The Info List - Teen Idol

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A TEEN IDOL is a celebrity with a large teenage fan-base. Teen idols are generally young but not necessarily teenaged. Often teen idols are actors or musicians , like Ariana Grande and Niall Horan , but some sports figures also have an appeal to teenagers. Some teen idols began their careers as child actors , like Lindsay Lohan .

The idol's popularity may be limited to teens, or may extend to all age groups. Many teen idols are targeted for adults for nostalgia purposes.

There were teen idols before there were teen magazines , but idols have always been a permanent feature in magazines such as Seventeen , 16 magazine , Tiger Beat
Tiger Beat
and Right On! in the United States
United States
, and in similar magazines elsewhere. With the advent of television, teen idols were also promoted through programs such as American Bandstand , The Ed Sullivan Show , Soul Train
Soul Train
and in the UK Top of the Pops . Today's teen idols have spawned an entire industry of gossip magazines , television shows , YouTube
, and whole television channels such as E! .

Many American teen idols achieve "cross-over" success internationally; however, this list is not limited to American artists alone with some people such as German popstar Bill Kaulitz of the pop-rock band Tokio Hotel . In Asia, idols range from Japanese pop megastars Ayumi Hamasaki and Namie Amuro as well as Kana Nishino and Japanese music groups such as Momoiro Clover Z , Morning Musume
Morning Musume
, AKB48 , and Perfume and Johnny "> 1930 caricature of Rudy Vallée
Rudy Vallée

The first known person to have been treated as a teen idol was Franz Liszt , the Hungarian pianist who, in the 1840s, drew such a following among young women that the term " Lisztomania
" soon came to describe the phenomenon. The kind of idolizing following Liszt drew in Europe would not be followed for several decades. Geraldine Farrar , American opera singer, had a large following of young women nick-named "Gerry-flappers" in the early 20th century. Rudy Vallée
Rudy Vallée
, who became a major success in 1929 with hits like "Honey " and "Deep Night ", may have been the first American popular singer to have been idolised by hundreds of teen-aged girls at sold-out concerts. He was also possibly the first popular singer to have a star vehicle created for him: The Vagabond Lover . Frank Sinatra , whose early career is often linked to his appeal to bobby soxers , is also regarded as having been amongst the first teen idols.


The great success of young rock stars like Elvis Presley and Pat Boone , film stars like Marlon Brando
Marlon Brando
, Paul Newman
Paul Newman
, James Dean , Tab Hunter , and Sal Mineo in the 1950s, as well as the wider emergence of youth subcultures , led promoters to the deliberate creation of teen idols such as singers Frankie Avalon , Fabian Forte , Frankie Lymon
Frankie Lymon
, and Connie Stevens . Even crooners like Dean Martin
Dean Martin
and Frank Sinatra were still considered idols and rather handsome. Actors Edd Byrnes
Edd Byrnes
and Troy Donahue
Troy Donahue
and other artists deliberately cultivated a (safer) idol image, like Paul Anka
Paul Anka

Anka initially modelled himself on a particular generic type, the teen idol carried on the process ... of changing the image of male youth ... from wild to mild, by providing a cleaner, more wholesome image of masculinity than that of the previous era's rebellious rockabilly heroes .... —  Portable phonograph

Post-war teens were able to buy relatively inexpensive phonographs — including portable models that could be carried to friends' houses — and the new 45-rpm singles . Rock music played on 45s became the soundtrack to the 1960s as people bought what they heard on the radio. The great majority of the music being marketed to 1950s teens was being written by adults, but 1960s teens were increasingly appreciating and emulating artists closer to their own age, to teen fashion, and to lyrics which addressed their own concerns. Their parents worried about their attraction to artists (and DJs) who were edgy and rebellious. Faces on magazines fed fans; fans buy records, see films, watch TV and buy fashions.

