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A Birth of Rock & Roll 2

A YouTube History of Music

Doo Wop

Group & Last Name Index to Full History:

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Tracks are listed in chronological order by year, then alphabetically.

Listings do not reflect proper order by month or day: later oft precedes earlier.

Not on this page? See history tree below.

     

Alphabetical

The Alley Cats    The Aquatones    The Astors

 
The Bachelors    Hank Ballard    The Beale Street Boys    The Belmonts    The Blenders (1949)    The Blenders (1962)    The Blue Chips    The Blue Notes    The Bobbettes    The Brown Dots
 
The Cadillacs    The Calvanes    The Cardinals    The Castelles    Larry Chance    The Chantels    The Chaperones    The Charms    The Charts    The Checkers    The Chiffons    The Chips    The Cleftones    The Clovers    The Coasters    Brice Coefield    The Contours    The Corvairs    The Crests    The Crows    The Cruisers    The Crystals
 
Bobby Day    The Dells    The Del Satins    Delta Rhythm Boys    The Del Vikings    The Diablos    The Dialtones    The Diamonds    Dion DiMucci    The Dominoes    The Dreamers    Donnie & the Dreamers    The Drifters    The Dubs    The Du-Droppers    The Duprees
 
The Earls    The Edsels    The El Dorados    The Elegants    The Equadors    The Eternals
 
The Falcons    The Fascinations    The Fascinations (Jordan &)    The Fascinators    The Fiestas    The Fi-Tones    The Five Blue Notes    The Five Discs    The Five Jets    The Five Keys    The 5 Royales    The Five Satins    The Five Willows    The Flames    The Flamingos    The Four Bars    The Four Tops    The Four Tunes    Norman Fox    Harvey Fuqua
 
The G-Clefs
 
The Harptones    The Heartbeats
 
The Impacts    The Impalas    The Imperials    The Impressions    The Ink Spots    The Isley Brothers
 
The Jesters    The Jive Five    Jordan & the Fascinations
 
The Kodaks    Chip Kopaczewski
 
The Lamplighters    The Linc-Tones    Little Anthony    Frankie Lymon    Louie Lymon
 
Johnny Maestro   The Marcels    The Marvelettes     Harold Melvin    The Mello-Kings    The Midnighters    The Mills Brothers    The Miracles    The Monotones    The Moonglows    The Mystics
 
The O'Jays    The Orioles
 
The Penguins    The Platters
 
The Quin-Tones (Quinns)
 
The Radiants    The Ravens   The Regents    Martha Reeves    The Rivileers     The Robins    Smokey Robinson    The Rob Roys    The Ronettes
 
The Schoolboys   The Shells    The Shields    The Shirelles    The Silhouettes    The Skyliners    The Slades    The Solitaires    The Spaniels    Billy Storm    Nolan Strong    The Students    The Supremes
 
The Teenagers    The Teenchords    The Temptations    The Tokens    Tom and Jerry    The Tonettes    The Turbans
 
The Valentines   The Vandellas    The Velours    The Velvet Angels
 
Billy Ward    The Willows    The Wrens

 

Chronological

Featured on this page loosely in order of first recording if not record release (as possible).

Names are alphabetical, not chronological, per year:

 

1931

The Mills Brothers

   
1935 The Ink Spots
   
1940 Delta Rhythm Boys
   
1945 The Brown Dots
   
1946 The Ravens
   
1948 The Beale Street Boys    The Four Tunes    The Orioles
   
1949 The Blenders    The Clovers    Bobby Day & the Flames    The Robins
   
1951 The 5 Royales    The Cardinals    Billy Ward & the Dominoes    The Five Keys
   
1952 The Checkers    The Diamonds    The Du-Droppers
   
1953 The Bachelors    Hank Ballard & the Midnighters    The Castelles    The Charms    The Crows    The Drifters    The Five Blue Notes    The Five Jets    The (Five) Willows    The Flamingos    Harvey Fuqua   The Harptones     The Lamplighters    The Moonglows    The Platters    The Spaniels
   
1954 The Cadillacs    The Calvanes    The Dells    The El Dorados    The Four Bars    The Penguins    The Rivileers    The Solitaires    Nolan Strong & the Diablos    The Valentines    The Wrens
   
1955 Brice Coefield    The Fi-Tones    The Heartbeats    Billy Storm    The Turbans
   
1956 The Chips    The Cleftones    The Coasters    The Dubs    The Falcons   The Five Satins    The Four Tops    The G-Clefs    Harold & the Blue Notes    The Linc-Tones    Frankie & the Teenagers    Louie & the Teenchords    The Quin-Tones (Quinns)    The Velours
   
1957 Dion & the Belmonts    The Bobbettes    The Chantels    The Charts    Johnny Maestro & the Crests    The Del Vikings    The Isley Brothers    The Jesters    The Kodaks    The Mello-Kings    The Monotones    Norman Fox & the Rob Roys   The Schoolboys    The Shells    The Silhouettes    The Slades    Tom and Jerry    The Tonettes
   
1958 The Aquatones    The Edsels    The Elegants    The Equadors    The Fascinators    The Fiestas    The Five Discs    The Impalas    Little Anthony & the Imperials    The Impressions    Smokey Robinson & the Miracles    The Shields    The Shirelles    The Skyliners    The Students
   
1959 The Chaperones    The Eternals    The Impacts    The Mystics    The Radiants
   
1960 The Chiffons    The Cruisers    The Dialtones    The Dreamers    Jordan & the Fascinations    The O'Jays
   
1961 The Astors    The Blue Chips    The Contours    The Crystals    The Del Satins    Donnie & the Dreamers    Larry Chance & the Earls    The Jive Five    The Marcels    The Marvelettes    The Regents    The Supremes    The Temptations    The Tokens
   
1962 The Alley Cats    The Blenders    The Corvairs    The Duprees    The Fascinations    The Ronettes    Martha & the Vandellas
   
1963 Chip Kopaczewski
   
1964 The Velvet Angels

 

  The significance of doo wop to rock n roll is reflected in the length of this page. Doo wop is a subcategory of rhythm and blues preceding soul music which deep roots return to "barbershop" harmony that began to become popular at the verge of the 20th century. It would in little time grow limbs such as beach rock and Motown (Detroit branch of what was predominantly centered in the boroughs of New York City). Barbershop harmony had arisen in the latter 19th century via the custom in black communities of using barbershops as social gathering hubs. While waiting to get their hair cut black men often sang folk, spiritual and popular music. Formally called a cappella, among the distinguishing features of doo wop is the use of nonsense syllables in rhythmic support of melody (which in jazz often became the melody itself, known as scat singing). Among the earliest uses of the phrase "doo wop" is by The Drifters, below, in 1953 (although the tune wasn't released until 1960). The Dundees (members of which would later become the Calvanes) use the term in 1954. The Turbans use the term in 1955. The Velvets use "doo wop" in 1961, during which decade disc jockeys began to commonly refer to doo wop as doo wop. Early uses of the phrase "doo wop" in doo wop music:

The Dundees   1954

   Never

The Turbans   1955

   When You Dance

The Fi-Tones   1956

   I Belong to You

The Drifters   1960

   Let the Boogie Woogie Roll

      Recorded 1953

The Velvets   1961

   Tonight Could Be the Night

 

 
  The use of nonsense syllables in vocal harmony long preceded doo wop. It was 1931 when the Mills Brothers first recorded their version of the barbershop quartet ('Tiger Rag'). Their parents actually owned a barbershop and first christened the group The Four Kings of Harmony. The brothers were Donald (lead tenor), Harry (baritone), Herbert (tenor) and John Jr. (guitar and bass vocal). Barbershop harmony was in its heyday during the first two decades of the 20th century, largely fading away during the Roaring Twenties. The Mills Brothers were thus rather something of barbershop music revivalists who gave it a whole new swing while making a cappella harmony very popular. The group appeared in its first film, 'The Big Broadcast', in 1932. In 1934 they played for King George V and Queen Mary in England, becoming popular not long after on the Continent as well. The Mills Brothers recorded into the seventies, their last song to place in the Top Forty being 'Cab Driver' in 1968 at No. 23 in the United States. They continued in various configurations upon the death of John Jr. in 1936 of pneumonia. Harry died in 1982, Herbert in 1989, and Donald in 1999 of pneumonia. Donald's last recording had been 'Still...There's You' in November that year. The group continued for a time with Donald's son, John II, they no longer touring as of this writing.

The Mills Brothers   1931

   Tiger Rag

   Nobody's Sweetheart

The Mills Brothers   1932

   Goodbye, Blues

The Mills Brothers   1934

   How'm I Doin', Hey, Hey

      Filmed live

   Some of These Days

   Nagasaki

The Mills Brothers   1943

   Paper Doll

   Sweet Lucy Brown

      Filmed live     

The Mills Brothers   1944

   'Til Then

The Mills Brothers   1950

   Mr. Sandman

The Mills Brothers   1957

   Glow Worm

      Filmed live

The Mills Brothers   1964

   Dream a Little Dream of Me

The Mills Brothers   1981

   Cab Driver

   Nevertheless

      Filmed live

 

Birth of Rock & Roll: Doo Wop: The Mills Brothers

The Mills Brothers

Source: Three Perfect Minutes

 

Long before anyone had any notion of rock and roll the Ink Spots were performing music that would develop into the doo wop limb of R&B that gave rise to rock and roll. Originally consisting of Orville Jones, Ivory Watson, Jerry Daniels and Charlie Fuqua, the Ink Spots made their first recordings in 1935 with 'Mama Don't Allow It' and 'Swingin' On the Strings'. Daniels was replaced as lead tenor in 1936 by Bill Kenny, with whom the group would experience its heydays. Beginning with 'We Three' in 1940, the Ink Spots managed to place 18 songs in the Top Ten before 1950. Other nonoriginal configurations of the Ink Spots arose, but the group Kenny led dissolved after its final performance at the Bolero Bar in Wildwood New Jersey, in July of 1954. The Ink Spots with Bill Kenny were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as an influence in 1989. Their 1939 issue of 'If I Didn't Care' was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame the same year. They were elected into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 1999.

The Ink Spots   1935

   Mama Don't Allow It

   Swingin' On the Strings

The Ink Spots   1939

   If I Didn't Care

    Film

The Ink Spots   1940

   The Java Jive

   Maybe

The Ink Spots   1941

   I Don't Want to Set the World On Fire

The Ink Spots   1942

   Shout Brother Shout

The Ink Spots   1955

   Shanty Town

The Ink Spots   1956

   It's a Sin to Tell a Lie

 

Birth of Rock & Roll: Doo Wop: The Ink Spots

The Ink Spots

Source: TV Tropes

Birth of Rock & Roll: Doo Wop: Delta Rhythm Boys

Delta Rhythm Boys

Source: Singers

Another swing era vocal group predating but contributing to the rise of doo wop was the Delta Rhythm Boys, first recording in 1940. Consisting of Otha Lee Gaines (bass vocals), Essie Adkins (bass vocals), Traverse Crawford (second tenor) and Elmaurice Miller (first tenor), the group first came together in 1934 at Langston University in Oklahoma. In 1936 they moved to New Orleans to attend Dillard University. They there picked up arranger and pianist, Rene DeKnight, to make the quartet a quintet. Other personnel changes were made such that at the time of the group's first recording it consisted of DeKnight, Gaines and Crawford, with Adkins and Miller replaced by Harry Lewis and Clinton Holland. The Boys' initial record release was 'Chilly & Cold' b/w 'Gimme Some Skin'. Becoming highly popular in Europe upon their first tour there in 1948, the group migrated across the Atlantic in 1956 and would later make Paris home base. The Delta Rhythm Boys performed well into the eighties with various personnel changes, Gaines the only original member of the group upon his retirement in 1986 and death the following year.

Delta Rhythm Boys   1940

   Chilly and Cold

Delta Rhythm Boys   1941

   Dry Bones

   I'm Afraid of Myself

      With Mildred Bailey

Delta Rhythm Boys   1945

   Baby, Are You Kiddin'?

      With Jimmie Lunceford

   The Honeydripper

       With Jimmie Lunceford

   It's Only a Paper Moon

      With Ella Fitzgerald

Delta Rhythm Boys   1951

   Flickorna i Småland (The Girls In Smoland)

Delta Rhythm Boys   1952

   Take The 'A' Train

       Film

   Tuoll' on mun kultani (Tuoll Is My Sweetheart)

Delta Rhythm Boys   1958

   Alouette (Lark)

Delta Rhythm Boys   1959

   Joshua Fit the Battle of Jericho

      Television performance

 

 
  Like the Ink Spots, the Brown Dots  preceded doo wop but made a major contribution to its development. They were formed upon Ivory "Deeks" Watson leaving the Ink Spots in 1944. Other members: Pat Best (baritone and guitar), Jimmy Gordon and Joe King. 'Sentimental Reasons' (unfound) was among the four songs the Brown Dots recorded at their first session for Manor Records in 1945. King was replaced by Jimmie Nabbie later in the year. In 1946 the Sentimentalists were formed upon Best, Gordon and Nabbie severing from Watson. The Sentimentalists would record with Savannah Churchill before changing their name to the Four Tunes (or 4 Tunes) later that year. As for Watson, he put a new Brown Dots together, continuing to record, and also joined other configurations of the Ink Spots while fading into obscurity. Watson died in 1969 in Washington DC.

The Brown Dots   1945

   Let's Give Love Another Chance

   You're Heaven Sent

The Brown Dots   1946

   Satchelmouth Baby

    Film: 'Boy, What A Girl'

The Brown Dots   1947

   Is It Right

      Film: 'The Sepia Cinderella'

   Long Legged Lizzie

      Film: 'The Sepia Cinderella'

 

 

Birth of Rock & Roll: Doo Wop: The Brown Dots

The Brown Dots

Source: All Music

 Birth of Rock & Roll: Doo Wop: The Ravens

The Ravens

Source: Homoerratic Radio Show

The basic structure of the doo wop group was a lead, two tenors and a baritone. Jimmy Ricks, however, had one of the deepest bass voices in music, which proved to be an advantage to the Ravens which first recorded in 1946 and became one of the earliest doo wop groups. In addition to Ricks, the Ravens fundamentally consisted of Malthe Marshall (replacing Henry Jones), Warren Suttles and Leonard Puzey. Of six tracks recorded in June of '46 'Honey' and 'Lullaby' were the first to be released by Hub Records. The group changed personnel a bit through the years, until finally dismantling in 1958. They had attained the No. 4 position on the R&B chart in 1952 for 'Rock Me All Night Long', not again to notably chart. The Ravens were inducted into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 1998.

The Ravens   1946

   Bye Bye Baby

The Ravens   1947

   Mahzel

The Ravens   1949

   Someday

The Ravens   1950

   I'm So Crazy For Love/My Baby's Gone

The Ravens   1953

   Come A Little Bit Closer/She's Got To Go

   Looking for My Baby/Begin the Beguine

   Who'll Be The Fool/Rough Ridin'

The Ravens   1954

   Going Home

The Ravens   1955

   Green Eyes

 

 
  The Beale Street Boys, named after the early blues and jug band hub in Memphis, released their first 1947 recording in 1948: 'Teach Me Teach Me, Baby' with 'Why Does It Always Rain On Sunday?' flip side. The Beale Street Boys consisted of Bob Davis (lead), William Barnes (tenor), James Pugh (baritone) and David Pugh (bass).

Beale Street Boys   1948

   Teach Me Teach Me, Baby

   Home

   I've Kept Everything the Same For You

   I Wish I Had a Dime

   Wait'll I Get You In My Dreams Tonight

   Wedding Bells

Beale Street Boys   1949

   Back Alley Blues

 

Birth of Rock & Roll: Doo Wop: Beale Street Boys

The Beale Street Boys

Source: Vocal Group Harmony

  When Joe King, Pat Best and Jimmy Gordon left the Brown Dots they got together with Danny Owens to form the Sentimentalists in 1946. Jimmie Nabbie replaced King later that year. They recorded that year for the Manor label, backind Savannah Churchill's recording of 'I Want to Be Loved'. Briefly afterward they changed their name to the Four Tunes upon request by swing band leader Tommy Dorsey, known as 'The Sentimental Gentleman Of Swing', thinking the Sentimentalists might rival his banner. Such presented no problem, so that the group began backing Churchill in 1948 as the Four Tunes. Notable in 1953 was 'Marie' rising to No. 2 on the R&B chart. 'I Understand (Just How You Feel)' attained to No. 6 on Billboard's pop chart the next year. The early fifties were the heydays for the 4 Tunes, though Nabbie would lead the group until 1963, various configurations continuing over the following decades. The Four Tunes were inducted into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 2004.

The Four Tunes   1948

   Time Out For Tears

     Backing Savannah Churchill

The Four Tunes   1949

   Careless Love

   You're Heartless

The Four Tunes   1950

   Carry Me Back To The Lone Prairie

The Four Tunes   1951

   I Don't Believe In Tomorrow

    Backing Savannah Churchill

The Four Tunes   1953

   I Gambled With Love

   Marie

The Four Tunes   1954

   Sugar Lump

The Four Tunes   1955

   Three Little Chickens

 

Birth of Rock & Roll: Doo Wop: The Four Tunes

The Four Tunes   1964

Source: Marv Goldberg

 

In 1948 the Orioles, released their first recording, 'It's Too Soon to Know', written by Deborah Chessler, their manager, They didn't dally about getting popular, as that charted at No. 1. The Orioles consisted of Sonny Til (lead tenor), Alexander Sharp (high tenor), George Nelson (baritone), Johnny Reed (bass vocals and double bass)and Tommy Gaither (guitar). The group began dropping away after Carroll replaced Nelson in 1953. 'Crying in the Chapel' hung around at No. 1 on the R&B chart for five weeks afterward that year, but the fundamental Orioles had made their run and gone past tense by the time their manager, Chessler, left in February of 1955. Further configurations arose into the new millennium, but by then the group had long since an oldies attraction.

