The 1975 television drama Three for the Road, in which 13-year-old Leif Garrett played the son of a widower, lasted barely half a season. But that was long enough to jump-start his hot run as a '70s cover boy — and land him the No. 13 spot on TV Guide's 25 Greatest Teen Idols list.

Smitten teenyboppers deluged the androgynous blond with so much mail that he was offered a recording contract — despite his lack of musical training. Garrett ultimately sold millions of records like Feel the Need, performing concerts before fans so frenzied that, at one point, his manager insisted he ride in an armored car for his own safety.

"It was all so surreal," says Garrett, who's now 43 and still plugging away at his once glorious music career. "But I would do it over again."

For more memorable dish about TV's 25 Greatest Teen Idols, visit our special feature and pick up the Jan. 23 issue of TV Guide magazine.