THE DeFRANCO FAMILY featuring Tony DeFranco
Heartbeat-It’s A Lovebeat b/w Sweet, Sweet Loretta
20th Century Records #TC 2030 Released 1973
They were Tiger Beat Magazine’s answer to the J5 and the Osmonds. An Italian-American Canadian family of brothers and sisters with little Tony as the Beaver.
I can remember distinctly every face in the bunch and when my sister bought this 45 she brought the DeFrancos into our household and into our lives forever. It’s a pretty ambitious teen pop tune with an eerie breakdown and some tom-tom magic on the drums courtesy of Hal Blaine. The verses are dark and in minor keys and then the breakthrough chorus is infectious and sunshine soaked.
I love that the label, 20th Century Records, made their home in a building at 8255 Sunset Boulevard just up the street from where I live. But in just a few years after this single, the label no longer existed and sadly, neither did the DeFrancos. Short-lived is too long a word to describe their arrival and departure from the teen idol world.
Musically more Osmonds than Jacksons, however, the b-side here is a knockoff of “Little Bitty Pretty One” which was a chart smash for Michael and his brothers just prior to this release. Upon relistening, I will say that Tony sounds pretty good! It's always a nice bonus when one of these 'idols' actually has some talent.