The Orioles   1948

   It's Too Soon To Know

The Orioles   1949

   Crying In the Chapel

   It's Too Soon To Know

The Orioles   1950

   Walking By The River

The Orioles   1953

   Don't You Think I Ought to Know

The Orioles   1956

   Happy 'Till the Letter

The Orioles   1959

   Crying In the Chapel

The Orioles   1962

   Sincerely

 

Birth of Rock & Roll: Doo Wop: The Orioles

The Orioles

Source: Brian Lee's Colorradio

 

Birth of Rock & Roll: Doo Wop: The Blenders

The Blenders

Source: Discogs

Among the earliest doo wop groups (not to be confused with the much later Chicago Blenders) was the Blenders. A New York City group, they made their professional debut in 1949. Their first four milk shakes were 'I Can Dream, Can't I', 'Why Is It You', 'Come Back Baby Blues' and 'Why Does A Good Man Get Kicked Around'. The group consisted of Ollie Jones, James DeLoach, Tommy Adams and Abel DeCosta. The Blenders took on some stiff competition in the fifties when Hamilton Beach was appearing at 5 & 10s, Woolworths and soda fountains everywhere throughout the nation. But that didn't ruffle the Blenders. They mixed right back with 'Don't Play Around With Love' in 1953. They did an alternate take of that called 'Don't Fuck Around With Love', telling Hamilton Beach to get out of town. The latter replied "So what" and stirred on everywhere just as before. Hamilton Beach proved the big dog and the Blenders were unplugged in 1954, disbanding that year.

The Blenders   1949

   I Can Dream, Can't I

The Blenders   1951

   Busiest Corner In My Hometown

   All I Gotta Do Is Think Of You

   My Heart Will Never Forget

The Blenders   1952

   I'd Be A Fool Again/Just A Little Walk With Me

The Blenders   1953

   Don't Fuck Around With Love

   Don't Play Around With Love

 

 

Birth of Rock & Roll: Doo Wop: The Clovers

The Clovers

Source: Custom Rodder

 

The Clovers were first formed in 1946, a trio until a quartet was formed called the Four Clovers. The Clovers released 'Yes Sir, That's My Baby'/'When You Come Back to Me' on Rainbow Records in 1950. The group consisted of Harold Lucas, Matthew McQuater, Harold Winley and John Bailey at that time, but would start experiencing personnel changes in 1951. They were yet the above-mentioned configuration upon releasing 'Don't You Know I Love You' and 'Fool, Fool, Fool' in 1951, both topping the charts at No. 1. The group, now altered, repeated that success in 1952 with 'Ting-A-Ling'. The Clover's placed numerous songs in the Top Ten, their last in 1956 at No. 4 on Billboard's R&B: 'Love, Love, Love'. Their last to chart in the Top Thirty was 'Love Potion #9' in 1959 at No. 23. They continued strong through the sixties despite continuous personnel changes, but by the seventies the Clovers had become past tense. New configurations of the group continued into the nineties to perform the oldies circuit, but as death began a continual claim to the group's members it was eventually abandoned altogether.

The Clovers  1950

   When You Come Back to Me

   Yes Sir, That's My Baby

The Clovers  1951

   Fool, Fool, Fool

    Television performance 

The Clovers  1952

   One Mint Julip

The Clovers  1954

   Little Mama

    Filmed live 

   Lovey Dovey

    Filmed live 

The Clovers  1959

   Love Potion No. 9

 

 

Birth of Rock & Roll: Doo Wop: Bobby Day

Bobby Day

Bobby Day (Robert Byrd) was born in Fort Worth Texas, in 1930. In 1945 he headed for Los Angeles, changed his name from Byrd to Day in 1957, then formed the (Hollywood) Flames In 1949. The group's first gig was at the Barrelhouse Club, owned by Johnny Otis, where the Robins were formed about the same time. The Flames' first single was 'Young Girl', recorded in January of 1950. The Flames recorded under various names (such as the Hollywood Four Flames) for several years, and Day was very popular locally. But he didn't arrive to substantial national recognition until reforming the Flames into the Satellites and recording 'Rockin' Robin' in 1958 (a less successful version released the year before by the Valiants, another doo-wop group). Day was also part of the duo called Bob and Earl with Earl Nelson in the early sixties. (He was replaced by Bob Relf with whom the Bob and Earl duo released 'Harlem Shuffle' in 1963.) Day's biography with that of the Flames during the sixties is as complex as it is missing. Suffice it to say that Day released numerous recordings for several labels in various capacities, not again to achieve his earlier success with 'Rockin' Robin'. The Flames, having been through multiple names and personnel changes, last recorded in 1965 and was disbanded by 1967. Day toured Australia and New Zealand, thought in the latter sixties, returning to Florida in the States perhaps in the early seventies. After a time he returned to Los Angeles, soon becoming an oldies attraction. Day toured the United Kingdom in 1989, the year before his death of cancer in July 1990.

Bobby Day   1953

   Pretty Little Girl Next Door

      With the Hollywood Flames

   Tears Keep Tumbling Down

      With the Hollywood Flames

Bobby Day   1958

   Rockin' Robin

      With the Satellites

Bobby Day   1959

   Unchained Melody

       With the Satellites

 

 

Birth of Rock & Roll: Doo Wop: The Robins

The Robins

Source: Lara Petersson Music

The Robins was a doo wop group that came together at the Barrelhouse Club owned by Johnny Otis in Los Angeles, the same place that Bobby Day formed the Flames about the same time. Original members consisting of Bobby Nunn, Terrell Leonard, Billy Richard and Roy Richard, the Robins had first recorded as the Bluebirds in 1949. They did one side for the Excelsior label: 'My Baby Done Told Me'. They released 'Around About Midnight'/'You Sure Look Good To Me' the same year, followed by 'Don't Like the Way You're Doing'/'Come Back Baby'. The Robins were reconfigured as the Coasters in 1956. As usual, the tracks below are in alphabetical sequence by year, not ordered by date.

The Robins   1949

   Around About Midnight

   Come Back Baby

   Don't Like The Way You're Doing

   You Sure Look Good To Me

The Robins   1954

   Loop De Loop Mambo/Framed

   Riot In Cell Block #9

The Robins   1959

   It's Never Too Late

The Robins   1961

   How Many More Times

   Magic Of A Dream

   White Cliffs Of Dover

 

 

Birth of Rock & Roll: Doo Wop: The 5 Royales

The 5 Royales

Source: Blues & Rhythm

The 5 Royales were originally a gospel group, formed in 1942, called the Royal Sons Quintet. In 1951 they won a contract with Apollo Records to make their first recording, 'Bedside Of A Neighbor' with 'Journey's End' flipside. Apollo didn't release it, however, because the Royal Sons planned to pursue secular music the same year, changing their name to the Royals. Their first release by that name was 'Too Much Of A Little Bit' with 'Give Me One More Chance', below. To avoid confusion with other bands called the Royals they changed their name to the 5 Royales in 1952. Their first release by that name was 'You Know I Know' with 'Courage to Love'. The 5 Royales were perhaps best known for their tune, 'The Twist', later performed by Chubby Checker to much greater success. The 5 Royales fundamentally broke up in 1965, though configurations of small note continued into the seventies. The 5 Royales were elected into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as an early influence in 2015.

5 Royales  1951

   Give Me One More Chance

    As the Royals 

   Too Much Of A Little Bit

    As the Royals 

   You Know I Know

      Side A

   Courage to Love

      Side B

5 Royales  1954

   Devil with the Rest

5 Royales  1955

   Women About To Make Me Go Crazy

5 Royales  1956

   Right Around The Corner

5 Royales  1957

   Dedicated To The One I Love

   Think

   Thirty Second Lover

5 Royales  1958

   Tell the Truth

 

 
 

The Cardinals, among the major doo-wop groups, first formed in 1946 as the Mellotones. They changed their name to the Cardinals in 1950, the year they released 'Shouldn’t I Know', peaking at No. 7 on Billboard's R&B chart that year. The group began to go through personnel changes in 1951, before releasing 'The Door Is Still Open (To My Heart)' in 1953, again charting at No.7 on Billboard's R&B. The Cardinals performed in one configuration or another into the sixties, disappearing with not a few doo wop groups as the British Invasion proceeded to largely wipe out the genre.

The Cardinals   1951

   Shouldn't I Know

The Cardinals   1952

   Kiss Me Baby

   Wheel Of Fortune

The Cardinals   1955

   Come Back My Love

   Here Goes My Heart To You

   Offshore

The Cardinals   1956

   Choo-Choo

 

Birth of Rock & Roll: Doo Wop: The Cardinals

The Cardinals

Source: Last FM

 

Billy Ward and the Dominoes first recorded with 'Do Something For Me' in 1951. Billy Ward had been born in Savannah, Georgia, and had studied at Juilliard in New York. At first called the Ques, the original Dominoes consisted of Clyde McPhatter (lead tenor), Charlie White (tenor), Joe Lamont (baritone) and Bill Brown (bass). Ward was the group's arranger and pianist. 'Do Something For Me' took the No. 6 spot on Billboard in 1951. 'Sixty Minute Man' reached No. 1 later that year. The Dominoes also backed Little Esther Phillips that year on several tracks for Federal Records. Some think of it as the first rock n roll record for its demographics, the first time an R&B release sold to as many Caucasians as blacks. In 1953 Jackie Wilson replaced Clyde McPhatter as lead. In 1957 the Dominoes released their 12th and last single to crack the Top Ten on Billboard's U.S. R&B, 'Star Dust' at #5. That was fairly much the group's last hurrah, Jackie Wilson leaving later that year to shape a solo career. The Dominoes performed into the sixties before drifting apart. Ward died in February of 2002 in Inglewood, CA, before the Dominoes were elected into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 2006.

The Dominoes   1951

   Do Something For Me

   Sixty Minute Man

   The Deacon Moves In

      With Little Esther Phillips

   Heart to Heart

      With Little Esther Phillips

The Dominoes   1953

   Don't Leave Me This Way

      Lead: Clyde McPhatter

The Dominoes   1954

   Tenderly

The Dominoes   1955

   Learnin' the Blues

   Stop! You're Sending Me

   Take Me Back to Heaven

The Dominoes   1956

   St. Therese of the Roses

 

Birth of Rock & Roll: Doo Wop: Billy Ward and the Dominoes

The Dominoes

Source: OSML

 

The Five Keys released their first single, 'With a Broken Heart' b/w 'Too Late', in 1951. The Five Keys had originated as the Sentimental Four in 1945 in Newport News, Virginia. The Sentimental Four was a gospel quartet of two pairs of brothers, all yet in school: Rudy and Bernie West with Raphael and Ripley Ingram. Numerous personnel changes, however, were soon to occur. The Sentimental Four were rechristened the Five Keys upon their first performance as such at the Apollo Theater in August of '49 (Billie Holiday headlining). Apollo manager, Isaac Burton, decided upon the name upon a set of five skeleton keys falling to the floor. After the Keys' release of 'With s Broken Heart' in 1951 they issued 'The Glory of Love' the same year, to sit atop Billboard's R&B chart at No. 1. Maryland Pierce joined the group in 1954, he and Rudy the group's main lead singers. 1955 saw two Five Keys songs reach Billboard's #5 tier: 'Close Your Eyes' and 'Ling, Ting, Tong'. The Keys enjoyed a strong run into the sixties, collapsing into an oldies group a year or so after the Beatles first invaded. Doo wop had begun to fade in popularity in the sixties all by itself, but the British invasion put out its lights as a contemporary genre. The Five Keys variously reunited into the seventies before dropping out of sight altogether. Rudy West died in 1998. The group was inducted into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 2002. Maryland Pierce has yet been active performing well into the new millennium. Bernie West is thought to yet reside in Newport News, Virginia, where it all began, as of this writing.

The Five Keys   1951

   With a Broken Heart

The Five Keys   1956

   She's the Most

 

Birth of Rock & Roll: Doo Wop: The Five Keys

The Five Keys

Source: Last FM

 

Birth of Rock & Roll: Doo Wop: The Checkers

The Checkers

Source: Marv Goldberg

 

The Checkers first recorded in 1952. The group was formed by two ex members of the Dominoes, Charlie White and Bill Brown, and called the Checkers specifically to compete with the Dominoes. Beyond Brown and White, the original quintet consisted of Buddy Brewer, Irwin Williams and John Carnegie. The group's initial release for King Records in 1952, 'Flame In My Heart' b/w 'Oh, Oh, Oh Baby', didn't travel far. Nor did the rest of the Checkers' recordings, they no match for the Dominoes. In 1953 White dropped out of the group. It then disbanded in 1955. Although King Records continued releasing earlier material for years to come their was to be no reawakening of the Checkers.

The Checkers   1952

   Flame In My Heart

   My Prayer Tonight

   Oh, Oh, Oh Baby

The Checkers   1953

   Without a Song

 

 

Birth of Rock & Roll: Doo Wop: The Diamonds

The Diamonds

Source: Discogs

The Diamonds were a group formed in 1948 in Toronto. Leave it to a lot of Canadians in the northern boondocks of the world to waltz into R&B just like that, no knowledge even of stage makeup. The principle members of the strangely colored Diamonds were Dave Somerville (first tenor), Tedd Kowalski (second tenor), Phil Levitt (baritone) and Bill Reed (bass). Atlantic released their first 45 in 1952, thought to be 'A Beggar For Your Kisses' b/w 'Call, Baby, Call'. 'Little Darlin'' in 1957 reached Billboard's No. 2 spot in 1957. 'Silhouettes' and 'The Stroll' later placed in the Top Ten in 1957 as well. Between 1956 and 1961 the Diamonds scored 15 Top Forty numbers. Upon Somerville's exit from the group in 1961 the Diamonds had run their course, though later configurations continued eternally. The group was inducted into the Rockabilly Hall of Fame in 1995, the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 2004 and the Doo-Wop Hall of Fame in 2006. White groups entering into the doo wop field was a considerable contributor to R&B becoming known as rock and roll.

The Diamonds   1952

   A Beggar For Your Kisses/Call, Baby, Call

The Diamonds   1953

   I'll Live Again

The Diamonds   1956

   Why Do Fools Fall in Love

The Diamonds   1957

   Little Darling

The Diamonds   1958

   Eternal Lovers

The Diamonds   1961

   Chimes In My Heart

The Diamonds   1962

   The Horizontal Lieutenant

The Diamonds   1964

   The Stroll

 

 
Birth of Rock & Roll: Doo Wop: The Du Droppers

The Du Droppers

Source: Doo-Wop Blog
Lead tenor, JC Ginyard, first formed the Du Droppers to be a gospel group in 1952. Switching to R&B, their first record release was in December that year, a response to the Dominoes', 'Sixty Minute Man': 'Can't Do Sixty No More'/'Chain Me Baby'. The record label was Red Robin, also a record shop in New York. The Du-Droppers moved to RCA to release 'I Found Out' in June of 1953. The group released its last plate in August 1955: 'You're Mine Already' b/w 'I Wanna Love You', after which Junior Ginyard returned to gospel with the Golden Gate Quartet.

The Du-Droppers   1952

   Can't Do Sixty No More/Chain Me Baby

The Du-Droppers   1953

   Bambalam

The Du-Droppers   1954

   Go Back

   Get Lost

The Du-Droppers   1955

   Speed King

   Talk That Talk

 

 
  It was 1947 when the Bachelors first got together as the Cavaliers in Washington DC. The group consisted of Waverly Mason (lead), James Walton (first tenor), Walter Taylor (second tenor), Herbert Fisher (baritone) and John Bowie (bass). (Only Walton, Fischer and Bowie remained with the Bachelors for the photo, circa 1956, to the right.) They soon changed their name to the Jets, under which they first recorded in 1953 ('Drag It Home, Baby). But as there was another group called the Jets, they began recording as the Bachelors the same year. Personnel changes brought about the dismantling of the Bachelors and the formation of the Links in 1958. Titles below are in alphabetical order by year.

The Bachelors   1953

   Can't Help Lovin' You

   Drag It Home Baby

      As the Jets

   Lovers

      As the Jets

   Pretty Baby

   You've Lied/I Found Love

The Bachelors   1957

   After

The Bachelors   1958

   Ba-Bee

      As the Links

   She's the One

      As the Links

 

Birth of Rock & Roll: Doo Wop: The Bachelors

The Bachelors   Circa 1956

Source: Marv Goldberg

 

Hank Ballard was born John Henry Kendricks in Detroit in 1927. He was working an assembly line at the Ford Motor Company when he was invited to replace Lawson Smith in the Royals. (The Royals had made their first recording in 1952 with Charles Sutton at lead: 'Every Beat of my Heart'.) It was 1953 when Ballard made his first recording with the Royals: 'Get It'. In 1954 they changed their name to the Midnighters to avoid confusion with other bands named the Royals. It was with the Midnighters that Ballard released 'The Twist' in 1959. But it was Chubby Checker's cover in 1960 that got the publicity via Dick Clark's 'American Bandstand'. The Midnighters would take doo wop into the sixties when it ceased to be a popular musical style, disbanding in 1965. Ballard then pursued a solo career until he reformed the Midnighters in the eighties. That group performed until 2002. Ballard died in March of 2003 of throat cancer in Los Angeles.