Marketing of the teen idol generally focuses on the image.... The teen idol is structured to appeal to the pre-teen and young teen female pop audience member and children in general.... are commodified in forms and images that are relatively non-threatening to this young audience and to the ancillary market of parents... The teen idol never appears to be autonomous and therefore never appears to be threatening as an adult; he remains, as long as he is popular, perpetually childlike and dependent. —  Teen idols of the 1950s include Elvis Presley , Fabian Forte , Tommy Sands , and Ricky Nelson , as pictured

Some marketers turned to film and TV for fresh, attractive, 'safe' faces. Tommy Sands 's debut in a television film about the phenomenon, The Idol, made a teen idol out of Sands himself. Ricky Nelson
Ricky Nelson
, a performer of rockabilly music, also became a teen idol through his parents' television series, The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet . Some young TV stars were being hustled into studios to make recordings; for example, ex- Mousketeer Annette Funicello became one of the first big female idols as well as The Lennon Sisters whom had cut out dolls and were always on the covers of the gossip magazines; another, Johnny Crawford of The Rifleman , had five Top-40 hits. In 1963, Luke Halpin
Luke Halpin
made a big splash as a teen idol in the television program Flipper . After Bye Bye Birdie was released in 1963, Bobby Rydell became an instant teen idol.

In the 1960s as situation comedies and dramas on television using child actors became more popular, actors Paul Petersen
Paul Petersen
, Patty Petersen , and Shelley Fabares
Shelley Fabares
from The Donna Reed Show , Dwayne Hickman from The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis
The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis
, Sally Field
Sally Field
of Gidget , Jon Provost of Lassie , Jay North from Dennis the Menace , Billy Mumy of Lost in Space (and later of novelty group Barnes and Barnes ), Sajid Khan
Sajid Khan
of Maya , and Keith and Kevin Schultz known as the "Schultz Twins" on The Monroes all became younger preteen idols and grew into being teen idols.

Likewise, Tommy Steele
Tommy Steele
, the Beatles with Beatlemania , the Rolling Stones , and The Beach Boys were teen idols, especially during the earlier part of their careers, although they quickly grew out of that status. The Rolling Stones did it through a more rebellious image, the Beatles did it through their more developed (or "grown up") music. Similarly, Neil Sedaka had two distinct eras of his career, with about a decade in between: one as a teen idol in the 1960s, and a later career in adult contemporary music . From the family band the Cowsills , Susan Cowsill , John Cowsill and Barry Cowsill became teen idols and were on teen magazine covers for many years; the TV show The Partridge Family was written in their likeness. Many of the teen idols of the era were the sons of older, established stars; Dino, Desi with David Cassidy in particular enjoying immense international fame and success. Sherman was on hit TV shows Shindig! and Here Come the Brides among many others. Musical series such as Cassidy's The Partridge Family , the animated series The Archie Show , and (to a lesser extent) The Brady Bunch integrated television and teen-pop music to significant success during this time frame. The Brady Bunch's Barry Williams and Christopher Knight , as was tennis pro/actor Vincent Van Patten all were constantly in the fan magazines at the time. Actors Richard Thomas , Robby Benson , Peter Barton , Leif Garrett , Mark Lester , Jan-Michael Vincent , William Katt , and Jack Wild were the talk of the teenagers in the 1970s as well. Musicians
The Hudson Brothers were on many teen magazine covers for a number of years as teen idols. They had two shows on TV during the 1970s and recorded many albums.

One of the features of many teen idols is that their fans (and, in some cases, the musicians themselves) tend to develop a distaste for the music once they became adults, and it is not much listened to by adults, except for nostalgia: the legacy of bubblegum pop . Teen idol performers in this category would include Shaun Cassidy
Shaun Cassidy
, Leif Garrett , The Osmond Brothers (particularly Donny Osmond
Donny Osmond
and their teen idol sister Marie Osmond ), Andy Gibb , Tony DeFranco of The DeFranco Family , and The Bay City Rollers . Even modern classic hits and oldies outlets, which cover this time period, rarely play cuts from the teen idols of the era. A notable exception is Michael Jackson
Michael Jackson
of The Jackson Five , who began his career as a teen idol along with his brothers, but whose individual career eventually evolved far beyond the limitations of that description and into superstardom.

