Donald's Encyclopedia of Popular Music
There have been many teen idols, or heart- throbs, such as Frank Sinatra and Perry Como in earlier times, but the term usually describes the pop phenomenon of late '50s- -early '60s of good-looking teenage boys discovered on their front porches (especially in Philadelphia) and turned into stars. The apparent bursting of the rock'n'roll balloon (which turned out to be a lull, see Rock) left a vacuum filled by entrepreneurs who made stars out of not-very-promising material, often with the help of clean-cut Dick Clark and his Bandstand Matinee TV dance show (broadcast after school, like Howdy Doody for younger kids). The whole thing was exquisitely sent up by Stan Freberg, who had the kid saying, 'Who, me? But I can't sing', to which the entrepreneur replies, 'Believe me, kid, that don't matter' (quoted from memory). Girls who got the treatment incl. Sandra Dee (star of beach movies), Shelly Fabares (Nanette Fabray's niece; huge hit '62 with 'Johnny Angel'). Some of these (e.g. Frankie Avalon) had previous show business experience, but that didn't make them singers. There have been many teen idols since (Osmonds, David Cassidy, Jacksons etc) but some had talent, and in any case were no longer a phenomenon but a marketing category made possible by the baby boom and its prosperity (they bought pop records instead of bubblegum; but see Bubblegum: teen idols who didn't even exist). Heart-throb groups became common: New Kids On The Block, Boyzone, Spice Girls; see Take That.