Hank Ballard   1954

   Sexy Ways

   Work With Me Annie

Hank Ballard   1959

   Teardrops On Your Letter

   The Twist

Hank Ballard   1960

   If You'd Forive Me

   Let's Go, Let's Go, Let's Go

Hank Ballard   1964

   One Monkey Don't Stop No Show

   Watch What I Tell You

 

Birth of Rock & Roll: Doo Wop: Doo Wop: Hank Ballard

Hank Ballard

Photo: Norm Buller

Source: MALE sTRip show

Birth of Rock & Roll: Doo Wop: Doo Wop: The Castelles

The Castelles   1956

Source: Marv Goldberg
The Castelles (not to be confused with the later pop vocal harmony group from Santa Rosa, CA, the Castells) began coming together in 1949 while yet kids. They were a a group of junior and high school students busking on the streets of Philadelphia as the Royal Castelles by the time they took on manager, Lucille McCord. She took them to see Herb Slotkin and Jerry Ragovoy who decided to found Grend Records with them. The group dropped "Royal" from their name and issued their debut 45 in October of 1953: 'My Girl Awaits Me'/'Sweetness'. At that time the group was comprised of George Grant (lead tenor), Octavius Anthony (first tenor), Billy Taylor (first & second tenor/baritone), Ron Everett (bass) and Frank Vance (guitar). In 1955 both Everett and Vance were replaced by Clarence Scott for the 1956 issue of 'Happy and Gay'/'Hey Baby Baby'. That record going nowhere, Grant shut down operations. George  Grant and Billy Taylor (not, by the way, the jazz pianist) continued their musical careers. In 1991 Grant released 'Surrender To Love'/'Baby Please Don't Stop' as George Grant & the Castelles. That is thought to be a misprint, the Calvanes the actual group.

The Castelles   1953

   My Girl Awaits Me

   Sweetness

   This Silver Ring

The Castelles   1954

   If You Were the Only Girl In the World

   Over a Cup of Coffee

 

 
  The Charms was a group led by Otis Williams (not the same Otis Williams as in the Temptations) which original members were Bob Smith (tenor - later replaced by Donald Peak), Rolland Bradley (tenor), Joe Penn (baritone/tenor) and Richard Parker (bass). The group first recorded in 1953: 'Heaven Only Knows'. Several more releases were made until 'Hearts of Stone' reached No. 1 on Billboard in 1954 and went gold. The Charms saw their dissolution upon Williams getting drafted into the Army in 196o, though earlier recordings were yet released. Williams pursued a solo career upon his discharge from military service in 1962.

The Charms   1953

   Heaven Only Knows/Loving Baby

The Charms   1954

   Hearts of Stone

   Ling Ting Tong

The Charms   1956

   I'll Be True/Boom Diddy Boom Boom

The Charms   1959

   My Prayer Tonight

 

Birth of Rock & Roll: Doo Wop: The Charms

The Charms

Source: JV Entertainment

Birth of Rock & Roll: Doo Wop: The Crows

The Crows

Source: Wikipedia

 

The Crows began practicing harmony on the sidewalks of the Bronx in 1951. Its original members were Daniel Norton (lead), William Davis (baritone), Harold Major (tenor), Jerry Wittick (tenor - later replaced by Mark Jackson) and Gerald Hamilton (bass). Discovered at an Apollo Theater talent show, theirs were the first records produced by newly formed Rama Records in 1953, recording with pianist, Viola Wills. "Gee' reached No. 2 on Billboard's R&B chart, after which the Crows dismantled, something exemplary of doo-wop's years to come, bloated with one-hit wonders who disappeared as fast as they came.

The Crows   1953

   Gee

    Guitar: Tiny Grimes   Piano: Viola Wills

   I Love You So

The Crows   1954

   Baby Doll

   I Really, Really Love You/Miss You

 

 
  The Drifters first recorded in 1953, Clyde McPhatter, their lead singer, having been with the Dominoes. Their release of 'Money Honey' b/w 'Lucille' in '53 was by ensembles of different personnel, "Lucille' recorded at their first session, 'Money Honey' at their second. They would soon install a rotating door for changes in personnel, McPhatter leaving the group in 1954. Two more lead vocalists (David Baughn and Bobby Hendricks) were employed by the group until joined by Johnny Moore in 1955 to become the Drifters' mainstay. 'Up on the Roof' in 1962 placed No. 5 on Billboard, followed in 1963 by 'On Broadway'. 'Up on the Roof' had been too windy so they moved 'Under the Boardwalk' in 1964 to chart at No. 4. It remained on Cash Box at No. 1 for three weeks. The album by the same title released in 1964 also achieved Billboard's No. 4 tier. But the Drifters ceased to chart well in the States after that, so they floated off to the UK in 1972 where they remained a huge draw. Their last to break the Top Ten in the UK was 'You're More than a Number in My Little Red Book', peaking at No. 5 in 1976. Moore left the Drifters in 1982, after which the group has remained active despite infinite personnel changes.

The Drifters   1953

   Money Honey

The Drifters   1954

   Bip Bam

The Drifters   1955

   What'cha Gonna Do

 

Birth of Rock & Roll: Doo Wop: The Drifters

The Drifters

Source: Time Goes By

 

  The Five Blue Notes began to put their act together as the Blue Jays in high school in Washington DC in 1950. That group consisted of Andy Magruder (lead), Waymond Mooney (first tenor), Robert Stroud (second tenor), Moise Vaughn (baritone/bass) and Melvin Lee (guitar). The Blue Jays made their first demos in 1953 at the Park Lane Pharmacy in DC, next to the Circle Recording Studio on Pennsylvania Avenue. Costing a $!.25 per side, the Blue Jays are thought to have recorded at least thirty. They became the 5 Blue Notes to avoid confusion with another group by that name in 1953. Their first recording session as such was in October of 1953. Of those tracks, promos were made of 'My Gal Is Gone' and 'Ooh Baby'. Sabre Records (Chance imprint) delayed release of those until December, during which time Magruder got impatient and joined the Marines. The tracks were released locally and charted at #1 in Washington DC. 'The Beat Of Our Hearts'/'You Gotta Go Baby' was issued in June of 1954. But by that time Vaughn had left the group that March, also for the Marines. No more was heard of the 5 Blue Notes until Magruder left the Marines in 1958 to resurrect them as Robert Stroud, Moise Vaughn, Jackie Shedrick and Louis Smalls as lead tenor. Onda issued 'My Special Prayer'/'Somethin' Awful' in 1958, changing the flip side to 'The Thunderbird' in 1959. The group permanently dissipated that year, Magruder, joining the Spaniels the next year.

The Five Blue Notes   1953

   My Gal Is Gone

The Five Blue Notes   1954

   The Beat of Our Hearts/You Gotta Go Baby

   My Gal Is Gone/Ooh Baby

The Five Blue Notes   1958

   My Special Prayer

 

 

Birth of Rock & Roll: Doo Wop: The Five Jets

The Five Jets   1956

Source: Marv Goldberg

The Five Jets had their roots in the Thrillers (not to be confused with the Thrillers who recorded 'Lisabeth'/'Please Talk to Me' on Herald, also a Detroit group). Originally consisting of Joe Murphy (lead tenor), Raymond Dorsey (baritone), Charles Wright (first tenor), Lawrence Payton (second tenor), and Roquel Davis (bass/composition/manager). The Thrillers made their first release on the Thrillers label, Joe Battle naming his fledgling operation after the group. That was 'I'm Gonna Live My Life Alone'/'Lessy Mae' in 1953. The Thrillers issued their next and final record that year, now for Big Town, 'Mattie, Leave Me Alone'/'The Drunkard'. Yet 1953, the Thrillers changed their name to the 5 Jets. Original members of that group are thought to have been Joe Murphy (lead), Raymond Dorsey (baritone), Crathman Spencer (tenor), Charles Lee (second tenor) and Billy Davis (bass). The 5 Jets' first release was in 1953: 'I'm In Love'/'Not a Hand to Shake'. Personnel changes began occurring in 1955, concerning which we've not space to keep track, but to mention that Davis was the first original member of the 5 Jets to stop singing that year, though he continued composing and managing. The group recorded as the Five Dollars in 1956, releasing 'You Fool'/'Bacon Fat' on the Fortune label. The 5 Jets became the 5 Stars in 1957, 'Ooh Shucks'/'Dead Wrong' their initial issue as such in November that year for the Anna label. The 5 Stars reemerged (with altered personnel) in 1958 as the Voice Masters. That group's initial release was 'Hope And Pray'/'Oops, I'm Sorry' in January of 1959. Before the Voice Masters' total of six singles were released that year Raymond Dorsey left the group to join the Royal Jokers. Billy Davis would eventually leave the recording business (part owner of the Anna label) and pursued a career in advertisng. Joe Murphy pursued a solo career. The Voice Masters continued with the Anna label with the addition of Ty Hunter as Ty Hunter & the Voice Masters, releasing a couple 45s in 1960: 'Orphan Boy'/'Everything About You' and 'Free'/'Everytime'. The Voice Masters then became the Originals, though the only original 5 Jets member of that group was Spencer.

The Thrillers   1953

   I'm Gonna Live My Life Alone

The Five Jets   1953

   I'm In Love

The Five Jets   1954

   Crazy Chicken

   Down Slow

   Give In

   I'm Stuck

   Please Love Me Baby

   Tell Me You're Mine

The Five Jets   1956

   I Will Wait

      As the Five Dollars

The Five Jets   1957

  Ooh Shucks/Dead Wrong

      As the Five Stars

   You Fool

      As the Five Dollars

The Five Jets   1958

   Baby Baby

       As the Five Stars

 

 
  It was 1950 when a Harlem group called the Dovers formed. Harlem would figure big in doo wop, producing countless groups. The Dovers recorded nothing. In 1953 personnel got sifted as the group became the Five Willows. Members at that time were Tony Middleton (lead), Richie Davis (tenor), Ralph Martin (tenor), Joe Martin (baritone) and John Steel (bass). Their debut release was 'Lay Your Head On My Shoulder' b/w 'Baby, Come A Little'. The group renamed itself simply the Willows in 1954. Notable in 1956 was their release 'Church Bells May Ring', reaching No. 12 on Billboard's R&B. The Diamonds' version of that song the same year charted at #14. The Willows tied it up in 1965, having never released an album. (A compilation called 'The Willows featuring Tony Middleton' was issued in 1988.) Sporadic reunions occurred into the nineties until prior Willows' members began dying off. New configurations continued into the millennium.

The Five Willows   1953

   Love Bells

   My Dearest Darling/Rock Little Francis

   Please Baby

   The White Cliffs of Dover/With These Hands

The Five Willows   1955

   Look Me In the Eyes/So Help Me

The Willows   1956

   Do You Love Me

   Church Bells May Ring

The Willows   1957

   First Taste Of Love

The Willows   1958

   Let's Fall In Love/Gone

 

Birth of Rock & Roll: Doo Wop: The Five Willows

The Five Willows

Source: Soul Music HQ

 

Doo wop group, the Flamingos, were originally a bunch of dirty little birds called the Swallows. They tried a couple more names until deciding on the Flamingos in 1953. Members at that time were Jacob Carey, Ezekial (Zeke) Carey, Paul Wilson, John Carter and Sollie McElroy. The Flamingos issued their first record, 'If I Can't Have You'/'Someday Somewhere' in 1953, followed by 'That's My Desire' with 'Hurry Home Baby' flipside. In 1955 'I'll Be Home' reached the No. 5 tier on Billboard's R&B. 'I Only Have Eyes For You' grabbed Billboard's #3 position in R&B, and #11 in the US overall, in 1959. But that would be the last the group approached the Top Ten. The Flamingos, which members could seem to change one day to the next, made its last recordings in the seventies, Jacob, Ezekial and Wilson yet members.

The Flamingos   1953

   If I Can't Have You

   That's My Desire/Hurry Home Baby

The Flamingos   1956

   Would I Be Crying

      Live performance

The Flamingos   1959

   I Only Have Eyes For You

The Flamingos   1960

   Til the End of Time

 

Birth of Rock & Roll: Doo Wop: The Flamingos

The Flamingos

Source: All Music

  Upon release from the Army in 1949, Harvey Fuqua was twenty years old, born in 1929 in Louisville, Kentucky. He and friend, Bobby Lester, began their music careers by forming a duo together. In 1951 they put together a doo wop group, the Crazy Sounds. Radio host Alan Freed became their manager in 1953 and suggested the group change its name to the Moonglows. (Fuqua went by Moondog.) Other members of The Moonglows were Alexander Graves, Prentiss Barnes, Billy Johnson and William Westbrooks. They first recorded for the Champaign label in 1952. Lead was in general split between Lester and Fuqua, with Lester doing the doo wop ballads and Fuqua fronting the more rock n roll oriented material. (Fuqua leads on the group's first release below. Lester leads on 'Sincerely' and 'The Ten Commandments of Love'.) The Moonglows were also known as the Moonlighters when they recorded with Chess Records in 1955 and 1956. Fuqua's first solo issue is thought to have been 'I Want Somebody' b/w 'Da Da Goo Goo' in 1958. During the period that Fugua was with the Moonglows six of their songs reached the Top Ten on Billboard's R&B, including 'Sincerely', topping the chart in March of 1955. In 1959 he split from the Moonglows to form Harvey and the New Moonglows, of which Marvin Gaye was a member. In 1961 Fuqua began work on his own record labels, Tri-Phi Records and Harvey Records, handling, for example, the Spinners. In 1962 he recorded with the Quails. (The Quails were a group with small impact, formed in 1957. Their debut releases that year, with Mercury Records, are thought to be 'Hop Scotch Rock' and 'Jungle Baby'.) Bobby Lester died at the relatively young age of 49 in 1980, of cancer. Fuqua died in 2010 (perhaps of Detroit, where I've been, so I'd know.)

The Moonglows   1953

   I Just Can't Tell No Lie/I've Been Your Dog

      First release   Sides A & B

   I Was Wrong

   Whistle My Love

The Moonglows   1954

   Fine Fine Girl

   Ooh Rockin Daddy

   Secret Love

   Sincerely

The Moonglows   1955

   Lover, Love Me

   Most of All

   Tempting

The Moonglows   1956

   I Knew From the Start

   I'm With You

   Over And Over Again

    Film: 'Rock Rock Rock'

   See Saw

   We Go Together/Chickie Um Bah

   When I'm With You

      Live for CBS Radio

   When I'm With You

      Studio version

The Moonglows   1957

   What Are You Going To Do

Harvey Fuqua   1958

   Da Da Goo Goo

   In The Middle Of The Night/Soda Pop

Harvey & the New Moonglows   1959

   Almost Grown

      Backing Chuck Berry

   Dont Be Afraid To Love

      Television performance

   I Want Somebody

   Unemployment/Mama Loocie

The Moonglows   1960

   Beatnik/Junior

   If I Can't Have You

       With Etta James

Harvey Fuqua   1962

   Any Way You Wanta

   Got to Get to School on Time/Been a Long Time

      With the Five Quails

   Never Felt Like This Before

      With the Five Quails

   My Love

      With the Five Quails

The Moonglows   1972

   Sincerely

   The Ten Commandments of Love

      Live

 

Birth of Rock & Roll: Doo Wop: The Moonglows

The Moonglows

Source: Boppin' Around

Birth of Rock & Roll: Doo Wop: The Harptones

The Harptones

Source: Crooks & Liars

The Harptones never acquired great popularity, albeit their lead singer Willie Winfield was well regarded in the industry, together with their pianist and arranger, Raoul Cita. The only song by the Harptones that ever made it onto a Billboard chart was 'What Will I Tell My Heart' in 1961 at No. 96. And yet they made a big fuss placing fourteen songs in the Top Five Hundred, more than any other group [uncamarvy.com]. They released their first record, 'A Sunday Kind Of Love' and 'I'll Never Tell' in 1953. After a decade of record issues that never left ground, by 1965 the Harptones were no longer, their last release thought to have been 'Sunset'/'I Gotta Have Your Love' in 1964. The group coughed once more that year as the Soothers, releasing 'The Little White Cloud That Cried'/'I Believe In You', before the curtain was summarily drawn.

The Harptones   1953

   A Sunday Kind Of Love

   I'll Never Tell

The Harptones   1955

   Life is But a Dream

   You Know You're Doing Me Wrong

The Harptones   1956

   Gimme Some

The Harptones   1959

   Laughing on the Outside

The Harptones   1960

   Answer Me My Love

 

 
  Based in Los Angeles, the Lamplighters consisted of Willie Ray Rockton, Matthew Nelson, Thurston Harris and Al Frazier. They released their first vinyl in 1953, making their recording debut in November that year for Federal Records: 'Part of Me' b/w 'Turn Me Loose'. In September that year they issued 'Be-Bop Wino' backed by 'Give Me'. The Lamplighters also recorded as the Tenderfoots in 1955, as the Sharps with Thurston Harris in 1957 ('Little Bitty Pretty One' and 'Do What You Did') and the Rivingtons in the early sixties ('Poppa Ooh Mow Mow'). Neither the Lamplighters nor any of their other incarnations ever scored on a Billboard chart with the exception of the Rivingtons approaching the Top Forty a couple times ('The Bird's the Word' did peak at #27 on Billboard's R&B in 1963). Big splash that they were in Los Angeles, the Lamplighters never acquired the national spotlight.

The Lamplighters   1953

   Turn Me Loose/Part Of Me

   BeBop Wino

The Lamplighters   1954

   Goody Good Things

   Salty Dog

   Tell Me You Care/I Used To Cry Mercy, Mercy

   Yum! Yum!