The Jackson Five were the first African-American music group to become national teen idols, appearing alongside white idols in magazines such as 16 and Tiger Beat.


In 1985 Actress Alyssa Milano from Who\'s The Boss became a major teen idol and was dubbed "The Teen Queen Of The 1980s. In the mid-1980s there was a group of young actors called The Brat Pack ; the whole group collectively and separately became teen idols. They were Emilio Estevez , Anthony Michael Hall , Rob Lowe , Andrew McCarthy , Demi Moore , Judd Nelson , Molly Ringwald , and Ally Sheedy
Ally Sheedy
. They starred in many coming of age films together in some fashion and became incredibly popular without being musicians.

Actors Corey Feldman
Corey Feldman
and Corey Haim also became teen idols during the later part of the 1980s with films The Goonies
The Goonies
and together The Lost Boys , Dream a Little dream and License to Drive
License to Drive
among other films. They were dubbed "the two Coreys". Before Corey Haim's death in 2010, they did a reality TV show for two seasons (2007–08) on A so had NKOTB by the mid-nineties. The other Boy Band
Boy Band
from Boston, New Edition was very popular with the teen set by the end of the 1980s as well.

The most popular singer of the 1980s was the Queen of Pop Madonna . With songs "Like a Prayer " and "Like a Virgin " in the '80s toplists throughout the decade. She became a teen idol through her music, and her unique fashion at the time.


The manufacturing of teen idols has been marketed more aggressively and with greater sophistication since the 1980s. The rise of MTV
in the 1980s and the success of the boy bands of the 1990s and 2000s has continued to fuel the phenomenon. Besides a combination of good, clean-cut looks and a ubiquitous marketing campaign, such bands typically include a variety of personality types (e.g. "the shy one", "the smart one", etc.) Classic examples of "boy bands" include Menudo , New Kids on the Block , Take That , Backstreet Boys , and \' NSYNC , all becoming the best selling pop groups of the decade. Hanson was initially marketed as such a band, but eventually outgrew this label to become a successful indie band. Female pop super star Mariah Carey , was very popular with teens in the 90s decade. Christina Aguilera
Christina Aguilera
, Jennifer Lopez , Mandy Moore
Mandy Moore
, Jessica Simpson , and Britney Spears
Britney Spears
, along with mega girl groups the Spice Girls and Destiny\'s Child , also became very popular at the end of the decade. Other notable examples from the 1990s are female R&B singers Aaliyah
, Monica , and Brandy . After Brandy 's television show Moesha
went on the air, it brought her many teen fans and she was always on the cover or in the teen magazines for many years. Also on Moesha
is where teen R "JTT" (as he would come to be known during this time), uncomfortable with his teen idol status, left the show (and, for the most part, the entire acting scene) one year shy of the show's last year on the air. Another major teen idol was Freddie Prinze, Jr. who skyrocketed to teen heartthrob status after starring in successful teen horror films.

