Frankie Avalon Muscle Beach Party And Other Motion Picture Songs (MGM, released April 1964). While Mr. Avalon was and remains a class act -- perhaps the class act of his generation of teen idols -- this is probably the least interesting of any of the Beach Party vinyl.
The best thing going for this record is the cover, which of all the Beach Party-related releases comes closest to the “feel” of the way these films were actually promoted. The back cover (shown below) is a different story, looking as if the designer dragged something out of the files from 1958. In fact, staring at it one realizes why the Beatles seemed so screamingly fresh at the time.
As far as the vinyl itself, this is something you listen to once and then file away. Side one has Frankie singing well-intentioned but lightweight re-recordings of selected songs from both Beach Party and Muscle Beach Party. As demonstrated in the films themselves, Avalon’s strength was in big, fully orchestrated 50’s type pop ballads, not early 60’s upbeat electric guitar-based material, and that really shows here (things aren't helped by the comparatively rinky-dink arrangements). Side two consists of orchestrated covers of various, more ”traditional” numbers from other early 1960s films, and since it focuses on Avalon's core singing competencies is worth more listening time than side one.
This album was originally released in stereo (MGM - UAS 6371) and mono (MGM - UAL 3371). Liberty Records also released a "budget series" stereo reissue in 1981, catalog number LN-10193 (I've never seen one of these, which gives me the sense very few were printed). It has never been re-released on CD.
Availability: comparatively rare. Wasn’t originally a huge seller; the timing of the LP wasn’t great, it came out just when the British Invasion was really beginning to overwhelm the early 60s domestic teen idols (Fabian, Dion, Bobby Vee, etc.). However, even though it’s scarce the price has been held down by the fact it isn’t particularly popular in the collectible market for the reasons mentioned above (when it does appear, the stereo version of this record can easily be bought for $20-30). Copies occasionally appear on the web auction sites.
While Avalon did release a single in conjunction with the first film (which is covered on the "Annette's Beach Party" LP page), MGM didn't produce any from this album.