The Lamplighters   1955

   Believe In Me/I Wanna Know

   Hug A Little, Kiss A Little

   Love, Rock, and Thrill

   Roll On

 

Birth of Rock & Roll: Doo Wop: The Lamplighters

The Lamplighters

Source: Discogs

 

The Platters, made their first record release in 1953 as Tony Williams and the Platters: 'Give Thanks' with 'Hey Now'. That group began shifting into the one that it's largely known by in 1953 due to taking up songwirter, Buck Ram, as a manager. Ram shaped the Platters into Tony Williams, Herb Reed, Paul Robi, David Lynch and Zola Taylor, which ensemble remained intact until 1960. The Platters issued a stream of recordings for Federal Records into 1955 but caught no fish. Ram then moved the group to Mercury Records, upon which they shot to Billboard's top tier with 'Only You'. (The Platters had recorded an earlier version at Federal, but it wasn't issued.) The Platters repeated that success the same year with 'The Great Pretender', forcing me to make a list of their Top Ten singles in the months they peaked:

   1955
'Only You'
   October #1 R&B #5 US
'The Great Pretender'
   December #1 R&B #1 US
   1956
'The Magic Touch'
   March #4 R&B #4 US
'My Prayer'
   July #1 R&B #1 US
'It Just Isn't Right'
   September #10 R&B #13 US
'You'll Never Know'
   September #9 R&B #11 US
'On My Word of Honor'
   December #7 R&B #20 US
   1957
'He's Mine'
   April #5 R&B #16 US
'My Dream'
   May #7 R&B #24 US
   1958
'Twilight Time'
   April #1 R&B #1 US
'Smoke Get's In Your Eyes'
   November #3 R&B #1 US
   1959
'Enchanted'
   March #9 R&B
   1960
'Harbor Lights'
   July #15 R&B #8 US
   1961
'I'll Never Smile Again'
   July #17 R&B #7 AC #25 US
   1966
'I Love You 1000 Times'
   April #6 R&B #31 US

Top Twenty songs were released from 1956 onward, not ceasing until 'With This Ring' reached No. 12 in 1967. 1973 saw three of the Plattars' melodies used in the film, 'American Graffiti'. Selling above 53 million records, the Platters were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1990, and the newly formed Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 1998. Various configurations of the group have formed into the new millennium, though with long-lasting litigation as to ownership and use of their name. The Platters was a premium doo wop group that made a major contribution to bringing R&B into the homes of white America, assisting the shift to rock n roll in the process.

The Platters   1955

   Only You

   Unchained Melody

The Platters   1956

   The Great Pretender

   You'll Never Know

The Platters   1957

   Sixteen Tons

The Platters   1958

   Smoke Gets In Your Eyes

   Twilight Time

The Platters   1959

   Enchanted

The Platters   1962

   September Song

The Platters   1967

   With This Ring

 

Birth of Rock & Roll: Doo Wop: The Platters

The Platters

Source: Antorcha

  First formed in Gary, Indiana (scenic drive along I-90 for who like looking at industry), in 1952, the Spaniels are said to have pioneered the method of using two microphones during stage performances, one for the group and one for the lead singer. Its original members, all since deceased were, Thornton James "Pookie" Hudson (driving mainstay), Ernest Warren, Willie Jackson, Opal Courtney and Gerald Gregory. The Spaniels released their first wax in May of 1953 with 'Baby It's You' b/w 'Bounce', reaching #10 that June on Billboard's R&B chart. That was released by Vee-Jay Records before the Spaniels had even played their first professional gig at Park City Bowl, a skating rink in Chicago. They attained their highest position on Billboard's R&B the next year with 'Goodnite Sweetheart, Goodnite', peaking at No. 5. The Vee-Jay label went out of business in 1966, a convenient though not exactly true marker for the end of the Spaniels as well, as they made their last releases with Vee-Jay in 1960 ('I Know' b/w 'Bus Fare Home', rising to #23 on Billboard's R&B), then moved on to other labels. Hudson resurrected the group to record for Buddha Records in December of '69, then formed his own record label, North American, in 1970. Future versions of the group with Hudson recorded as late as 1995 ('All the Places I've Been'/'Sloppy Drunk').

The Spaniels   1953

   Baby It's You

The Spaniels   1954

   Do-Wah

       Recorded 1953

   Goodnite Sweetheart, Goodnite

The Spaniels   1955

   Don'Cha Go

The Spaniels   1956

   Dear Heart

   Please Don't Tease

The Spaniels   1957

   You Gave Me Peace

The Spaniels   1958

   The Great Googely Moo

   Stormy Weather

The Spaniels   1959

   People Will Say We're In Love

The Spaniels   1960

   I Know

The Spaniels   1997

   I Know

      Filmed live

 

Birth of Rock & Roll: Doo Wop: The Spaniels

The Spaniels   1960

Photo: Pookie Hudson family

Source: New York Times

 

The first recordings by the Cadillacs, formed in Harlem in 1953 as the Carnations, were in 1954: 'Gloria' and 'I Wonder Why'. 'Speedoo' peaked on Billboard's R&B at #3 in 1955, the only instance of the Cadillacs breaching a Top Ten chart. The group separated in 1957, the less successful Four Cadillacs then forming as lead singer and original member, Earl Carroll, became the Cadillacs' mainstay through its early heydays. Once the Cadillacs divided again in 1960 personnel began to require a revolving door, especially upon Carroll leaving to join the Coasters in 1963. Later configurations of the Cadillacs performed into the seventies. Carroll remained with the Coasters into the early nineties, after which he reformed the Cadillacs to perform into the new millennium. Carroll passed away in 2012.

The Cadillacs   1954

   Gloria

   I Wonder Why

The Cadillacs   1955

   Speedo

The Cadillacs   1958

   Holy Smoke Baby

   Peek-a-Boo

The Cadillacs   1959

   Your Heart Is So Blind

 

Birth of Rock & Roll: Doo Wop: The Cadillacs

The Cadillacs

Photo: James Kriegsmann/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty

Source: Gonna Put Me in the Movies

 

Birth of Rock & Roll: Doo Wop: The Calvanes

The Calvanes

Photo: Dootone Records

Source: Doo-Wop Blogg

 

Out of Los Angeles, the Calvanes first recorded as the Dundees in 1954, releasing 'Never'/'Evil One' on the Space label that October. When Carlyle Dundee made his exit the Dundees became the Wonders, issuing 'Little Girl'/'Bop Bop Baby' in November of '54, again with Space. The group released their first vinyl as the Calvanes in September 1955 ('Don't Take Your Love From Me' with 'Crazy Over You' back side). In 1957 the Calvanes' personnel consisted of Herman Pruitt, Lorenzo "Bobby" Adams, Stewart Crunk and Freddy Willis. Never managing to do well on Billboard, they changed their name to the Nuggets in 1961 for one last spurt of several singles that year. Neither did any of those affect a lot, the group breaking up in 1962. In 1989 the Calvanes were resurrected by Pruitt, Adams and Willis, adding Jimmy Corbitt as bass, and recording in various capacities into the new millenium.

The Calvanes   1955

   Crazy Over You

   Don't Take Your Love (From Me)

The Calvanes   1956

   Fleeoowee

The Calvanes   1958

   Dream World

 

 
  The Dells first got together in high school in Chicago in 1952 as the El Rays. They were yet the El Rays when they produced their first recording in 1954: 'Darling I Know'. The changed their name to the Dells in 1955, then signed up with Vee-Jay Records the next year. The group consisted of Mickey McGill, Marvin Junior, Verne Allison, Johnny Funches and Chuck Barksdale at that time. The Dells were among the more successful doo wop groups, charting in the Top Ten several times. Their first was 'On What a Night' in 1956, peaking at #4 on Billboard's R&B. As late as 1974, long since doo wop's wane in popularity as a genre, 'I Miss You' climbed all the way to #8 on Billboard's R&B. They reached the Top Forty again in 1980 with 'I Touched a Dream'. 'A House For Love' snagged the thirteenth tier on Billboard's R&B in 1991, making the Dells one of the most enduring doo wop groups. They continued recording into the new millennium (albeit Funches died in 1998), performing until 2012 (albeit Carter died in 2009). Marvin Junior passed away in 2013.

The El Rays   1954

   Darling I Know

The Dells   1956

   Jo Jo

   Oh What a Night

The Dells   1968

   There Is

   I Can Sing A Rainbow/Love Is Blue

The Dells   1969

   Oh What a Night

      Television performance

The Dells   1972

   Since I Found You

The Dells   1973

   I Hear Voices

The Dells   1977

   Wasted Tears

The Dells   1978

   New Beginnings

    Album 

The Dells   1992

   Come and Get It

 

Birth of Rock & Roll: Doo Wop: The Dells

The Dells

Source: AMW

Birth of Rock & Roll: Doo Wop: The El Dorados

The El Dorados   1955

Photo: Vee Jay Records

Source: Marv Goldberg

Formed in Chicago in 1952 as Pinkie Lee and the Five Stars, the El Dorados were thus christened in 1954 upon the return of lead vocalist, Pirkle Lee Moses Jr., to the group after a time in the Air Force. Other members were Louis Bradley, Arthur Basset, Jewel Jones, James Maddox and Richard Nickens. The El Dorados first found themselves on vinyl in 1954, 'Annie's Answer', among their early singles. 'At My Front Door' reached Billboard's top tier in R&B in 1955. 'I'll Be Forever Loving You' peaked at #8 the next year, after which the group began to splinter. First Besset and Nickens abandoned ship, then Pirkle Moses was left to form another El Dorados altogether in 1957 (out of the Kool Gents). The other members went on to form the Tempos. Moses began his own career as a name act in 1958, then formed a new El Dorados in 1969. Another El Dorados had been formed about the same time by Tempos member, Johnny Carter, the two to merge in the seventies until Moses' death in 2000. Since that time the Pirkle Lee Moses Jr's El Dorados yet occasionally tour as of this writing.

The El Dorados   1954

   Annie's Answer

      With Hazel McCollum & the Al Smith Orchestra

The El Dorados   1955

   At My Front Door/What's Buggin You Baby

The El Dorados   1956

   I’ll Be Forever Loving You

       Recorded 1955

   Love Of My Own

   Now That You've Gone

The El Dorados   1957

   A Rose for My Darling/Tears on My Pillow

 

 

Birth of Rock & Roll: Doo Wop: The Four Bars

The 4 Bars

Source: Discogs

The Four Bars (not to be confused with Jimmy Sweeney's 4 Bars at Republic about the same time) were never chart toppers, indeed, never charted at all to speak of. But they were popular enough to keep releasing records for fifteen years, their first in 1954 for Josie Records, a Jubilee subsidiary: 'Grief By Day Grief By Night'. The group was comprised of Eddie Daye (bass and mainstay), Melvin Butler (second tenor), Alphonso Feemster (first tenor) and Francis Henry (baritone). Though the group came unglued in 1967 the Dayco label, owned by Daye, continued issuing titles into 1969. Daye, the 4 Bars' driving force, died in August of 2009.

The Four Bars   1954

   Grief By Day Grief By Night

   If I Give My Heart to You

   Memories Of You/When Did You Leave Heaven?

   Stop It! Quit It!

The Four Bars   1955

   Let Me Live

   Why Do You Treat Me This Way

The Four Bars   1961

   Just Bid Me Farewell/This Game Of Romance

The Four Bars   1962

   What's On Your Mind?/Try Me One More Time

The Four Bars   1964

   Waiting On The Right Guy

The Four Bars   1966

   Come Back to These Arms/That's My Girl

 

 
  The Penguins are said to have named themselves such as a way of remarking they were cool. The original group was comprised of Cleveland Duncan (lead and mainstay), Curtis Williams, Dexter Tisby and Bruce Tate. The Penguins released their first record in 1954. 'Hey Senorita' is the tune they were pushing, until a disc jockey somewhere flipped the record and played 'Earth Angel', whence upon it soared to the #1 spot on Billboard's R&B where it remained for three weeks. The Penguins reached to No. 15 in 1957 with 'Pledge of Love' before falling off the charts altogether. The group disbanded in 1962. Later configurations of the Penguinse were led by Duncan until his death in 2012 in Los Angeles.

The Penguins   1954

   Earth Angel

   Hey Senorita

The Penguins   1958

   Do Not Pretend

The Penguins   1973

   Earth Angel

    Television broadcast 

 

Birth of Rock & Roll: Doo Wop: The Penguins

The Penguins

Source: Joe's Beat

Birth of Rock & Roll: Doo Wop: The Rivileers

The Rivileers   1953

Source: Marv Goldberg

 

It was 1954 when the Rivileers, from Jamaica Queens, released their first record (recorded in 1953), 'A Thousand Stars' backed by 'Hey Chiquita'. That was also the first release for Baton Records, owned by Sol Rabinowitz. The Rivileers consisted of Gene Pearson (lead tenor), Herb Crosby (first tenor), Errol Lennard (second tenor), Alfonso Delaney (baritone) and Milton Edwards (bass). The group made its last recording in 1957 ('Who Is the Girl'), having never found their way onto a Billboard chart.

The Rivileers   1954

   Carolyn

   Forever

   (I Love You) For Sentimental Reasons

   I Want To See My Baby

   A Thousand Stars/Hey Chiquita

The Rivileers   1957

   Who Is the Girl

 

 

Birth of Rock & Roll: Doo Wop: The Solitaires

The Solitaires   1954

Source: Doo-Wop Blogg

Harlem doo wop band, the Solitaires, released their first batch of tunes in 1954, 'Chapel of St. Claire' believed to be their first recording. The group's original members were Eddie Jones (lead), Nick Anderson (first tenor), Winston Willis (second tenor), Rudy Morgan (baritone) and Pat Gaston (bass). The photo to the left shows the Solitaires at the time of their first issue. Bottom row: Bobby Williams (tenor/piano) and Buzzy Willis (second tenor). Top row: Herman Curtis (lead tenor), Pat Gaston (bass) and Bobby Baylor (second tenor/baritone). Not shown is sixth member, Monteith Owens (tenor/guitar). Curtis was replaced by Milton Love in 1955. The Solitaires released their last record in 1964 for MGM: 'Fool That I Am'/'Fair Weather Lover'. Though the Solitaires were popular performers on the East Coast, particularly New York, they never scored on a Billboard chart. Samples below are in alphabetical order per year, not by release dates.

The Solitaires   1954

   Blue Valentine

   Chapel of St. Claire/If I Loved You

   Come Back to Me

   Stranger In Paradise

   Wonder Why

The Solitaires   1957

   Walking Along

 

 

Birth of Rock & Roll: Doo Wop: The Diablos

Nolan Strong & the Diablos

Source: Longshot's Blog

Based in Detroit, Nolan Strong formed the Diablos in 1950. Other than Strong the group originally consisted of Juan Guitierrez (tenor), Willie Hunter (baritone), Quentin Eubanks (bass) and Bob Edwards (guitar). The Diablos began releasing records in 1954, 'Adios My Love' their first recording for the Fortune label. 'The Way You Dog Me Around' reached Billboard's #12 spot in R&B in 1956 (released in '55). Strong was drafted into the Army in 1956 and served two years until resuming with the Diablos in 1958. ('Mambo of Love', below, released in 1957, had been recorded earlier.) The Diablos dissolved in 1964, whence upon Strong and a couple other members of the Diablos made several recordings as the Velvet Angels, their first plate was 'I'm In Love' with 'Let Me Come Back', followed by 'Blue Moon' with 'Fools Rush In' on back. Although Strong died in Detroit in 1977 a new configuration of the Diablos called Nolan Strong's Diablos was formed as recently as 2007 by Jay Johnson, a member of the group since 1956. The group yet tours as of this writing.

Nolan Strong & the Diablos   1954

   Adios My Desert Love

   Baby Be Mine

   Come Home With Me

   (I Want) an Old Fashioned Girl

   The Wind

Nolan Strong & the Diablos   1955

   Do You Remember What You Did

   Hold Me Until Eternity

   The Way You Dog Me Around

Nolan Strong & the Diablos   1956

   A Teardrop From Heaven

   Try Me One More Time

   You Are

   You're The Only Girl, Dolores

Nolan Strong & the Diablos   1957

   Mambo of Love

Nolan Strong & the Diablos   1959

   Goodbye Matilda

   If I (oh I)

Nolan Strong & the Velvet Angels   1964

   Blue Moon

   Fools Rush In

   I'm In Love

   Let Me Come Back

   Old McDonald

 

 
 

Another Harlem doo wop band, the Valentines, first came together as the Mistletoes, then the Dreamers, in 1952. The group was comprised of Raymond Briggs (first tenor), Carl Hogan (second tenor), Mickey Francis (baritone) and Ronnie Bright (bass). That quartet became a quintet with the addition of Richard Barrett (composer/lead) in 1954. Then becoming the Valentines, the group released its first single in latter 1954 with Old Town Records: 'Tonight Kathleen' b/w 'Summer Love'. The Valentines gave their last performance in 1958 at the Apollo Theater in NYC, having never charted on Billboard. Barrett turned his attentions to managing Frankie & the Teenagers and became a record producer. He is credited with the discovery of the Chantels, Little Anthony & the Imperials, the Isley Brothers and the Three Degrees.

The Valentines   1954

   Tonight Kathleen

      Side A

   Summer Love

      Side B

 

Birth of Rock & Roll: Doo Wop: The Valentines

The Valentines

Source: Discogs

 

  From Bronx, the Wrens made their first four recordings on November 21, 1954, for Rama Records. Those were: 'Love’s Something That’s Made For Two', 'Beggin’ For Love', 'Come Back My Love' and 'Eleven Roses'. Personnel having already changed since the formation of the group in 1950, at the time of its first issue the Wrens consisted of Francis Concepcion (original lead baritone/tenor), George Magnezid (tenor), James Archer (bass) and Bobby Mansfield (tenor). The Wrens never flew onto a Billboard chart and ceased to exist in 1956.

