The term "doo-wop" was clearly taken from the nonsense syllables sung
in harmony in doo-wop songs. There are two songs in particular which may lay
claim to being the "first" to contain the syllables "doo wop"
in the refrain. The 1955 hit, "When You Dance" by The Turbans, in
which the chant "doo wop" can be plainly heard; and the 1956 classic
"In the Still of the Nite (I Remember)" by The Five Satins, with the
plaintive "doo wop, doo wah" refrain in the bridge. It has been erroneously
reported that the phrase was coined by radio disc jockey Gus Gossert in the
late 1960s. However, Gossert himself has said that "doo-wop(p) was already
being used [before me] to categorize the music in California.". It became
the fashion in the 1990s to keep expanding the definition backward to take in
Rhythm & Blues groups from the mid-1960s and then further back to include
groups from the early 1960s and even the 1940s. There is no consensus as to
what constitutes a doo-wop song and many aficionados of R&B music dislike
the term intensely, preferring to use the term "group vocal harmony"
The style was at first characterized by upbeat harmony vocals that used nonsense
syllables from which the name of the style is derived. The name was later
extended to group harmony ballads. An example of this includes "Count
Every Star" (1950), as though imitating the plucking of a double bass,
created a template for later groups.
1951 was perhaps the year doo-wop broke into the mainstream in a consistent
manner. Hit songs included "My Reverie" by The Larks, "I Couldn't
Sleep a Wink Last Night" by The Mello-Moods, "Glory of Love"
by The Five Keys, "Shouldn't I Know" by The Cardinals and "It
Ain't the Meat" by The Swallows.
By 1953, doo-wop was extremely popular and disc jockey Alan Freed began introducing
black groups' music to his white audiences with great success. Groups included
The Spaniels, The Moonglows and The Flamingos, whose song, "Golden Teardrops,"
is a classic of the genre. Other groups, like The Castelles and The Penguins,
innovated new styles, most famously uptempo doo wop, established by The Crows'
1953 song, "Gee" and Cleftones' 1956 hit "Little Girl of Mine."
'56 was also the year that, Frankie Lymon & the Teenagers became a teen
pop sensation with songs like "Why Do Fools Fall in Love?". Many
consider the forementioned Five Satins hit, "In the Still of the Nite
(I Remember)", to be the quintessential doo-wop recording.
Doo-wop remained popular until the British Invasion in the early to mid 1960s.
Dion & the Belmonts' "I Wonder Why" (1958) was a major hit that
is sometimes regarded as the anthem for doo wop, while The Five Discs added
a wide range of sounds and pitched vocals.
1961 might have been the peak of doo-wop, with hits that include The Marcels'
"Blue Moon". There was a revival of the nonsense-syllable form of
doo-wop in the early 1960s, with popular records by The Marcels, The Rivingtons,
and Vito & the Salutations. A few years later, the genre had reached the
self-referential stage, with songs about the singers ("Mr. Bass Man")
and the songwriters ("Who Put the Bomp?" by Barry Mann)
The genre has seen mild surges throughout the years, with many radio shows
dedicated to doo-wop. It is said to have had its roots in the 1930s and 1940s
music, with groups like the Ink Spots and theMills Brothers. Its main artists
are concentrated in urban areas (New York City, Chicago, Philadelphia, Los
Angeles and others), with a few exceptions. Revival shows on TV and boxed
CD sets have kept people's interest in the music. Groups have done remakes
of doo-wops with great success over the years. Part of the regional beach
music or shag music scene, centered in the Carolinas and surrounding states,
includes both the original classic recordings and numerous re-makes over the
years. Other artists have had doo-wop or doo-wop-influnced hits in later years,
such as Billy Joel's 1983 hit, The Longest Time, Frank Zappa's 1981 song,
Fine Girl, or Electric Light Orchestra's 1977 smash "Telephone Line".
The last known doo-wop hit was "It's Alright" by Huey Lewis and
the News, which reached #4 on the U.S. Billboard charts in June 1993.
It has been noted that doo-wop groups tend to be named after birds. These
include The Ravens, The Cardinals, The Crows, The Wrens, The Robins, The Swallows,
The Larks, The Flamingos, The Penguins and The Feathers.
Doo-wop is popular among collegiate acappella groups due to its easy adaptation
to an all-vocal form.
The Ink Spots' "If I Didnt Care", the first hit for The Ink
Spots, a major influence on doo wop groups
The Flamingos' "Nobody Loves Me Like You", a popular doo wop song
composed by Sam Cooke, from the 1960 album "Requestfully Yours."
Now that you have
some history.....click Below for
the Doo-Wop songs of the day!