I got flack for it in 1999 from my ‘serious’ music-loving friends and I’ll probably get flack for it again – but I’m owning it! Back in 1999, during the genesis of the new(est) wave of boy band hysteria, LFO’s (oy, that stands for Lyte Funkie Ones) “Summer Girls” left an indelible, deliciously cheesey mark on the TRL-saturated terrain of teen pop. Sure, it was lyrically stupid and sophomoric, but it read like any teenage boy’s stupid, sophomoric love letter to his girl. And it was one of my Top 10 Singles of that year.
Sadly, Rich Cronin – lead, uh, ‘singer’ – died earlier today at the age of 35 after being diagnosed with Acute Myelogenous Leukemia in 2005. Cronin – and LFO – never again reached the highs of “Summer Girls” (though came close with the Top 10 “Girl On TV” – the video starred Cronin’s then-girlfriend Jennifer Love Hewitt) – the monumental royal battle between the Backstreet Boys vs. ‘N Sync was too mighty for the minuscule armies who attempted to reach that hierarchy, where even the semi-successful ones (e.g. the gruesome 98°) were scoffed and decimated. Cronin did appear in the short-lived 2007 Vh1 reality show MISSION: MAN BAND, which consisted of other former teen-pop boy band members and chronicled their attempt at one last shot of superstardom.
Sadly, for Cronin, it never happened, though it was said he enjoyed the ride. I’m glad. RIP, Rich. And as for “Summer Girls”, thank you for that little piece of goopy heaven.