The song was written by Robert B. Sherman and Richard M. Sherman, who went on to compose many songs and film scores for Walt Disney endeavors (e.g., The Parent Trap, Mary Poppins, The Jungle Book, Winnie the Pooh and the Honey Tree, and many more). Johnny Burnette’s recording of “You’re Sixteen” went to #8 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1960 and #3 in the U.K. in 1961. It was featured in the soundtrack of the 1973 film American Graffiti. Ringo Starr did a popular cover.
Musician, singer-songwriter Johnny Burnette was born John Joseph Burnette in Memphis in 1934. He had been in the music business since 1952 and was part of a group called Rock ‘N Roll Trio, which consisted of Johnny, his brother Dorsey on bass, and guitarist Paul Burlison. The group disbanded in 1957. Ricky Nelson recorded Burnette’s songs “Waitin’ In School,” “Believe What You Say,” “Just a Little Too Much,” and “It’s Late.” (The story is that Johnny and his brother Dorsey camped out in front of Nelson’s home to have him hear and record some of their songs. Nelson did.) In the early 1960s, Burnette had success as a singer, particularly with “Dreamin’” and “Sweet Sixteen.” He died in a boat accident in 1964.