Born and raised in New Brunswick, New Jersey to Franke Previte Sr. (an opera singer), Previte was with the New Jersey rock quintet Franke and the Knockouts as the singer and songwriter. Previously he had sung with the Oxford Watch Band and the heavy metal band Bull Angus.
Franke and the Knockouts were signed by Millennium Records in 1981 and had three U.S. Top 40 singles, as well as two Top 50 albums. Their biggest single, "Sweetheart", was written by Previte and Knockout guitarist Billy Elworthy, and became a Top 10 hit in 1981. The group's other two Top 40 hits were "You're My Girl" and "Without You (Not Another Lonely Night)".
The band switched to MCA Records in 1984, and split up around 1986. Previte co-wrote music for the hit soundtrack for the 1987 movie Dirty Dancing, including "(I've Had) the Time of My Life," and Eric Carmen's hit "Hungry Eyes".
- Academy Award for Best Achievement in Music; Best Song for 1987 for Dirty Dancing's "(I've Had) The Time of My Life" with co-composers John DeNicola and Donald Markowitz.
That same year Previte also received a Golden Globe and a Grammy nomination. "(I've Had) The Time of My Life" also won the ASCAP song of the year award. In 2014, the song was chosen as one of ASCAP's top 100 songs ever written, landing at number 15.
Previte was chosen as one of America's top 25 songwriters to represent the US in a songwriter summit in the USSR.
Today, Previte helps raise money for the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network charity in Patrick Swayze's honor. He continues to raise money for the charity with his new band, The Brotherhood. "If you're a songwriter then you're in the Brotherhood,” said Previte.
- Franke Previte turned 70 and is having the ‘Time of his Life’ Read More: Franke Previte turned 70 and is having the 'Time of his Life'
- Stravelli, Gloria. "The right song at the right time in the right movie: Doors of Hollywood swung open for musician after 1987 Academy Award" Archived 2009-01-03 at the Wayback Machine, Atlanticville, April 11, 2002. Accessed May 12, 2008. "'There was always music at home,' Previte recalled about his boyhood in New Brunswick."