The Wrens   1954

   Come Back My Love

   Eleven Roses

   Hey Girl

   Love's Something That's Made For Two

The Wrens   1955

   What Makes You Do The Things That You Do

 

Birth of Rock & Roll: Doo Wop: The Wrens

The Wrens   1954

Photo: Val Shively

Source: Pelican Studio

 

Birth of Rock & Roll: Doo Wop: The Alley Cats

The Alley Cats   1963

Source: Marv Goldberg

It was 1955 when baritone vocalist Brice Coefield and Sheridan "Rip" Spencer formed the Sabers in Los Angeles with bass vocalist, Walter Carter, and a first tenor known only as Herbie. They recorded 'Always Forever', then recruited first tenor, Billy Spicer (Billy Storm). The Sabers released 'Always Forever' b/w 'Cool Cool Christmas' on the Cal-West label in 1955. Coefield sang lead on 'Cool Cool Christmas'. As that issue affected little, the Sabers rechristened themselves the Chavelles, also recruiting Squires member, Chester Pipkin. Coefield sang lead on 'Valley Of Love' b/w 'Red Tape', released on Vita in '56. But the Chavelles accurred little as well, so they became the Gents in 1957, releasing 'Happenin' After School'/'My Unfaithful Love' on both Aladdin and Lamp. As not a lot happened of that the Gents became the Valiants. They fared a little better, but after several releases they still couldn't place on the R&B Top 40 so Keen Records terminated their contract. It was at this time that Spicer changed his name to Billy Storm, got together with some Squires members and recorded his first Top 40 song, 'I've Come of Age' (#28 US in April 1959). Coefield meanwhile formed the Untouchables, yet with Spencer, Pipkin and Storm in the larger group. Coefield sang lead on 'Raisin' 'Sugar Cane'/'Do Your Best' and 'You're On Top'/'Lovely Dee' released in 1961. He also sang lead on 'Papa'/'My Baby (Loves A Medicine Man)' in 1962 (sharing lead on 'Papa' with Chester Pipkin). Unable to chart with the Untouchables, Coefield then joined the Alley Cats in 1962 with Spencer and Gary Pipkin (not Chester) part of the larger group, Spencer a partner since the Sabers. Coefield finally made the Top 40 when the Alley Cats' released, 'Puddin' n' Tain', placing at #21 in 1962, backed with 'Feel So Good'. In 1963 Coefield and Spencer, again with Chester Pipkin from the Untouchables, released 'Summertime Nights'/'Papa, Shame' with the Happy Tones ('Summertime Nights' recorded in '61). In 1966 Coefield sang lead on 'Mary Mary' with the Electras, Storm, Spencer and Chester Pipkin also in the group. Coefield issued a solo record that year for Omen as well: 'Ain't That Right'/'Just One More Night'. Coefield was found with Africa in the latter sixties. Storm, Spencer, and Chester and Gary Pipkin were also part of the larger group. With Africa, Coefield sang lead on 'Here I Stand'/'Widow' (1968) and 'From Africa With Love'/'Savin' All My Love' (1969). Lead was shared with Billy Storm on 'Here I Stand'. Tracks below are alphabetical, not chronological, by year. (More of the Valiants and Untouchables under Billy Storm.)

Brice Coefield   1955

   Always Forever/Cool, Cool Christmas

      With the Sabers   Lead: Rip Spencer

   Red Tape

       With the Chavelles

Brice Coefield   1958

   Walkin' Girl

      With the Valiants

Brice Coefield   1960

   Cha Cha Twist

   New Fad

      With the Untouchables   Lead: Chester Pipkin

   Poor Boy Needs a Preacher

      With the Untouchables   Lead: Chester Pipkin

Brice Coefield   1961

   You're On Top

       With the Untouchables

   Raisin' Sugar Cane/Do Your Best

      With the Untouchables

   Lovely Dee

      With the Untouchables

Brice Coefield   1963

   Puddin N' Tain

      With the Alley Cats   Recorded 1962

Brice Coefield   1966

   Ain't That Right

 

 
  From Brooklyn, the Fi-Tones were originally the Cavaliers formed in 1952. They acquired Tommy Robinson for a manager and released 'You Thrill Me So' b/w 'Dynaflow'' for Atlas in 1953. (Atlas misspelled their name as the Caverliers.) Their first session had been followed by another the same day in which they backed Roscoe Thorne on 'Dolores' and 'Peddler of Dreams'. At that time the Cavaliers consisted of Leroy Randolph (lead), Cecil Holmes (1st tenor/baritone), Lester Gardner (tenor/piano), Ron Anderson (bass) and Marlowe Murray (1st tenor). At the time the Cavaliers became the Fi-Tones and recorded their first single, original personnel consisted of Lloyd Davis (baritone/guitar), Cecil Holmes (1st tenor/baritone), Gene Redd Jr. (tenor/piano), Ron Anderson (bass) and Marlowe Murray (1st tenor). The Fi-Tones made their first record release in September of 1955: 'Foolish Dreams' b/w 'Let's Fall In Love'. They unleashed a stream of recordings into 1959 but never managed to place on Billboard's national charts. The group was reconfigured in 1964 and became the Lloyd Davis Orchestra in the seventies, employed as the house band at the Blue Morocco Lounge in Bronx. Ron Anderson went another way, forming the Versatiles.

The Cavaliers   1953

   Dolores/Peddlar of Dreams

    Backing Roscoe Thorne

   You Thrill Me So/Dynaflow

The Fi-Tones   1955

   Foolish Dreams/Let's Fall In Love

   It Wasn't A Lie

The Fi-Tones   1956

   I Call To You

   Love You Baby

The Fi-Tones   1957

   My Faith/My Heart

The Fi-Tones   1958

   Wake Up

The Fi-Tones   1959

   Deep In My Heart

The Fi-Tones   1960

   Minnie

 

Birth of Rock & Roll: Doo Wop: The Fi-Tones

The Fi-Tones

Source: Vocal Group Harmony

Birth of Rock & Roll: Doo Wop: The Heartbeats

The Heartbeats

Source: D00-Wop Blogg

 

Formed in 1953 in Jamaica Queens, the Hearts changed their name to the Heartbeats to avoid confusion with a female doo wop group by that name. Its original members were Vernon Sievers (baritone), Wally Roker (bass), Albert Crump (first tenor), Robbie Tatum (second tenor) and lead vocalist, James Sheppard. 'Crazy For You' and 'Rockin-N-Rollin-N-Rhythm-N-Blues-N' was their first release in September 1955. In December of 1956 the group released 'A Thousand Miles Away' b/w 'Oh Baby Don't', the former to achieve a No. 5 spot on Billboard's R&B. That was, however, the Heartbeats' last arrival to Billboards' national charts. A succession of issues into 1959 failed to affect a lot, the Heartbeats hanging their hat that year. Sheppard continued onward to form the Limelites. That group recorded until 1965 and performed until Sheppard's death in January 1970.

The Heartbeats   1955

   Crazy For You

The Heartbeats   1956

   Darling How Long

   Oh Baby Don't

   A Thousand Miles Away

The Heartbeats   1957

   Everybody’s Somebody’s Fool

   I Won’t Be The Fool Anymore

The Heartbeats   1958

   Down On My Knees

The Heartbeats   1960

   It's All Right/Lonely Lover

 

 
  Lead tenor Billy Storm (Billy Spicer) was born in Dayton, Ohio, in 1938. He began his recording career in 1955 with Brice Coefield and the Sabers: 'Always Forever'/'Cool Cool Christmas'. Lead on those were Rip Spencer and Coefield respectively. He, Spencer, Coefield and Chester Pipkin then formed the Chavelles. Rather swiftly deciding that the Chavelles weren't the equation they were seeking, the four then recorded 'Happenin' After School'/'My Unfaithful Love' in 1957 as the Gents. They then formed the Valiants. In 1958 while with the Valiants Storm changed his name from Spicer to Storm. During his time with the Valiants he also sang with the Squires. After several releases the Valiants couldn't rise to the R&B Top 40, so the formula was changed yet again to the Untouchables. (It is said trumpeter Herb Alpert made his recording debut on 'Papa' in 1961. Judging by the track below, one wouldn't know it.) While singing with the Untouchables Storm launched a solo career, finally releasing his first Top 40 song, 'I've Come of Age', in 1959. Storm sang with the Electras, a group formed by Chester Pipkin, in 1961: 'You Lied'/'Ten Steps To Love'. (They were called the Electras on the Infinity label, the Freedoms on Constellation.) In 1962 he recorded 'Just A Friend'/'Cap Snapper' with the Nuggets as William Jones. 1964 found him grooving 'Flamingo'/'Someone's In The Kitchen With Dinah' with a group called the Charades. Storm first recorded with Africa in 1966: 'Please Don't Mention Her Name'/'The Warmest Love'. Storm appeared with the Brothers and Sisters on the Bob Dylan album, 'Dylan's Gospel', in 1969. (More of the Valiants and Untouchables under Brice Coefield.) Tracks below are chronological only by year, alphabetical thereafter.

Billy Storm   1955

   Always, Forever

      With the Sabers:   Lead: Rip Spencer

Billy Storm   1956

   Valley of Love

      With the Chavelles

Billy Storm   1957

   Good Golly Miss Molly

      With the Valiants

   This Is the Night

      With the Valiants

Billy Storm   1958

   Frieda, Frieda

      With the Valiants

   Lover Lover

      With the Valiants

   Every Word Of The Song

      As Billy Jones with the Squires

   Temptation Of My Heart

      With the Valiants

   The Way To My Heart/Angel Of Mine

      As Billy Jones with the Squires

   We Knew

      With the Valiants

Billy Storm   1959

   Dear Cindy

      With the Valiants

   Easy Chair

   I've Come Of Age

   You Just Can't Plan These Things

Billy Storm   1961

   Dear One/When You Dance

   Goodnight Sweetheart, Goodnight

       With the Untouchables

   A Kiss From Your Lips

      With the Storms

   You Lied/Ten Steps To Love

      With the Electras

Billy Storm   1962

   Don't Let Go

   Just A Friend

      With the Nuggets

   Love Theme From El Cid

   Puppy Love Is Here To Stay

Billy Storm   1963

   Educated Fool

Billy Storm   1966

   Please Don't Mention Her Name

 

Birth of Rock & Roll: Doo Wop: Billy Storm

Billy Storm

Source: Last FM

Birth of Rock & Roll: Doo Wop: The Turbans

The Turbans

Source: Russ & Gary's

It was 1955 in Philadelphia when the Turbans signed their first recording contract with Herald Records. Formed in 1953, original Turbans personnel were Al Banks (lead tenor), Matthew Platt (second tenor), Charlie Williams (baritone), and Andrew "Chet" Jones (bass). Their first release was 'Let Me Show You' with 'When You Dance' on rear. That climbed to Billboard's peak position in R&B, after which the Turbans never charted again to speak of ('When You Dance' at #114). Shuffling from label to label to not a lot of affect, the Turbans issued their last recording, 'I Wonder'/'The Damage Is Done', in 1962.

The Turbans   1955

   Let Me Show You (Around My Heart)

   Tick Tock A Woo

   When You Dance

The Turbans   1956

   B-I-N-G-O (Bingo)

   I'm Nobody's

The Turbans   1960

   Diamonds And Pearls

The Turbans   1962

   This Is My Story

 

 
  The Chips were among the briefest-lived groups in doo wop. They came and went so fast that the photo to the right is out of focus. Recording 'Rubber Biscuit' in 1956, they toured for a while, then broke up in 1957. Only Sammy Strain continued to pursue a musical profession, later joining the Imperials, then the O'Jays, then the Imperials again until retirement in 2004. Not to be confused with the later Chips who became the Astors.

The Chips   1956

   Rubber Biscuit

 

Birth of Rock & Roll: Doo Wop: The Chips

The Chips

Photo: doo-wop.blogg.org

Source: Doo-Wop Blogg



  The Cleftones originally formed in 1955 as the Silvertones at Jamaica High School in Queens. They recorded their first song that same year, 'You Baby You' with 'I Was Dreaming' flip side, released in 1956. 'Little Girl of Mine' peaked on Billboard's R&B at #8 later that year. In 1961 'Heart and Soul' climbed that chart to #10. Personnel at that time was Gene Pearson, Charles James, Pat Spann, Warren Corbin and Herb Cox (in order respective to the photo to the right). Spann, the group's only female vocalist, had joined the Cleftones in 1959 and departed in '67 to be, by then, the mother of a couple children. After 'Heart and Soul' the Cleftones pretty much ceased to chart, though various configurations of the group continued into the new millennium. Herb Cox & Cleftones released 'My Angel Lover'/You Lost The Game Of Love' as late as 1990. The album, 'Live Today', again with Cox, was released in 2002.

The Cleftones   1956

   You Baby You/I Was Dreaming

The Cleftones   1957

   Why You Do Me Like You Do

The Cleftones   1961

   There She Goes

 

Birth of Rock & Roll: Doo Wop: The Cleftones

The Cleftones   1961

Source: Kip's American Graffiti

 

Birth of Rock & Roll: Doo Wop: The Coasters

The Coasters

Source: Russ & Gary's

R&B group, the Coasters, originally consisted of Carl Gardner, Billy Guy, Bobby Nunn, Leon Hughes and guitarist, Adolph Jacobs (leaving in '59). Young Jessie replaced Hughes on a couple of early recordings. The Coasters made their studio debut with Atco Records in January of 1956. That February they issued 'Down in Mexico' b/w 'Turtlle Dovin'. 'Down in Mexico' peaked at #8 on Billboard's R&B. 'One Kiss Led to Another' reached the #11 tier later that year. The Coasters were one of doo wop's more successful groups. In 1957 they topped Billboard's R&B twice with 'Searchin' and 'Young Blood' released back to back. 1958 saw 'Yakety Yak' reach #1, followed by 'Charlie Brown' at #2. 'Poison Ivy' reached Billboard's #1 spot in 1959. The Coasters' last tune to disturb the Top Forty was 'T'ain't Nothin' to Me' in 1964. Leon Hughes is the last surviving member of the original Coasters, yet performing as of this writing.

The Coasters   1956

   Down in Mexico

   Turtle Dovin'

The Coasters   1957

   Young Blood

   Searchin'

The Coasters   1958

   Yakety Yak

The Coasters   1965

   Let's Go Get Stoned

 

 

Birth of Rock & Roll: Doo Wop: The Dubs

The Dubs   1957

Source: Marv Goldberg

It was 1956 when the Dubs released their first record as the Marvels ('I Won't Have You Breaking My Heart'/'Jump Rock And Roll'). The Dubs' original members were Richard Blandon (lead), Cleveland Still (first tenor), Billy Carlisle (second tenor), James Miller (baritone) and Thomas Gardner (bass), replaced in 1957 by Tommy Grate. Their first releases as the Dubs were 'Don’t Ask Me To Be Lonely' and 'Could This Be Magic'. 'Could This Be Magic' was their only song to place in the Top Forty at No. 23 on Billboard's US chart. The Dubs wrapped up business in November of '58, though Blandon, who was singing with the Vocaleers, reconfigured the group in '59, various formations occurring into the nineties even after Blandon's death in 1991.

The Marvels   1956

   I Won't Have You Breaking My Heart

   Jump Rock And Roll

The Dubs   1957

   Could This Be Magic

   Don’t Ask Me To Be Lonely

The Dubs   1958

   Beside My Love

   Be Sure My Love

   Chapel of Dreams

 

 

Birth of Rock & Roll: Doo Wop: The Falcons

The Falcons   1957

Source: Marv Goldberg

The Falcons first came together in 1955, comprised of Eddie Floyd (lead), Bob Manardo, Arnett Robinson, Tom Shetler and Willie Schofield. The group released its first vinyl in 1956: 'Baby That's It' with 'This Day'. It took the Falcons another three years to penetrate the Top Forty, 'Just For Your Love' rising to #26 on Billboard's R&B in 1959. They followed that the same year with 'You're So Fine' peaking at #2. Their next and last to chart in the Top Ten was 'I Found a Love' in 1962. The Falcons saw its demise in 1963, though a later configuration with entirely different personnel arose to wear the name, releasing 'Standing On Guard' in 1966. They largely vanished from history after that.

The Falcons   1956

   Baby That's It

The Falcons   1957

   My Only Love/Now That It's Over

The Falcons   1958

   This Heart of Mine

The Falcons   1959

   Country Shack

   Goddess Of Angels

   You Must Know I Love You

   You're So Fine

The Falcons   1960

   The Teacher

The Falcons   1962

   I Found a Love

 

 
  The Five Satins, formed in New Haven, Connecticut, in 1954, released their first single, 'All Mine'/'Rose Mary' in 1956 on the Standord label (recorded 1955). 'In the Still of the Nite' followed in '56 with 'The Jones Girl' A side, reaching the No. 3 spot on Billboard's R&B. The group consisted at that time of Jim Freeman, Fred Parris, Ed Martin, Nat Mosley and Al Derby, but personnel would soon continuously alter. 'To the Aisle' in 1957 stopped rising at #5. In 1958 Fred Parris briefly formed the Scarlets to issue 'The Voice' and 'She's Gone' on Klik Records. (That Scarlets is not to be confused with the earlier Scarlets which issued 'Dear One', 'Love Doll' and 'Darlin' I'm Yours' in 1954.) Though 'To the Aisle' was the Five Satins' last song to chart on a Billboard Top Ten, indeed, nigh at all, they yet occasionally perform as of this writing nearly six decades later, led by Fred Parris and Richie Freeman (part of the Scarlets crew, later a long-standing member of the Five Satins).

