Ready to feel old? The first Kidz Bop album came out 17 years ago. Since 2001, Kidz Bop has released more than 37 albums of sanitized, kid-friendly, and kid-performed versions of mainstream pop songs.
And boy oh boy are we sad we ever tried. Turns out all five children that sang on the first album are now dead. And not like normal tragic deaths. We’re talking freaky-deaky, “maybe that first Kidz Bop album is cursed” kind of deaths.
But regardless of what horrifying truths we uncovered, we already promised our editor an article, so instead of heartwarming recollections from former child stars, here’s a somber rundown of five dead kids:
Zane Weinberg: 4/6/1989 – 9/11/2001: I know what you’re thinking. Yes, Zane was in downtown Manhattan on the morning of September 11th. And prior to recording his classic version of “Steal My Sunshine,” he did peruse some anti-American, terrorist propaganda online, but Zane thankfully was not involved in the September 11th attacks. His death was simply a run of the mill murder-suicide.
Zander Malley: 05/30/1987 – ???: Zander was one of the kids owned by the record label. Every major label has got a stable of kids that either grow up to be pop stars or mailroom flunkies. The prepubescent boy who charmed us with his recording of “All the Small Things” was last seen three years ago in Fort Lauderdale, serving as co-judge/emcee of one of those “Who’s Horniest?” competitions. He was eventually declared dead but no body was found. So kind of a win, right?
Maddy Tamlin: 10/28/1988 – 10/28/2008: It’s a funny story, or at least funny in the sense that it’s brief. Maddy got dead in a cardboard baler.
Agnes Tenenbaum: 10/12/1943 – 8/09/2012: I use the term “child” here loosely because Aggie was a spry 58 years young when she recorded her vocal tracks for “Bailamos.” Apparently it was a Milli Vanilli deal where they used the old bag’s voice but got a pre-teen to pose for all the promotional material. Ultimately Agnes’s death is less “supposed gypsy curse” and more “40 years of Cutty Sark and non-filters.”
Lumpy: 9/14/1986 – 2/11/2015: Every Kidz Bop recording session has got one absolute pinhead that all the other singers loathe. And that inaugural honor went to Lumpy. Anybody who met Lumpy was certain he would die in some dipshit manner like an M-80 misfire or a trash truck running over both his legs. But Lumpy proved the naysayers wrong by instead dying of cancer. That in of itself isn’t funny, but fuck Lumpy.
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Article by Patrick Coyne