There are so many musicians that I have never heard of prior to writing about them. You have probably seen me write that before. But it never fails to be a relevant opener to many of the articles that I have written at any time. The main reason for that is that there’s just a lot of musicians that exists in any genre across the world. And I do not have the time to listen to each release made in the past century. That seems like a lot of effort for what is effectively a 700-word post about some random person.
Even though that happens alarmingly often, I still enjoy learning about artists that I wouldn’t normally know. I listen a lot more to Top 40 hits of the past few decades more than anything. But even then, I have curated my music library with songs and the artists and groups that I enjoy listening to. When you’ve found the thing that you enjoy, it’s sometimes hard to test out different sounds and different genres. I guess the articles that I write serve as a way for me to learn more about artists and to see how their careers have progressed.
You sort of know what’s coming next, right? It’s weird to write to an audience that I’m not really sure exists. Much less to one that has somehow managed to be a regular on this website. Especially in posts like these. Putting that aside, it’s often difficult to work on any kind of post if there isn’t a lot of information about a certain artist or group. I know that not a lot of them tend to talk about their life immediately after you ask them about it. Some artists would do that. But it’s expected that everybody would be forthcoming about their origins.
So the struggle that I face with is how I will be able to talk about their life while using the limited information I managed to find about them. I definitely found a way to do it. And you’re actually reading it right now. There’s really only so much you could write about before you run out of steam. How much of it can you really repeat before it gets tiring? But you have to push through until you are done.
A thing that I have noticed about some musicians is that they often grow up in a household that played or performed music. It’s definitely common among the ones that I have written about. It actually makes sense that having been exposed to music at a young age influences the career they want to take. This happens a lot with athletes too, to be honest. Some of them grew up playing the sport that they would eventually be their entire careers. It definitely starts just before puberty up until you graduate from high school. That’s usually how it goes.
In the case of Franke Previte, he grew up in the shadow of his namesake, opera singer Frank Previte in the city of New Brunswick, New Jersey. You never really would have expect that a kid who grew up with an opera singer for a father would choose to do anything but sing opera. I guess that’s understandable. It seems very hard to be an opera singer. Not everybody can have the voice for it. Franke did become a singer. Just not for the opera. He was a singer for the Oxford Watch Band and a heavy metal band called Bull Angus. The latter managed to get an album release in 1971.
Around the 1970s, Franke had a solo career. None of the music he did seem to be available anywhere. In 1980, he formed the band Franke and the Knockouts with Billy Elworthy, Blake Levinsohn, Leigh Foxx and Claude LeHenaff. If you listen to one of the tracks, you can definitely feel the decade it was made in. The song that I linked definitely screams the ’80s right in your face. The single from their debut album managed to reach the top spot of the Billboard Hot 100 in 1981 and a few other tracks made it to the top 20. Eventually the president of the label they signed to decided to dissolve the label. But the band managed to make one last album when they moved to MCA.
In 1986, Franke was contacted by Jimmy Ienner, the guy who dissolved the label, to produce some songs for a movie called Dirty Dancing. Yes, that Dirty Dancing. He managed to write two songs for the soundtrack, namely (I’ve Had) The Time Of My Life and Hungry Eyes. The latter was actually a demo he wrote that was meant for a comeback for The Knockouts. Still, he managed to win a Golden Globe and an Academy Award for writing to a very iconic song. It’s no wonder that he has a net worth of $15,000,000.