The Five Satins   1956

   All Mine

   In The Still Of The Night

   To the Aisle/Wish I Had My Baby

The Five Satins   1957

   Our Anniversary

The Five Satins   1960

   I'll Be Seeing You

The Five Satins   1962

   Do You Remember

 

Birth of Rock & Roll: Doo Wop: The Five Satins

The Five Satins

Source: Tunes Zone

  The Four Tops were among the first of what would come to be called the Motown sound, a subgenre of R&B in the sixties and disco in the seventies. The Motown sound came to be due much to record producer, Berry Gordy, who founded Tamla, then Motown Records, in Detroit in 1959. Numerous Motown groups besides the Four Tops would be handled by Gordy at Motown: Smokey Robinson & the Miracles, the Contours, the Supremes, the Temptations, Martha & the Vandellas, to name but several. The Four Tops were formed in high school in Detroit with baritone, Levi Stubbs, as lead. They first recorded in 1956 on the Chess label as the Four Aims: 'Could It Be You' and 'Kiss Me Baby'. The Aims soon changed their name to the Four Tops to avoid confusion with a pop group called the Ame Brothers. A favorite rival to the Temptations, the Four Tops were among the most successful four-part harmonies in early rock n' roll. But it would take them until 1964 to begin placing in the Top Ten, 'Baby I Need Your Loving' reaching No. 4. 'I Can't Help Myself' topped both the R&B and US charts in May of 1965. 'Reach Out I'll Be There' did the same in September of 1966.  Numerous visits to Billboard's Top Ten were made until 1981 (above twenty) when 'When She Was My Girl' claimed No. 1 on the R&B. They would thereafter have to be satisfied with the Top Forty in the States, their last to so rise in 1988 being 'If Ever a Love There Was' at #31. 1988 also saw their last to score in the Top Ten in Great Britain with 'Loco In Acapulco' rising to #7. Among the factors that made the Four Tops such a huge success is that they stuck together. Their original personnel of Levi Stubbs, Abdul Fakir, Renaldo Benson and Lawrence Payton remained the same for the several years that they got nowhere while honing their craft, and they performed together until 1997 when Payton died, personnel changes thereafter occurring into the new millennium. The Four Tops were elected into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1990 and the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 1999. They were elected into the newly formed R&B Hall of Fame in 2013. 'Billboard' magazine has placed them at #77 on their Top 100 Artists of All Time. 'Rolling Stone' has placed them at #79 on their 100 Greatest list.

The Four Tops   1956

   Could It Be You/Kiss Me Baby

      As the Four Aims

The Four Tops   1960

   Lonely Summer

The Four Tops   1964

   Baby I Need Your Loving

The Four Tops   1965

   I Can't Help Myself

The Four Tops   1966

   It's The Same Old Song

      Filmed live

   Reach Out I'll Be There

      'Ed Sullivan Show'

The Four Tops   1967

   Bernadette

   If I Were a Carpenter

The Four Tops   1968

   Walk Away Renee

The Four Tops   1970

   Still Waters Run Deep

    Album 

The Four Tops   1972

   Keeper of the Castle

The Four Tops   1977

   Feel Free

      Live on 'Soul Train'

The Four Tops   1981

   When She Was My Girl

      Live on 'Fridays'

The Four Tops   1987

   I Believe In You and Me

 

Birth of Rock & Roll: Doo Wop: The Four Tops

The Four Tops

Source: Inside the Rock Era

Birth of Rock & Roll: Doo Wop: The G-Clefs

The G-Clefs

Source: Marv Goldberg

The G-Clefs, originally the Bob-O-Links, formed in Boston circa 1952. Initial personnel were Ray Gipson (first tenor) and Joe Jordan (bass), with the brothers, Chris (second tenor), Teddy (baritone) and Tim Scott (baritone/bass/guitar). The G-Clefs gave their first public performances at a skating rink converted into a dance hall on Friday nights. They made their first demo in 1953 ('Ka-Ding Dong' and 'I'll Remember All Your Kisses'), but didn't release a record until 1956. Their first release was 'Ka-Ding Dong' with 'Darla, My Darlin'' on back. 'Ka-Ding Dong' took up residence on Billboard's R&B on the ninth floor. They appeared at the Apollo Theater in NYC for the first time in September of '56 ($500 for the week with a hotel bill for $750, notes Marv Goldberg). The G-Clefs notched Billboard's US chart at No. 9 in 1961 for 'I Understand', after which their Billboard stats remained negligible. But the G-Clefs didn't need Billboard to make a noise via performances. In 1967 they recorded the live album 'The G-Clefs On Stage' and pressed it on their own Spotlite label. Their first tour to Europe occurred the following year. They toured there again in 1970, as well as Japan in '70 and '71. The group performed into the new millennium as Ray Gipson (first tenor) with the brothers, Chris (second tenor), Teddy (baritone), Tim (baritone/bass/guitar) and Arnold (with the group since 1957 or '58). Ray Gipson died in January 2015.

The G-Clefs   1956

   'Cause You're Mine

   Ka-Ding Dong/Darla, My Darlin'

The G-Clefs   1957

   Zing Zang Zoo/Is This The Way

The G-Clefs   1962

   (There Never Was A Dog Like) LAD

 

 
  Originally the Charlemagnes, that group became the Blue Notes in 1954 with Harold Melvin its lead singer for a time. Melvin was a self-taught pianist born in 1939 in Philadelphia, which would become a hub for soul music as Melvin reached his prime years. The Blue Notes released their first single in 1956: 'If You Love Me'. Melvin's Blue Notes at that time consisted of Bernard Williams, Roosevelt Brodie, Jesse Gillis Jr. and Franklin Peaker at lead. It would be another four years until the group charted on Billboard's R&B in 1960 with 'My Hero' reaching No. 19. Not until the seventies did the Blue Notes arrive to their glory days. Part of that equation was the replacement of lead singer since the mid sixties, John Atkins, with Teddy Pendergrass in 1970. Pendergrass had been a drummer with the Cadillacs. In 1972 'I Miss You' peaked at #7 on Billboard's R&B. 'If You Don't Know Me By Now' topped that chart the same year. 'The Love I Lost' topped the chart in 1973, 'Wake Up Everybody' in 1975. The meanwhile releasing other Top Ten singles, their last was 'Reaching for the World' in 1977. Pendergrass, become the group's main draw, had left the Blue Notes in '77 prior to that to pursue a solo career. He'd been replaced by David Ebo, with whom the group released its last Top Forty as well, 'Playin'', in 1980. Gil Saunders assumed Ebo's place at lead from '82 to '92, but by then the Blue Notes had seen their day. Melvin endured a stroke in 1996, dying the next year in March. Pendergrass, who had enjoyed a spectacular career into the nineties, died relatively young as well, at age 59 in January of 2010 of respiratory failure.

Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes   1956

   If You Love Me (Really Love Me)

Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes   1960

   She Is Mine

Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes   1967

   Go Away

Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes   1972

   If You Don't Know By Now

     Live on 'Soul Train'

Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes   1973

   The Love I Lost

Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes   1974

   Satisfaction Guaranteed

Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes   1975

   To Be True

Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes   1977

   Don't Leave Me This Way

Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes   1981

   Tell Me Why

      Album: 'All Things Happen In Time'

 

Birth of Rock & Roll: Doo Wop: Harold Melvin

Harold Melvin

Source: Inside the Rock Era

Birth of Rock & Roll: Doo Wop: The Linc-Tones

The Linc-Tones   1955

Source: Neil Sedaka

From Brooklyn, the Linc-Tones were formed in 1956 by high school students Hank Medress, Neil Sedaka. Eddie Rabkin and Cynthia Zolitin. They released their first recordings in 1956 ('While I Dream/I Love My Baby' their debut), after which they reshaped into the Tokens (as in "tokens of affection"). It took them several years to begin appearing on Billboard's charts. 'Tonight I Fell In Love' placed at #15 On Billboard's US in 1961. Later that year 'The Lion Sleeps Tonight' topped Billboard's US #1 (Billboard's R&B at #7). That was a major success tough to follow. The group sporadically placed in the Top Forty until 1969, 'She Let's Down Her Hair' the last to do so, peaking at #34 on Billboard's AC (Adult Contemporary). The Tokens were another of those doo wop groups that evolved through so many personnel changes that one requires quantum computing to keep track of it. Suffice it to say that of the original Linc-Tones the core members of the Tokens were Medress and Sedaka, the latter soon leaving to pursue a solo career. The group had well run its course by the time Medress left in 1973. New configurations of the group arose into the new millennium, notably that formed by Jay Siegel, with the group since 1956. The Tokens yet perform as of this writing. Below, as the Linc-Tones, Sedaka sings lead on 'While I Dream', Rabkin sings lead on 'I Love My Baby' and Zolitin takes lead on 'Lover Lips'. Included below are a couple tracks by Darrell & the Oxfords, a group formed by Mendress and Tokens member, Jay Siegel.

The Linc-Tones   1956

   Don't Go/Come Back Joe

   While I Dream/I Love My Baby

   Lover Lips

Darrell & the Oxfords   1959

   Picture In My Wallet/Roses Are Red

The Tokens   1961

   The Lion Sleeps Tonight

   Tonight I Fell In Love

The Tokens   1964

   Little Hot Rod Suzie

   My Friend's Car

   Swing

The Tokens   1967

   Bye Bye Bye

   It's a Happening World

   Portrait Of My Love

The Tokens   1968

   How Nice

The Tokens   1969

   She Let's Her Hair Down

 

Birth of Rock & Roll: Doo Wop: The Tokens

The Tokens

Source: Blog de Rock en Mexico

  Frankie Lymon, from Harlem, was born in 1942 to a maid and a truck driver. He was the elder brother of Louie Lymon. According to Frankie, in an interview with 'Ebony Magazine', he was pimping at age ten to augment income earned as a bagger at a grocery store. Howsoever, he released his first recording with the Teenagers at age 14 in 1956: 'Why Do Fools Fall In Love', recorded for Gee Records in '55. That was one of five singles he placed on Billboard's R&B Top Ten that year. The others were 'Who Can Explain?' (#7), 'I Want You to Be My Girl' (#3), 'I Promise to Remember' (#10) and 'The ABC's of Love' (#8). He continued into the Top Ten in 1957 with 'Out In the Cold Again' peaking at Billboard's #10 spot. That was the year Lymon left the Teenagers for a solo career that wasn't nearly so spectacular. Nor was that of the Teenagers, phantoms by the early sixties. Drafted into the Army in 1965, Lymon was dishonorably discharged in 1967 for multiple AWOL charges as he attempted to stay active with gigs. He had wed Emira Eagle earlier that year. He died at the age of only 25 of a heroin overdose in his grandmother's bathroom, having first used the drug at age fifteen.

Frankie Lymon   1956

   Baby Baby

   I'm Not A Juvenille Delinquent

   I'm Not A Know-It-All-Gee

   I Want You To Be My Girl

   Why Do Fools Fall in Love

Frankie Lymon   1957

   Out In the Cold Again

Frankie Lymon   1958

   Goody Goody

    Television performance

 

Birth of Rock & Roll: Doo Wop: Frankie Lymon & the Teenagers

Frankie Lymon & the Teenagers

Photo: Gee Records

Source: Michael Jackson Zene

Birth of Rock & Roll: Doo Wop: Lewis Lymon & the Teenchords

Lewis Lymon & the Teenchords

Source: Discogs

 

Lewis Lymon grew up in Harlem with his elder brother, Frankie Lymon. He made his first recordings with the Teenchords in 1956: 'I'm So Happy' with 'Lydia' flip side. Frankie had preceded Lewis to the recording studio that year, but Lewis who was two years younger, born in 1944, was quick at his heels in all but the audience he could draw. Having never placed on a Billboard chart, the Teenchords made their last recording in 1958 for the Juanita label: 'Dance Girl'/'Them There Eyes'. Lymon bowed off into the sunset after a release with the Townsmen in 1961, singing lead on only the first side: 'I Can't Go On'/'That's All I'll Ever Need'. Lymon's induction into the Army in the early sixties put the brakes on his career. He reincarnated the Teenchords in the seventies, and performed on occasion into the new millennium in some or other capacity. He is since deceased as of 2013.

Louie Lymon   1956

   I'm So Happy

   Lydia

Louie Lymon   1957

   Dance Girl

   Honey Honey/Please Tell The Angels

   Your Last Chance

 

 

Birth of Rock & Roll: Doo Wop: The Quintones

The Quintones

Photo: Phil Schwartz

Source: Rocker Stomp

Originally the Quintones first recorded in 1956, backing Jimmy Witherspoon's 'Still In Love' and 'My Girl Ivy'. At that time the group was comprised of Freddy Brown (first tenor), Donald Lawrence (first/second tenor), Dusty Moye (second tenor), Gerald Johnson (baritone) and Leon McClain (bass). They changed their name to the Quinns in 1957 to avoid confusion with other bands called the Quintones. Their first release as the Quinns was 'Oh Starlight' b/w 'Hong Kong'. At that time personnel was Freddy Brown, Donald Lawrence, Richie Brown, Gerald Johnson and Leon McClain. As neither could the the Quinns gain position on a Billboard chart, they abandoned ship in 1965.

The Quintones   1956

   Still In Love

      With Jimmy Witherspoon

The Quinns   1957

   Hong Kong

   Oh Starlight

The Quinns   1960

   Unfaithful

 

 
  The Velours, from Brooklyn, were originally the Troubadours, formed in 1953. They changed their name to the Velours in 1956. They released their first dish, 'My Love Come Back' with 'Honey Drop' flip side, in July 1956 for the Onyx label. At that time the group consisted of Jerome Ramos (tenor), John Cheatdom (first tenor), Donald Haywoode (second tenor), Marvin Holland (bass) and Kenneth Walker (lead tenor). Personnel changes would rapidly occur, including the addition that year of piano player, Calvin McClean, the replacement at baritone by John Pearson, and at bass by Charles Moffitt. The Velours claimed Billboard's US chart at No. 83 twice in 1957 and 1958 with 'Can I Come Over Tonight' and 'Remember'. They wouldn't chart again. By 1961 things were getting discouraging, group members falling away. By 1967 it was Ramos, Haywoode, John Cheatdom and new tenor, Richard Pitts. The end of the Velours that year was a surprise, finding themselves billed as the Fabulous Temptations on a tour of the UK. They billed themselves as the Fantastics on their next tour there the next year, also beginning to record as such in 1968. Pitts left in 1972. Moffitt resurrected the Velours in 1975. He ran the group until he was shot to death in 1986. Eulis Mason assumed his place and may yet be performing as of this writing. As for Cheatdom, after the Fantastics he went on to put the Realistics together in 1976, touring internationally until 1983.

The Velours   1956

   Honey Drop

   My Love Come Back

   Romeo

The Velours   1957

   Can I Come Over Tonight

   This Could Be The Night

The Velours   1959

   Blue Velvet/Tired Of Your Rock & Rolling

The Velours   1967

   I'm Gonna Change

 

Birth of Rock & Roll: Doo Wop: The Velours

The Velours   1957

Source: Marv Goldberg

 

The Belmonts portion of Dion and the Belmonts were so named because two pairs of the group lived near a Belmont Avenue, one in Bronx, the other in Brooklyn. Dion DiMucci was himself born in Bronx in 1939. DiMucci gave his first performance at age fourteen in Philadelphia on the 'Teen Club' television show. In 1957 DiMucci bought some studio time to record four singles for his mother as a Valentines Day gift. Those caught the attention of Irv Spice at Mohawk Records who teamed DiMucci with a group called the Timberlanes. Mohawk released 'The Chosen Few' with 'Out In Colorado' in 1957 for air time, then handed it over to Jubilee for distribution. Also releasing their first record with Mohawk that year was a trio called the Belmonts. Consisting of Freddie Milano (2nd tenor with Dion), Carlo Mastrangelo (bass/baritone with Dion) and Angelo D'Aleo (1st tenor with Dion), they issued 'Teenage Clementine'/'Santa Margherita' with Milano as lead on 'Teenage Clementine' and D'Aleo as lead on 'Santa Margherita'. Dimucci hadn't known the Timberlanes when he recorded with them. Thinking them not his style, he was teamed with the Belmonts for their first release in 1957 as Dion & the Belmonts: 'We Went Away'/'Tag Along', also for Mohawk. The group then moved to Laurie Records where 'I Wonder Why' reached Billboard's #22 spot in 1958, after which they found themselves on Dick Clark's 'Saturday Night Beechnut Show'. 'No One Knows' reached Billboard's #12 in R&B the same year. The group enjoyed two Top Ten singles in 1959: 'A Teenager in Love' at #5 and 'Where Or When' at #3. The Belmonts split from DiMucci in 1960, their first issue for Laurie apart from him was 'We Belong Together'. DiMucci continued onward to a solo career, releasing the album, 'Alone With Dion', in 1960. In 1961 DiMucci saw 'Runaround Sue' go gold, topping Billboard at #1. He then left the band to go solo, using the Del Satins for a backup group. He then began to tour internationally and entered his blues period in the latter sixties. DiMucci reunited with the Belmonts in 1966 for the release of the LP, 'Together Again', in 1967, to small success. They reunited again in 1972, recording a live album at Madison Square Garden. A final reunion was held at Nassau Coliseum on Long Island in 1973. DiMucci turned to Catholicism in 1979, releasing gospel into the eighties. He was back with rock in 1987 for a concert at Radio City Music Hall in NYC (released on CD in 2005). In 1988 Dimucci issued his autobiography, 'The Wanderer', written with assistance from Davin Seay. In 1989 he was elected into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame per his solo career. (He'd placed nine songs on Billboard's US Top Ten between 1961 and 1968.) Dion & the Belmonts were inducted into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 2000. DiMucci has performed well into the new millennium, releasing 'Tank Full of Blues' in 2012.

Dion and the Belmonts   1957

   Santa Margherita

   Teenage Clementine

Dion and the Belmonts   1958

   I Wonder Why

Dion and the Belmonts   1959

   That's My Desire

   A Teenager In Love

    'Saturday Night Beech-Nut Show'

   A Teenager In Love

    Studio Version

Dion and the Belmonts   1961

   Tell Me Why

 

Birth of Rock & Roll: Doo Wop: The Belmonts

The Belmonts

Source: Bons Tempos

 

The Bobbettes were among a number of doo wop bands hailing from Harlem in the fifties. The group included Reather Dixon, Laura Webb, Helen Gathers and sisters, Emma and Jannie Pought. They first came together as the Harlem Queens. Upon finding a manager, James Dailey, he changed their name to the Bobbettes before signing up the girls with Atlantic. They released their first single, 'Mr. Lee' in 1957, backed with 'Look At the Stars'. 'Mr. Lee' topped Billboard's R&B chart and placed at #6 on its US chart. Several other releases made their way into the Top 100, 'I Don't Like It Like That' their last in 1961 at #72. The group eventually disbanded in 1974 to tour the oldies circuit. As of this writing Emma Pought remains the last surviving member of the Bobbettes.

