The Dallas Morning News Mario Tarradell column

By | September 6, 2010

California Chronicle

Sept. 06–Back in 1977, teen idol Shaun Cassidy wrote a song called “Teen Dream,” one of the tracks on his second album, Born Late. “Caught in a hurricane,” he sang, “now we’re getting the scene/Baby, caught in a teen dream.”

Thirty-three years later that tune could be Justin Bieber’s anthem. Bieber, 16, is the latest teen dream. The Canadian sends a new generation of female pop music fans into a screaming frenzy while his face is plastered on posters, CD covers, T-shirts, coffee mugs, bracelets, an upcoming comic book and even fingernail decals. He’s inescapable, performing to a sold-out crowd last month at Verizon Theatre in Grand Prairie and on Twitter as he frequently sends messages to his adoring admirers. He’s about to write his memoirs, and there’s a biopic in the works. Discovered on YouTube and endorsed by R&B superstar Usher, Bieber is an idol for today’s technologically plugged-in teenagers.

But he’s hardly the first teen dream. The pop music landscape has made room for tons of young photogenic male singers hoping their croon will make the girls swoon. So let’s take a look at some of the teen dreams through the decades, their span of fame, their sound and what made them heartthrobs.

The span: 1997-2000 as a major-label act. Now they are a cool indie band.

The sound: Pure, unadulterated pop with plenty of nods to Jackson 5-era exuberance. Then, as the Hanson brothers matured, they became a groovy indie pop-rock outfit.

The swoon: The talent was the main attraction here, as the three siblings wrote all their material. Although in 1997 a then 12-year-old Zac Hanson had plenty of pre-teen allure. But even with “MMMBop,” the huge debut hit, you could hear the musicality that was to come.

The swan song: None yet. Hanson regularly records and releases discs on their own 3CG label, including the new Shout It Out.