Franke Previte was born in New Brunswick, N.J. His father was an opera singer and was Franke's first musical inspiration. Franke’s first album was released in 1971 with a metal band call Bull Angus on Mercury Records. The band toured with Rod Stewart and the Faces, Deep Purple, and Fleetwood Mac, and also played the three-day Pocono Mountain Festival with such notable groups as Emerson, Lake and Palmer, Humble Pie, Three Dog Night, and many more.
In the late ‘70s, Franke signed with Buddha Records, where he was produced in a more R&B direction by Grammy-winning producer Tony Camillo.
In the early ‘80s, Franke decided to combine his rock and R&B roots for some blue-eyed soul-style rock ‘n’ roll, and started Franke & the Knockouts. The band was signed to Millenium Records (RCA), and its first hit single, SWEETHEART, reached No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1981. YOU’RE MY GIRL and WITHOUT YOU (NOT ANOTHER LONELY NIGHT) quickly followed, topping the charts at #14 and #16 respectively.
When the president of the label, Jimmy Ienner, decided to close his label in 1985, Franke & the Knockout were sold to MCA, which released the band’s third and final album, Makin the Point.
Late in 1986, Franke was contacted by the same Jimmy Ienner to write a song for a little movie called DIRTY DANCING, and so the song (I’VE HAD) THE TIME OF MY LIFE was written. Franke’s other DIRTY DANCING hit, HUNGRY EYES, originally had been on Previte's demo reel as a new Franke & the Knockouts track while he was shopping for a new record deal for the band. “Hungry Eyes” found its home in DIRTY DANCING, and became Franke’s second smash hit for the film. The song “(I've) Had The Time Of My Life” earned Previte an Academy Award, a Golden Globe Award, and a Grammy nomination. What a year!
The honors continued with Franke being chosen as one of America’s top song writers to represent the USA in a “songwriters’ summit” in Moscow. Other attendees were Barry Mann, Mike Stoller (of Leiber & Stoller), Diane Warren, Desmond Child, and Cyndi Lauper, to name a few.
Franke continues to work on new projects such as the Broadway bound stage musical for Dirty Dancing, and is working hard on a cause close to his heart -- raising funds through his music for two pancreatic cancer charities in memory of his friend, Patrick Swayze.
Franke's portion of the new THE BEST OF FRANKE & THE KNOCKOUTS: SWEETHEART – ANNIVERSARY EDITION will go to the PANCREATIC CANCER ACTION NETWORK, whose spokesperson is Lisa Swayze, Patrick’s widow. Last year, Franke released the original demo recordings of “(I”ve Had) The Time of My Life” and other DIRTY DANCING songs to benefit the Patrick Swazye Pancreas Cancer Research Fund at Stanford.