The Bobbettes   1957

   Mr. Lee

   Look At the Stars

The Bobbettes   1958

   Um Bow Bow

   Zoomy

The Bobbettes   1960

   Dance With Me Georgie

The Bobbettes   1961

   Mr. Johnny Q

   Teach Me Tonight

The Bobbettes   1962

   Over There

 

Birth of Rock & Roll: Doo Wop: The Bobbettes

The Bobbettes   1960

Source: Marv Goldberg

Birth of Rock & Roll: Doo Wop: The Chantels

The Chantels

Source: Old School Music Lover

 

Arlene Smith, hailing from the Bronx, was composer and lead singer of the female doo wop group, the Chantels. Together with Smith the original group was comprised of Sonia Goring, Rene Minus, Jackie Landry Jackson and Lois Harris. The girls had gone to school at St. Anthony of Padua in Bronx, naming themselves after a rival school, St. Frances de Chantal. The Chantels released their first record, 'He's Gone', in August of 1957. It placed on Billboard's US pop chart at #71. 'Maybe' climbed to #2 on Billboard's R&B in 1958. 'Every Night' and 'I Love You So' reached the Top Twenty in 1958 as well (#16 and #14 respectively). Smith left the group in 1959 for a solo career, as well as Harris to go to college. Smith was replaced by Annie Smith (no relation) and the group continued as a quartet. In 1959 'Look In My Eyes' peaked at #6 on Billboard's R&B. 'Well, I Told You' (a response to Ray Charles' 'Hit the Road, Jack') sold well in 1961, hanging out at #29 on Billboard's US. Personnel began shifting around again in the early sixties, its mainstays during that decade being Jackie Landry, Sonia Goring and Renee Minus. Arlene Smith released one single with the same in 1970. Smith reformed the Cnantels for a time in the seventies but her solo career took priority. The Chantels were resurrected in 1995 with Naemi Ortiz at lead. Smith sang with the Chantels the last time on a 1999 PBS broadcast called 'Doo Wop 50', singing 'Maybe'. The Chantels with Ortiz yet perform as of this writing, consisting of Sonia Goring Wilson, Lois Harris Powell, Renee Minus White.

The Chantels   1957

   He's Gone

The Chantels   1958

   Every Night (I Pray)

    Maybe

 

 

Birth of Rock & Roll: Doo Wop: The Charts

The Charts 1957

Source: Marv Goldberg

 

Originally called the Thrilltones upon formation in 1956, the Charts were a Harlem group that released its first single, 'Deserie', in May of 1957. The original ensemble consisted of Joe Grier (lead), Stephen Brown (first tenor), Glenmore Jackson (second tenor), Leroy Binns (baritone) and Ross Buford (bass). Grier was drafted into the Army in 1958, after which he pursued the saxophone (featured on 'Wobble Wobble' in 1962 by the Soul Rockers). Brown and Binns kept the Charts, which never charted, performing into the eighties. Grier resurrected the group with new members in 1985. He and Binns performed with another version of the group on the PBS broadcast of 'Red, White and Rock' in 2002.

The Charts   1957

   Dance Girl/Why Do You Cry

   Deserie

 

 

Birth of Rock & Roll: Doo Wop: The Crests

The Crests

Source: Discogs

Johnny Maestro (John Mastrangelo) joined the Crests as their lead vocalist in 1956. The Crests released their first discs for Joyce Records the following year: 'My Juanita/'Sweetest One' and 'No One To Love'/'Wish She Was Mine'. the following year. 'Sweetest One' managed to reach the #86 spot on Billboard's US pop chart. Moving to Coed Records in 1958, they recorded 'Twenty-One Candles', released as 'Sixteen Candles', and peaked at #2 (#4 on the R&B) with it. They never duplicated that success but managed to place several songs in the Top Forty until 1960, 'Trouble In Paradise' their last. Maestro left the Crests in 1961 to pursue a solo career. He gained a couple spots on the Top Forty that year with 'Model Girl' (#20) and 'What a Surprise' (#33), but wouldn't do so well again until 1968 when he was with the Brooklyn Bridge: 'Worst That Could Happen' filling Billboard's US #3 spot. The Crests continued in one configuration or another into the new millennium. Founder of the Crests and bass vocalist, JT Carter, yet preforms as of this writing. As for Maestro, he continued recording with the Brooklyn Bridge as late as 1988, a span of two decades. But beyond 'Worst That Could Happen' in '68 the only other release by Brooklyn Bridge to reach a Top Forty chart was 'Free As the Wind', peaking at #36 in 1970 on Billboard's AC (Adult Contemporary). Maestro died of cancer at his home in Cape Coral, Florida, in March of 2010.

The Crests   1957

   My Juanita

   Sweetest One

The Crests   1958

   Beside You

   Let Me Be the One

   Let True Love Begin

   Sixteen Candles

   Strange Love

The Crests   1959

   The Angels Listened In

    Television performance

The Crests   1960

   Journey of Love/If My Heart Could Write

   I'll Be True

   Step By Step

The Crests   1962

   Guilty

 

 

Birth of Rock & Roll: Doo Wop: The Del Vikings

The Del Vikings

Source: 7tor

The Del Vikings (also the Dell Vikings per Kripp Johnson at times) originally consisted of Clarence Quick, Kripp Johnson, Don Jackson, Samuel Paterson, Bernard Robertson and Clarence Harvey Ringo. The group was formed in 1955 by four airmen in the Air Force. This initially made it difficult on the group due to changes in tours of duty. Though their original baritone (Samuel Patterson) had to be replaced by Norman Wright they managed to adhere enough to make their first recordings for Fee Bee Records in 1956: 'Come Go with Me'/'How Can I Find True Love'. 'Come Go with Me' reached Billboard's #2 R&B tier (#4 US) in 1957. Kripp Johnson's Dell-Vikings were created in 1957 when he was dropped out of a contract arranged with Mercury Records. Mercury wanted the Del-Vikings but they were on paper to Fee Bee. Turns out that only Kripp Johnson was of legal age (21) when he signed up with Fee Bee. The others were released from their contract and moved to Mercury, retaining the Del-Vikings name. Johnson hung with Fee Bee with the new Dell-Vikings. The Del Vikings (not Dell Vikings) saw the Top Ten twice more in 1957 with 'Whispering Bells' (#5 R&B) and 'Cool Shake' (#9 R&B). They then relatively disappeared from the national spotlight, though they continued recording in one formation or another as late as 1977: 'Hollywood and Vine'/'Welfare Blues' (with Kripp Johnson). None of the original members of the Del Vikings were yet alive when Clarence Quick died in 1983 except Kripp Johnson, who followed in 1990. One of the Del Vikings' later formations performed on the PBS Broadcast of 'Doo Wop 50' in 1999. The group yet performs with much altered personnel as of this writing.

The Del Vikings   1957

   Come Go with Me

   Friendly Moon

   Whispering Bells

   Willette

The Del Vikings   1958

   String Along

   Voodoo Man

The Del Vikings   1961

   I'll Never Stop Crying/Bring Back Your Heart

The Del Vikings   1963

   An Angel Up In Heaven

   Cold Chills

     With the Sonnets

   Too Many Miles/Sorcerer's Apprentice

 

 

Birth of Rock & Roll: Doo Wop: The Isley Brothers

The Isley Brothers

Source: Shady Dell Music

The Isley Brothers were a little unusual as doo wop goes in that they not only remained intact, approaching sixty years now, but have been a stellar soul group nigh the whole time. The Brothers were originally a Gospel group of four: O'Kelly, Rudolph, Ronald and Vernon, until Vernon died at age thirteen (struck by a car as he was riding his bicycle). The group began releasing records in 1957 ('The Cow Jumped Over The Moon'/'Angels Cried' for Teenage Records). But it wasn't all that successful until the release of 'Twist and Shout' in 1962, reaching #2 on Billboard's R&B. From that time until 2001 the Isley Brothers placed 26 songs in the R&B Top Ten alone (their last being 'Contagious' in 2001). That's only the Top Ten in R&B, not counting the Top Twenty, Thirty and Forty, nor Billboard's US and UK charts. Their first to top Billboard's R&B at No. 1 was 'It's Your Thing' in 1969. Younger brothers, Ernie and Marvin, as well as brother-in-law, Chris Jasper, were made members in 1973. 'Fight the Power' topped the R&B chart in 1975, 'The Pride' in 1977. 'Take Me to the Next Phase' reached Billboard's top tier in R&B in 1978, followed by 'I Wanna Be With You' in 1979. The Isley Brothers did it again in 1980 with 'Don't Say Goodnight'. O'Kelly died in 1986. In 1989 Rudolph quit the group to become a minister. Ronald, the last surviving original Isley, yet performs as of this writing. All tracks below from 1985 onward are music videos.

The Isley Brothers   1957

   Angels Cried/The Cow Jumped Over the Moon

      First release

   Don't Be Jealous

The Isley Brothers   1958

   I Wanna Know

   My Love

The Isley Brothers   1959

   Respectable

   Shout Part 1/Shout Part 2

      Studio version

   Shout

      Live on the 'Saturday Night Beech-Nut Show'

The Isley Brothers   1960

   Gypsy Love Song

   Open Up Your Heart

The Isley Brothers   1966

   This Old Heart of Mine

The Isley Brothers   1973

   Summer Breeze

      Live on 'Soul Train'

The Isley Brothers   1974

   Live It Up

      Album: 'Live It Up'

The Isley Brothers   1976

   Harvest For the World

      Album

The Isley Brothers   1980

   Don't Say Goodnight

      Album: 'Go All The Way'

The Isley Brothers   1983

   Here We Go Again

      Album: 'The Isley Brothers Live!'

The Isley Brothers   1985

   Caravan of Love

The Isley Brothers   1986

   Insatiable

The Isley Brothers   1996

   Let's Lay Together

   Tears

The Isley Brothers   2001

   Contagious

The Isley Brothers   2003

   What Would You Do?

 

 

Birth of Rock & Roll: Doo Wop: The Jesters

The Jesters   1958

Source: Discogs

The Jesters were the formation of a group of junior high school students who made their way from singing beneath an elevated train station in Harlem to their first record releases in 1957. The original group consisted of Lenny McKay (lead), Adam Jackson (lead), Anthony Smith (second tenor), Leo Vincent (baritone) and Noel Grant (bass). The Jesters' initial releases were for the Winley label: 'So Strange'/'Love No One But You' and 'Please Let Me Love You'/'I'm Falling in Love'. Its final release in 1961 was also for Winley: 'Uncle Henry's Basement'/'Come Let Me Show You'. Other groups recording as the Jesters on other labels aren't to be confused. The Jesters performed together sporadically into the seventies. They did release a disc for Starlight in 1986: 'What Now My Love'/'The Beating Of My Heart'. Jackson died in 1994.

The Jesters   1957

   Love No One But You

   Please Let Me Love You/I'm Falling in Love

   So Strange

The Jesters   1958

   Oh Baby

The Jesters   1960

   The Wind

 

 
Birth of Rock & Roll: Doo Wop: The Kodaks

The Kodaks

Source: Doo-Wop Blogg
Formed in Newark, New Jersey, someone might have been serving cheese when the Kodaks decided what to call themselves. The original quartet was Jimmy Patrick (lead/first tenor), William Franklin (second tenor), Larry Davis (baritone) and William Miller (bass) until Pearl McKinnon replaced Patrick as lead, making the Kodaks a quintet. The Kodaks released their first record in late 1957 with the Fury label: 'Teenager's Dream' with 'Little Boy and Girl' flip side. Their second release, "Oh Gee, Oh Gosh" b/w "Make Believe World," was in the spring of 1958. That summer Davis and Franklin were replaced by Richard Dixon and Harold Jenkins, present on 'My Baby and Me' b/w 'Kingless Castle' and 'Runaround Baby' b/w 'Guardian Angel'. The Kodaks never attained to national recognition, remaining an East Coast act not large enough for Kodak to sue if it was even aware of the group using its name. They made two more attempts in '58 with 'My Baby and Me'/'Kingless Castle' and 'Guardian Angel'/'Runaround Baby' before Patrick left the group to briefly join the Monotones. Then McKinnon ran off to get married in 1959. The Kodaks continued onward with the J&S and Wink labels but dissolved in 1961. McKinnon formed Pearl & the Deltars in '61, recording a single for Fury to small success. She later became lead singer for a reformation of Teenagers in the seventies.

The Kodaks   1957

   Little Boy and Girl

   Teenager's Dream

The Kodaks   1958

   Guardian Angel

   Kingless Castle

   Runaround Baby

 

 

  The Mello-Kings were a white quintet formed in high school in 1956. Called the Mellotones at first, they consisted of brothers Jerry and Bob Scholl, Eddie Quinn, Neil Arena and Larry Esposito. The Mello-Kings released their first record, 'Tonite Tonite' with 'Do Baby Do', in 1957. (Some thousand copies had been released as the Mellotones before discovery that that name was taken, the group thereat changing its identity.) 'Tonite Tonite' shook no trees though charted at #77 on Billboard's US. Several recordings afterward scored no fruit either, personnel already beginning to alter in '58, thereafter on a continual basis. The group was a trio by the time it released 'But You Lied'/'Walk Softly' in October of '62, after which they acknoledged the writing on the wall. Flashback and Lana Records each later released one disc of earlier recordings to no affect in '65 and '66. The Mello Kings were refashioned in 1966 by Eddie Robbins (Eddie Rabinowitz), performing, though not recording, until 1973.

The Mello-Kings   1957

   Tonite Tonite

      As the Mellotones

   Rosie/I'll Never Fall In Love Again

      As the Mellotones

   Chapel On the Hill

   Sassafras

The Mello-Kings   1959

   Running to You

 

Birth of Rock & Roll: Doo Wop: The Mello-Kings

The Mello-Kings

Source: Tickets Inventory

Birth of Rock & Roll: Doo Wop: The Monotones

The Monotones

Source: Doo-Wop Blogg

The Monotones first got together in Newark, New Jersey in 1955. They assumed the name to indicate one voice from out of their multiplicity, originally consisting of Charles Patrick (lead), Warren Davis (1st tenor), George Malone (2nd tenor), Frankie Smith (bass), John Ryanes (2nd bass) and Warren Ryanes (baritone). In 1956 they claimed first prize on the Ted Mack Amateur Hour with a rendition of the Cadillac's 'Zoom'. They released their first single for Mascot (Hull subsidiary) in December of 1957, 'Book of Love'. When it was recognized that 'Book of Love' was a big fish the song was reissued on Chess in February the next year to handle distribution. The song peaked at #3 on Billboard's R&B in March of '58. Unfortunately that was the Monotones' last ta da. One chart out of a multiplicity of issues meant the plugging of their leak by the time of their last recording session in 1962: 'Book Of Dance' and 'Toast To Lovers' released on a Hull album that year, titled 'Your Favorite Singing Groups'. The Monotones have been infinitely reconfigured since then, one such formation yet active into the new millennium.

The Monotones   1958

   Book of Love

   The Midnight Ride Of Paul Revere

The Monotones   1959

   Fools Will Be Fools

 

 
  Norman Fox & the Rob Roys took their name after the cocktail (scotch, vermouth, bitters). Formed in 1956 in the Bronx, the Rob Roys consisted of Norman Fox (lead), Bob Trotman (first tenor), Andre Lilly (second tenor), Robert Thierer (baritone) and Marshall Helfand (bass). The group released its first record in 1957 for Backbeat: 'Tell Me Why' b/w 'Audry'. The Rob Roys were popular on the East Coast but never rose to the national spotlight. Their last disc, 'Pizza Pie'/'Dream Girl', was released by Capitol in 1959. Their last recordings for Backbeat followed, but weren't issued until the eighties. One version or another of the Rob Roys reunited on rare occasions as late as the nineties, also recording four released songs for Starlight in both '91 and '93. Norman Fox and Robert Thierer have kept the group performing into the new millennium, yet giving shows as of this writing.

Norman Fox & the Rob Roys   1957

   Audry

   Lover Doll

   Tell Me Why

Norman Fox & the Rob Roys   1958

   Dance Girl Dance

   Dream Girl

Norman Fox & the Rob Roys   1959

   Do Re Mi

Norman Fox & the Rob Roys   1960

   Lonely Boy

Norman Fox & the Rob Roys   1974

   Rainy Day Bells

 

Birth of Rock & Roll: Doo Wop: The Rob Roys

The Rob Roys

Source: White Doo-Wop Collector

  The Schoolboys were a group of Harlem kids consisting of Leslie Martin (lead), Roger Hayes (tenor), James McKay (baritone) and Renaldo Gamble (bass) upon formation in 1957. Their debut release for Okeh that year was ‘Please Say You Want Me’ b/w ‘Shirley’. The former peaked on Billboard's R&B at #13, the latter at #15. Which was the last the group saw of the national charts, releasing only three more records: 'Mary'/'I Am Old Enough' and 'Pearl'/'Carol' in 1957, then 'Angel Of Love’ b/w 'The Slide' in 1958. They then forged a pink Permission to Be Absent slip and went back to class.

