:

Michael Brown and Steve Martin of the Left Banke (plus the rest of the group) were teenagers when they recorded "Walk Away Renee." Brown, who wrote the song, had an unrequited teenage crush on a girl named "Renee."

Dodie Stevens was twelve when she recorded the hit single, "Pink Shoelaces."

Lucky Peterson had an R&B hit at the age of four and a half with "1-2-3-4," which got him a gig on The Tonight Show in 1974. He continued to perform into adulthood, and is still active today, releasing an album as recently as 2003.

Spoke
10-27-2005, 03:15 PM
The band Live was formed when Ed Kowalczyk was a teenager. I believe he was still a teen when they recorded Mental Jewelry.

Little Nemo
10-27-2005, 03:17 PM
Anna Something of Bow Wow Wow was 15 when she recorded "I Want Candy."
Annabella Lwin. Although her real name is Myant Myant Aye (she's originally Burmese).

Little Nemo
10-27-2005, 03:21 PM
I believe both Rich and Chris Robinson of the Black Crowes were in their teens when Shake Your Money Maker was released, but I can't find any definite ages.
Rich was 16 and Chris was 18 when they formed the Black Crowes in 1985. But Shake Your Money Maker, their first album, didn't come out until 1990 when they were both past 20.

ianzin
10-27-2005, 03:27 PM
Mike Oldfield was still in his teens when he recorded most of Tubular Bells, and was still a few months short of 20 when it was released.

It was an amazingly inventive contribution to rock music. No lyrics! A continuous instrumental work without track breaks! The use of over-dubbing to allow one intrumentalist to become a 'one man orchestra'! The mix of rock, folk and other textures into what would later, much later, became the genre known as 'New Age'.

A number 1 album in countless territories. Has sold over 16 million copies around the world. Spawned any number of imitators and also helped to give the world the Virgin business empire (good thing or bad, discuss).

Quite an achievement.

Enderw24
10-27-2005, 03:27 PM
Menudo. Though I wonder how much an accomplishment it is when the "band" is formed by the producers and being a teenager almost means you're too old to still be in it.

Shoeless
10-27-2005, 03:30 PM
I may be wrong but wasn't Todd Rundgren still a teenager when he was in the Nazz?

Ms Macphisto
10-27-2005, 03:44 PM
U2 formed when Larry Mullen, then aged 14, posted a notice at his high school looking for people to be in a band. Bono (well, just plain old Paul Hewson at that point) and Adam Clayton, the two oldest members of the band, would have been 16 and The Edge (again, just Dave Evans then) would have been 15 at the time the band formed. Bono wrote the lyrics for the song "Out of Control" on his 18th birthday, and while Bono and Adam Clayton were 20 by the time their debut album Boy was released, The Edge and Larry Mullen were still teenagers.

SnakesCatLady
10-27-2005, 04:02 PM
I saw a kid play with Gregg Allman - his name was Derek Trucks, IIRC. He was maybe 14 or so, and an incredible guitar player.

Foolonthehill
10-27-2005, 05:24 PM
The Runaways, (Joan Jett, Lita Ford, et al), were all teenagers when they broke.
Eddie Cochrane, ('Summertime Blues'), and Ritchie Valens, ('La Bamba'), were teens.
The drummer on the first Santana album, (Santana), Michael Shreive, was 16.
About Winwood; I'd always heard that 'Gimme some lovin' was recorded when he was 17, and that 'I'm a Man' was recorded when he was 18. (Regardless, his voice kicks butt).

Meurglys
10-27-2005, 06:06 PM
The Small Faces were still teenagers when they had their first hit, 'Wotcha gonna do about it' in 1965.

WordMan
10-27-2005, 06:58 PM
I saw a kid play with Gregg Allman - his name was Derek Trucks, IIRC. He was maybe 14 or so, and an incredible guitar player.

well, just, wow.

sleeepy2
10-27-2005, 07:07 PM
The Australian band Silverchair broke big when the members were all between 14 and 16 (depending on the source). They're a bona fide rock band, writing their songs, playing their instruments, making it on their own, etc.

Larry Mudd
10-27-2005, 07:50 PM
Björk was eleven when her self-titled album was released. It wasn't exactly hard rockin' but it had a Beatles cover (Nowhere man) on it, so I guess it counts.

She was sixteen when she fronted Tappi Tíkarrass ("Cork the Bitch's Ass.") A little edgier than her earlier effort.

Remarkably, her voice has hardly changed at all from the way it was in that first recording.