The 1997 film Titanic made Leonardo DiCaprio a teen idol; during "Leo-Mania" his face appeared on many teen magazines. Other teen idols from TV were most of the cast of Saved by the Bell
Saved by the Bell
, Joshua Jackson and James Van Der Beek of Dawson\'s Creek , Ben Savage and Rider Strong
Rider Strong
of Boy Meets World , Joseph Gordon-Levitt of 3rd Rock From the Sun , Jonathan Brandis
Jonathan Brandis
of seaQuest DSV , Jared Leto
Jared Leto
of My So-Called Life , Joey Lawrence of Blossom (and to a lesser extent, Joey's brothers, Matthew and Andrew ), Jason Priestley
Jason Priestley
and Luke Perry of Beverly Hills, 90210 fame, and Erik Von Detten of various TGIF shows. These actors were often found on the covers and pages of teen magazines during the 1990s as teen idols as well. Sarah Michelle Gellar was a major teen idol in the late 90s, as a result of her lead role in the popular television series Buffy the Vampire Slayer . Fraternal twin sisters and TV actresses Ashley Olsen and Mary-Kate Olsen were major tween idols and as they grew up they later became teen idols during the 1990s. After the movie Clueless , Alicia Silverstone found herself a teen idol. The comedy duo of Kenan Thompson and Kel Mitchell were major teen idols in the 1990s, due to their fame on Nickelodeon
they were known for starring in the sketch comedy series All That , their own comedy sitcom Kenan max-width:278px"> Hilary Duff
Hilary Duff
(left) and Lindsay Lohan (right) were both popular teen idols in the early to mid 2000s.

The Walt Disney Company and its numerous outlets (e.g. Disney Channel , Radio Disney and Walt Disney Pictures ) have successfully developed a new generation of teen idols. In the early 2000s, the company developed the careers of actresses and singers Hilary Duff
Hilary Duff
and Lindsay Lohan , initially targeting youth and female teen audiences. While still teenagers, Duff became famous for her starring titular character in the Disney Channel teen sitcom Lizzie McGuire , and Lohan became famous for her starring roles in many successful teen movies , including Freaky Friday , Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen , Herbie: Fully Loaded , and Mean Girls . The success of this marketing led to further development of the genre, including new teen idols such as Demi Lovato , Raven-Symoné , Dylan and Cole Sprouse , Zac Efron , Jesse McCartney
Jesse McCartney
, Vanessa Hudgens , Ashley Tisdale
Ashley Tisdale
, Corbin Bleu , Miley Cyrus
Miley Cyrus
, the Jonas Brothers , and Selena Gomez
Selena Gomez
. Disney has also used the acquisition of ABC Family to develop shows and stars popular among teen girls. Another similar corporation, Nickelodeon
, began developing its own slate of stars for its television shows in 2004, including Drake Bell
Drake Bell
, Josh Peck
Josh Peck
, Emma Roberts
Emma Roberts
, Miranda Cosgrove , Jennette McCurdy
Jennette McCurdy
, Ariana Grande , Victoria Justice , and the group Big Time Rush , all of whom have not only starred in TV shows, but recorded songs as well. Of note is that many of the modern-day teen idols are females marketed as "role-models" to teen and tween girls, a departure from the traditional role of the male teen idol marketed as the idolized teen "heart-throb". The 2000s also saw many new teen idols emerge from popular feature films such as the casts of Harry Potter (e.g. Daniel Radcliffe , Rupert Grint , and Emma Watson
Emma Watson
) and The Twilight Saga (e.g. Robert Pattinson , Kristen Stewart , and Taylor Lautner ).

In 2002, Canadian singer Avril Lavigne
Avril Lavigne
dominated the music scene and eventually became a worldwide teen idol. Listed at #4 on Yahoo!'s Top 25 Teen Idols of all-time. Teen idols were also dominant in the R the younger generation will receive their entertainment and influence from the internet where as the older generations used traditional media such as music albums, movies, magazines, and television.

Disney Channel star Demi Lovato , YouTube
star Becky G
Becky G
, and X Factor alumni Little Mix
Little Mix
and Fifth Harmony
Fifth Harmony
have come to be teen idols. Ariana Grande was a popular teen actress in the early 2010s before gaining mainstream popularity as a singer and teen idol from the early-mid 2010s. Momoiro Clover Z is ranked as the most popular female "idol group " according to 2013-2015 surveys.

