4. Paul Simon was a teen idol named Jerry Landis (1962)
Rhymin’ Simon got his start young, writing songs to sing with school-mate Art Garfunkel when they were just 13 years old. In 1957 they recorded his Everly Brothers-esque composition “Hey, Schoolgirl” under the name Tom & Jerry, which actually proved to be a small hit. In between English classes at Queens College, he worked as a songwriter, occasionally hawking his songs at the legendary Brill Building alongside the likes of Carole King.
He recorded a few of his tunes, occasionally under the various pseudonyms like Paul Kane and True Taylor. He recorded this then-topical track “The Lone Teen Ranger” as Jerry Landis. It may not quite hint at his future lyrical genius, but it certainly does showcase his ability to pen a catchy melody! You’ll be humming this one later, we guarantee it.
Check out his 1958 song ‘Lisa’ to catch the full Ricky Nelson effect. Good stuff.
3. Ronnie James Dio was a malt-shoppe crooner in Ronnie and the Redcaps (1961)
Years before becoming a metal god, Dio was known as Ronnie James Padavona, the bass player for rockabilly group the Vegas Kings in 1958. He took over singing duties in his next group, Ronnie and the Redcaps, stretching the vocal cords that would make him a legend. But he took the the fashionably poppy route, delivering a series of extremely catchy teen-friendly singles. Which is probably for the best; if he flashed the metal horns in ’62, he probably would have been burned as a witch or something.