Mister Rik
10-27-2005, 09:08 PM
I was told that Chris DeGarmo of Queensryche was 17 when the band recorded their self-titled debut EP.

waits
10-27-2005, 09:14 PM
Nils Lofgren was 17 when he did the piano part on Neil Young's "Southern Man." The story (from Shakey by Jimmy McDonough) is that Neil decided to test Nils by telling him he was going to play piano on a song the next day. Nils said, "I've never played piano in my life." Neil said, "Yeah, I know--but I want you to play piano." So Nils kept trying to come up with something and was just pounding on the keyboard when Neil said, "That's the solo."

Mister Rik
10-27-2005, 09:16 PM
Correction: DeGarmo formed Queensryche in 1981, when he was 17; their debut EP was released in 1981, when he was 19.



Note to self: check facts first, post second

Sam Stone
10-27-2005, 09:26 PM
Two excellent young guitarists:

Jonny Lang was only 15 years old when his first solo album Lie to Me (#44 on the Billboard chart, #1 on the blues chart) was released. He was the leader of the "Bad Medicine Band" when he was 12, and by the time he was 15 he had already released 3 albums!

Kenny Wayne Shepherd released Ledbetter Heights (#108 on the Billboard chart, #1 on the Blues chart) when he was 18.

John Carter of Mars
10-28-2005, 01:29 AM
You can start at the very beginning of it, with Elvis, Richie Valens, Etta James, on and on. Unless you wanna say Elvis ain't Rock 'n' Roll, in which case we have nothing further to discuss. ;)

Hunter Hawk
10-28-2005, 02:16 AM
More recently, how old were the guys in Modest Mouse when they started out?

Even more recently, Smoosh started out as pre-teens. (It's not great music, but it's fun. And how many people can boast that they've opened for Pearl Jam before hitting puberty?)

seosamh
10-28-2005, 05:43 AM
Helen Shapiro had a UK number 1 with "Walking Back To Happiness" in 1961 when she was just 14.

Omniscient
10-28-2005, 06:13 AM
The Beach Boys spanned the ages of 14 - 18 when they got started. It's safe to say they made a mark.

An Arky
10-28-2005, 06:45 AM
Paul Weller of The Jam was 18 when they were signed to Polydor; In The City and This Is The Modern World came out when he was 19.

Johnny Angel
10-28-2005, 07:19 AM
John Carter of Mars wrote:

You can start at the very beginning of it, with Elvis, Richie Valens, Etta James, on and on. Unless you wanna say Elvis ain't Rock 'n' Roll, in which case we have nothing further to discuss.

Well, if you're going to suggest that Rock 'n' Roll begins with Elvis, we need to have 'the talk.'

mouthbreather
10-28-2005, 08:08 AM
Good call on Modest Mouse, This is a long Drive for... came out when Brock was 17 and they had been together for 2-3 years at that point.

Most of Gomez was still in their late teens when they recorded Bring it On, which now that I've typed it out reminds me that I need to listen to it today. They've since left me a little flat with some of their stuff, but this album kills.

All of Eisely was in their teens and I think the youngest was 13 or 14 when they broke a couple years ago. They are not the best thing ever but considering where they are and their ages I think they show potential.

Caissa
10-28-2005, 09:09 AM
Randy California, the best guitarist you probably have never heard of, played with Jimmy James & The Blue Flames five sets a night, for three months, in Greenwich Village at the age of 15. Jimmy James was later known as Jimi Hendrix! Jimi invited Randy to come with him to England to start his solo career, but his parents wouldn't let him!

Randy California later formed Spirit, a killer band, and had some good solo records, as well. He died in '97 in Hawaii in a rip current, after pushing his son to safety.

John Carter of Mars
10-28-2005, 10:08 AM
Well, if you're going to suggest that Rock 'n' Roll begins with Elvis, we need to have 'the talk.'

No, but I don't know how old Billy Ward was when he made Sixty Minute Man.

Hey, It's That Guy!
10-28-2005, 10:21 AM
I believe Bright Eyes (aka Connor Oberst) wrote and recorded a few albums while still in high school, and he's only in his early 20s now. Someone may come along who knows better, but I was surprised by how good a songwriter and musician he was for such a young guy.

parthenokinesis
10-28-2005, 10:56 AM
I recently heard a radio interview with Charlie Sexton. When he was twelve he used to sneak into bars to watch his friend Stevie Ray Vaughn play. Stevie would invite him up on stage to play and then leave, letting little Charlie front Double Trouble. He joined Joe Ely's band at 13, and recorded with Keith Richards and Ron Wood at 15.

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