In Japan, more and more "idol groups " have appeared. In Japanese culture, persons called "idols" are media personalities in their teens and early twenties who are considered particularly attractive or cute and who will, for a period ranging from several months to a few years, regularly appear in the mass media, e.g. as singers for pop groups, bit-part actors, TV personalities, models in photo spreads published in magazines, advertisements, etc. One of the most successful groups is Momoiro Clover Z . Their performances incorporate elements of ballet, gymnastics, and action movies. During 2014, about 486,000 people attended their live concerts, which was the highest record of all female musicians in Japan. Momoiro Clover Z has been ranked as the most popular female idol group from 2013 to 2015.

Since their rise to fame in recent years, pop singer and YouTube sensation Justin Bieber
Justin Bieber
, country-pop musician Taylor Swift , boy band One Direction
One Direction
, and pop rock band 5 Seconds of Summer have become examples of modern-day mega teen idols who have achieved international success, known for their devoted teen female fans, and a very large tween fan base, as well as an adult fan base making them all international superstars as well as teen idols.


* K-Pop idol * Matinee idol
Matinee idol
* Sex symbol
Sex symbol
* Pin-up
* Celebrity
Worship Syndrome * Boy band
Boy band
* Girl group * Junior idol * Japanese idol * National Teen Idol


* ^ Jenner changed her name due to gender transition in 2015.


* ^ "Teen Idol". All Music Guide. Retrieved 2009-10-13. * ^ Unterberger, Richie. "Essay: Teen Idol". All Music Guide. Retrieved 2009-10-13. * ^ A B C Bogdanov, Vladimir; Chris Woodstra; Stephen Thomas Erlewine (2002). All music guide to rock: the definitive guide to rock, pop, and soul. Hal Leonard Corporation. pp. 1309–10. ISBN 0-87930-653-X . * ^ "TIME Asia: The Empress of Pop". Benny Labamba. 2002-03-25. Retrieved 2014-03-06. * ^ "Pictures of Menudo in General Pictures, Page 1". Teen Idols 4 You. Retrieved 2014-06-04. * ^ Leibovitz, Annie (June 1, 2015). "Introducing Caitlyn Jenner". Vanity Fair. Retrieved June 1, 2015. * ^ New York Times (April 23, 1922) p. 20 * ^ Rosenthal and Warrack (1979), p. 161 * ^ Jim Leach, Jeannette Sloniowski, Candid eyes: essays on Canadian documentaries. University of Toronto Press, 2003, pp.50–60.

* ^ A B P. David Marshall, Celebrity
and power: fame in contemporary culture. U of Minnesota Press, 1997 p.168ff. ISBN 0-8166-2725-8 * ^ Ricky Nelson
Ricky Nelson
interviewed on the Pop Chronicles
Pop Chronicles
(1969) * ^ O'Connor, Rob (2008-12-01). "The Top 25 Teen Idols Of All-Time List of the Day – Archives – Yahoo Music". New.music.yahoo.com. Retrieved 2014-06-04. * ^ "Then & Now: 10 Best Teen Idols of All Time". Fox News. 2009-01-01. Retrieved 2014-06-04. * ^ Mansour, David (2011). From Abba to Zoom: A Pop Culture Encyclopedia of the Late 20th Century. p. 241. ISBN 9780740793073 . * ^ "Teen Magazines, 1973". Stuck in the 70s. Retrieved 29 December 2014. * ^ "Teen Pop". All Music Guide. Retrieved 2009-10-13. * ^ " MTV
Teen Idol". Iomusic News. Archived from the original on January 16, 2008. Retrieved 2008-01-25. * ^ Winston, Sherri (1998-05-05). "Leomania / Like Sinatra, Elvis And The Beatles Before Him, The Young Star Of Titanic Is Turning The World Of Teen-age Girls Upside Down.". Sun-Sentinel. Retrieved 23 October 2015. * ^ https://www.yahoo.com/music/the-top-25-teen-idols-c1410558151225.html * ^ " Momoiro Clover Z dazzles audiences with shiny messages of hope".