This song was originally a hit for early New York City-based rock and roll group Frankie Lymon & The Teenagers in February 1956. It reached No. 1 on the R&B chart, No. 6 on Billboard's Pop Singles chart, and number one on the UK Singles Chart. The song helped to make Frankie Lymon a household name and would make him a rock and roll pioneer. Canadian group "The Diamonds" also did a more traditional Doo Wop version that came out the week after Lymon's, in March 1956. This version spent 19 weeks on the Billboard charts, topping out at #12. The song was ranked #307 on the Rolling Stone magazine's list of The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. It was also named by Digital Dream Door as the Greatest Uptempo Doo Wop Song of All Time.
The official writers of the song has been a controversy that went through several court challenges, culminating in a Court of Appeals ruling in 1996 crediting Frankie Lymon and Morris Levy with the rights; the controversy was never really solved, however, as this ruling relied on the statute of limitations, as “The Teenagers” members Herman Santiago and Jimmy Merchant, who were claiming the rights, did not bring the case to court soon enough.