The Schoolboys   1957

   Please Say You Want Me

   Shirley

   Carol

   Mary

   Pearl

The Schoolboys   1958

   There's a Girl

 

Birth of Rock & Roll: Doo Wop: The Schoolboys

The Schoolboys

Source: Doo-Wop Blogg

Birth of Rock & Roll: Doo Wop: The Shells

The Shells

Source: Music AmneZia

Based in Brooklyn, the Shells gathered together in 1957 as Nate Bouknight (lead) Randy Shade Alston (tenor), Bobby Nurse (tenor), Danny Small (bass) and Gus Geter (baritone). They released their first record the same year on the Johnson label: 'Baby oh Baby' with 'Angel Eyes' behind. 'Baby Oh Baby' charted on Billboard's US at #23. And that was it. The group issued 13 more records until the summer of '63 (though the list at 45cat is not entire), also sharing an LP with the Dubs that year. But the bear wouldn't share any honey and the Shells disappeared before appearing.

The Shells   1957

   Baby oh Baby

The Shells   1960

   Made for Lovers

      With Roy Jones

The Shells   1961

   Baby Walk On In

   Explain It To Me

   My Cherie

     Recorded 1957 

The Shells   1962

   Deep In My Heart/(It's A) Happy Holiday

   A Toast To Your Birthday

The Shells   1963

   On My Honor

   Our Wedding Day

   Scratch My Name Off the Mail Box

      With Gene Holiday

The Shells   1976

   If You Were Gone From Me

 

 
  The forming of the Silhouettes returns to 1954 with the Balladeers which, amidst personnel changes, became the Gospel Tornadoes, then the Thunderbirds, then finally the Silhouettes: Rick Lewis, Earl Beal, Bill Horton and Raymond Edwards. Their first release occurred in November 1957 on the Junior label: 'Get a Job' and 'I Am Lonely'. 'Get a Job' foretold their future when it reached the top of Billboard's R&B the next year. But they didn't believe in signs and stubbornly persisted, not again to chart nationally, though releasing numerous recordings into 1968. In 1961 Horton and Edwards quit the group, the Silhouettes reemerging in 1962 with Cornelius Brown and John Wilson filling their spots. No luck. But they still wouldn't get a job. Not until their last disc in '68 for Goodway Records ('Not Me Baby'/'Gaucho Serenade') did they finally concede to the possibility of getting a job. Even Horton, who'd begun a solo career in '64, admitted about the same time that a job might work better. Can't blame them, want ads eternally depressing. But gee whiz, what kind of clue does it take if a #1 on Billboard ain't clear enough? The Silhouettes, even yet rebellious, reformed in 1982 to release an album of original material titled (what else?) 'Workin' Hard'. The group last performed together in 1993. None of the original Silhouettes are yet living. As for Brown, he passed away in 1991. John Wilson became a minister in 2009.

The Silhouettes   1957

   I Am Lonely

The Silhouettes   1958

   Get a Job

      Live on 'American Bandstand'

   Bing Bong/Voodoo Eyes

   Headin' for the Poor House

The Silhouettes   1963

   Your Love (Is All I Need)/Rent Man

The Silhouettes   1964

   I Wish I Could Be There

 

Birth of Rock & Roll: Doo Wop: The Silhouettes

The Silhouettes   1990

Source: Marv Goldberg

Birth of Rock & Roll: Doo Wop: The Slades

The Slades

Source: Brian Lee's Colorradio

 

Most doo wop groups were from the Northeast, but the Slades were from Austin, Texas. Comprised of Don Burch, Bobby Doyle, John Goeke and Tommy Kasper, the Slades first recorded with Atlantic Records as the Spades in 1957: 'Baby' b/w 'You Mean Everything to Me'. Unfortunately, though their calling card referred to the playing card there were objections to their name registered by various radio stations (racial connotations). Atlantic made what it thought to be the less expensive decision, stopped press, then reissued the record with the group renamed the Slades. Mattered not. The Slades never could grab a spot on Billboard's national Top Forty, though 'You Cheated' came close at #42 in 1958.In 1961 the Slades shook it up a bit, recording with Joyce Harris. 'I Cheated' with Harris is thought to be their last record release. As of this writing all the original Slades are yet living except Doyle, who was blind, dying in July of 2006 in Austin.

The Spades   1957

   You Mean Everything to Me

The Slades   1958

   You Cheated

   You Gambled

   The Waddle

The Slades   1959

   You Must Try

The Slades   1961

   Do You Know What It's Like to Be Lonesome

      With Joyce Harris

   I Cheated

      With Joyce Harris

 

 

Birth of Rock & Roll: Doo Wop: Tom and Jerry

Tom & Jerry

Source: Discogs

Tom and Jerry (who were Tom Graph and Jerry Landis, who were Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel) were a doo wop collaboration formed in 1957. They released their first single that same year ('Hey School Girl' with 'Dancin' Wild' flip side). In 1961 Landis (Simon) met a group of musicians called the Crew-Cuts with whom he and Graph (Garfunkel) formed the band Tico (Mickey Borack) and the Triumphs, releasing 'Motorcycle' in 1962. Tom & Jerry issued their final record, 'I'm Lonesome' b/w 'Looking At You', in 1963. The pair would become Simon and Garfunkel in 1964 (see A Birth of Folk Music).

Tom and Jerry   1957

   Hey School Girl

      Side A

   Dancin' Wild

      Side B

Tom and Jerry   1959

   Baby Talk

Tom and Jerry   1962

   Motorcycle

      Side A    With Tico and the Triumphs

   I Don't Believe Them

      Side B    With Tico and the Triumphs

 

 
  Based in the Bronx, the Tonettes (not to be confused with the later Tonettes recording for Volt in 1962) first recorded in 1957 as the Claremonts: 'Why Keep Me Dreaming' with 'Angel of Romance' back side. By 'Oh! What a Baby' in 1958 they were the Tonettes. Consisting of Diana and Sylvia Sanchez with Josephine Allen, they got together with Vince Castro in 1958 to release several records, beginning with 'Bong Bong'. The Tonettes made their last recordings in 1958, retiring in 1962. Though well-known on the East Coast they never rose to national acclaim nor Billboard's Hot 100.

The Claremonts   1957

   Angel of Romance

   Why Keep Me Dreaming

The Tonettes   1958

   Oh What A Baby

   Uh-Oh

   He Loves Me Not, He Loves Me

   Bong Bong

      With Vince Castro

   'Cause I Love You

      With Vince Castro

   Too Proud to Cry

      With Vince Castro

   You're My Girl

      With Vince Castro

 

Birth of Rock & Roll: Doo Wop: The Tonettes

The Tonettes

Source: Bob Reuter

Birth of Rock & Roll: Doo Wop: The Aquatones

The Aquatones

Source: SirBasildeBrush

The Aquatones were formed in 1956 by Dave Goddard (piano), Larry Vannata (alto and tenor sax) and Gene McCarthy (clarinet), adding 17-year old soprano Lynne Nixon in 1957. They released their first single for Fargo in 1958: 'You' b/w 'She's the One For Me'. 'You' was composed by Vannata and charted on Billboard's R&B at No. 11, the Billboard US at No. 21. Ain't likely they planned to never reach Billboard's Hot 100 again but that's what happened. The Auquatones' served their eighth and last plate for Fargo in 1961: 'Say You´ll Be Mine' b/w 'My Treasure'. Fargo released an album of previously recorded material in 1964, but the Aquatones were history by then.

The Aquatones   1958

   She's The One For Me

   You

The Aquatones   1959

   My Treasure

 

 
  The Edsels were originally called the Essos, after the oil company. The group consisted of George Jones Jr. (lead), Larry Green (first tenor), James Reynolds (second tenor), Harry Green (baritone) and Marshall Sewell (bass). Their first release in 1958 came off the press erroneously titled 'Lama Rama Ding Dong'. But the public wouldn't have it until it was spelled right. It was released again in 1961 with the correct title, 'Rama Lama Ding Dong', and rose to the #21 spot at Billboard. The Edsels released several more records into 1962, but they were whales on the beach by then. They released a couple discs of new material in 1965, then flapped one last fin one last time in 1968 for Tammy Records: 'Hide And Seek'/'Another Lonely Night'. Reynolds performed with his sons as recently as 2006 on their CD, 'The Reynold Brothers'. The current group, Eddie & the Edsels, has no relation to the Edsels herein.

The Edsels   1958

   Lama Rama Ding Dong

The Edsels   1960

   What Brought Us Together

The Edsels   1961

   Count the Tears

The Edsels   1962

   Could It Be/My Whispering Heart

 

Birth of Rock & Roll: Doo Wop: The Edsels

The Edsels

Source: Rock Is Power

  Formed in 1958, the Elegants consisted of Vito Picone (lead singer), Carman Romano (baritone), James Moschella (bass), Arthur Venosa (first tenor) and Frank Tardogano (second tenor). They wasted no time with Billboard, their first single in 1958, 'Little Star', topping both Billboard's R&B and US charts. That was, however, the last they saw of Billboard's national charts. After the release of 'Belinda'/Lazy Love' in 1965 the Elegants released no records until Picone reformed the group to issue 'It's Just A Matter Of Time'/'Lonesome Weekend' in 1974 on the Bim Bam Boom label. The group then released nothing until Picone decided their first and only album was due per 'A Knight With the Elegants' for the Crystal Ball label in 1981. In 1982 'Ghetto Slide'/'Hypnotized' was released by Real Music. There have been personnel changes but the Elegants have done the distance, performing at Radio City Music Hall eight times. They are yet active today with Picone leading the group. Tracks below are in alphabetical by year.

The Elegants   1958

   Getting Dizzy

   Goodnight

   Little Star

   Please Believe Me

The Elegants   1959

   Get Well Soon

   Still Waiting

The Elegants   1961

   Happiness

   It's Just A Matter Of Time

The Elegants   1963

   Dressin' Up/A Dream Can Come True

The Elegants   1965

   Belinda/Lazy Love

 

Birth of Rock & Roll: Doo Wop: The Elegants

The Elegants

Source: Deco Sound

  The Equadors were formed in 1955 as the Chants, consisting of Al Turner (lead), Oscar Drummond (first tenor), Rilly Foreman (second tenor), Lynn Thomas (baritone) and Reginald Grant (bass). The group also employed Mitchell Robinson on guitar and Billy Davis on drums. The Chants made an unreleased demo with 'Linda' and 'Daddy Rock' before changing their name to the Equadors. Their first issue was an EP in 1958 with 'Sputnick Dance'/'I´ll Be The One' A side and 'A Vision'/'Stay A Little Longer' B side. Release on an EP made it a pain in the neck for DJs to play only the first song on either side. That might have been a good way to get the second song on either side played. Then again, it may have gotten the group less airtime due to presenting disc jockeys with a hassle. Howsoever, that problem was addressed by RCA Victor upon issuing "A Vision' with 'Sputnik Dance' on a regular 45. Released with the same EP number, no documentation is found to distinguish such from the EP, but we'll take Marv Goldberg's word for it. The Equadors isued 'Someone To Call My Own'/'You're My Desire' in 1961, but they had been renamed the Modern Ink Spots in 1960 by the Jolly Joyce Booking Agency to play supper clubs. In 1962 they took up bassist, Gary Evans, who was a good lead on James Brown numbers. Also that year Billy Davis was replaced by Claude Higgs on drums. Saxophonist, Charlie Gilbert, would also join the group that year. The only record the group released as the Modern Ink Spots was 'Spotlight Dance'/'Together (In Your Arms)' in 1962. was They also briefly attempted to capitalize on the earlier fame of the Cardinals in 1963. Booked for gigs in Quebec, the existence of another Canadian group called the Modern Ink Spots forced them to change their name to the Cardinals. They recorded 'Why Don't You Write Me'/'Sh-Boom' as such before leaving Canada to become the Modern Ink Spots again. The group eventually folded in 1965 when lead, Al Turner, decided to become a policeman (yet a sergeant as of this writing). The group continued without Turner about another year, then dispersed.

The Equadors   1958

   Sputnik Dance/I'll Be The One

      First issue

   Stay a Little Longer

   A Vision

The Equadors   1959

   Let Me Sleep Woman

      With Chuck Berry

The Equadors   1961

   You're My Desire

The Equadors   1962

   Together/Spotlight Dance

      As the Modern Ink Spots

The Equadors   1963

   Why Don't You Write

      As the Cardinals

 

 

Birth of Rock & Roll: Doo Wop: The Fascinators

The Fascinators

Source: Discogs

 

The Fascinators were a Brooklyn group comprised of Tony Passalaqua (lead), Angelo La Grecca (baritone), Nick Trivatto (tenor), Ed Wheeler (tenor) and George Cernacek (bass). They aren't to be confused with two other groups called the Fascinators out of Detroit and Los Angeles about the same time. This Fascinators grooved its first record for Capitol in 1958: 'Chapel Bells' with 'I Wonder Who'. They issued 'Who Do You Think You Are'/'Come To Paradise' and 'Oh Rose Marie'/'Fried Chicken And Macaroni' in 1959, but ran out of fuel by the time Capitol reissued 'Chapel Bells'/'I Wonder Who' in 1961. Passalaqua had meanwhile changed his name to Tony Richards and made his first release with the Twilights in 1960 ('Please Believe In Me'/'Paper Boy'). 'Shout My Name'/'Summer Is Coming', also for Colpix Records, was released the following year. Richards then briefly joined the Dedications. Not until 1970 did Richards (Passalaqua) find himself on a Billboard chart, singing with the Archies on their last release in 1970, 'Who's Your Baby' peaking at #40  in 1970.

The Fascinators   1958

   Chapel Bell/I Wonder Who

The Fascinators   1959

   Fried Chicken and Macaroni

   Oh Rose Marie

   Come to Paradise

   Who Do You Think You Are

 

 

Birth of Rock & Roll: Doo Wop: The Fiestas

The Fiestas

Source: Mental Itch

From Newark, New Jersey, the original Fiestas were Tommy Bullock (lead vocals), Eddie Morris (tenor), Sam Ingalls (baritone) and Preston Lane (bass). Their first record release in 1958 was actually two, one version of 'So Fine'/'Last Night I Dreamed' with piano introductions and a ZTSP number on the label, another of the same the same year without piano introductions and missing a ZTSP number. Be as may, 'So Fine' reached the #3 spot on Billboard's R&B, #11 on its pop US. 'Broken Heart' peaked at the #18 spot in R&B in 1962, which is the last the Fiestas danced onto Billboard's Hot 100. That, however, wasn't the end of the Fiestas, continuing to record in one manifestation or another as late as 1978, 'ESP'/'One More Chance' and 'Thanks For the Sweet Memories'/'One More Chance' for Arista that year. Bullock was the last original member with a later reformation of the group in 1996. Another configuration, none original, were active in 2002.

The Fiestas   1958

   So Fine/Last Night I Dreamed

The Fiestas   1961

   Look at That Girl

   She's Mine

The Fiestas   1962

   Broken Heart

   I Feel Good All Over

The Fiestas   1963

   The Gypsy Said

The Fiestas   1986

   Mexico

      Recorded 1958

 

 
  From Brooklyn, the Five Discs were formed as the Flames in 1954 by Mario DeAndrade (lead), Andy Jackson (bass), Joe Barsalona (baritone), Paul Albano (first tenor), Tony Basile (second tenor) and Joe Brocco. Joe Albano was an ambulance driver who became the group's manager. The Flames recorded their first demo in 1957, but changed their name to the Five Discs before their first release for Emge Records in 1958: 'I Remember' b/w 'The World Is a Beautiful Place'. 'I Remember' charted in NYC at #28 and Boston at #2. (When talking about charts with the Five Discs one talked regional. They never charted nationally.) The group began shifting personnel in 1960, Lenny Hutter and John Russell replacing DeAndrade and Andy Jackson respectively. That trend continued, too numerous to keep track, though the addition of Eddie Pardocchi in 1961 is particularly mentionable. along with that of changing record labels. Neither was changing managers of assistance. The Five Discs simply weren't popular. So they tried to fool the world into thinking they were the Boyfriends in 1964. Because you have to be popular to be a boyfriend. But they were found out, so not allowed to go national. When Albano, Barsalona and Pardocchi put another quintet together in 1972 they went ahead and admitted that they were the Five Discs. But not even being honest about it helped. That group quickly disbanded, only for another Five Discs to arise in 1980 per Pardocchi, disband in 1982, then arise yet again in the nineties per Pardocchi.

The Five Discs   1958

   Bells

   Heavenly Angel

   I Remember

The Five Discs   1959

   Roses

The Five Discs   1962

   Never Let You Go/That Was the Time

The Five Discs   1963

   This Love Of Ours

The Five Discs   1964

   Let's Fall In Love

 

Birth of Rock & Roll: Doo Wop: The 5 Discs

The original Five Discs

Source: Doo-Wop Blogg

 

Formed in 1958 in Brooklyn, the Impalas consisted of Joe Frazier, Richard Wagner, Lenny Renda and Tony Carlucci. They were discovered by DJ, Alan Freed, who helped the group sign up with MGM Records on its Cub label. The Impalas released their first record the same year ('58): 'Sorry (I Ran All the Way Home)' b/w 'Fool, Fool, Fool'. 'Sorry' went gold, #2 on Billboard's US, #14 on it's R&B, #28 in the UK. But the Impalas were one of doo wop's numerous drive-by groups, disbanding the next year. Frazer went on to join Love's Own in 1973. He resurrected another version of the Impalas in 1980 with which he toured.

The Impalas   1958

   First Date

The Impalas   1959

   Sandy Went Away

   Sorry (I Ran All the Way Home)

 

Birth of Rock & Roll: Doo Wop: The Impalas

The Impalas

Source: Mental Itch

 

  In 1957 there existed a group in Brooklyn called the Chesters consisting of Clarence Collins, Tracy Lord, Nathaniel Rogers, and Ronald Ross. They were joined by Anthony Gourdine as lead, who had sang with the Duponts. The Chesters released 'The Fires Burn No More'/'Lift Up Your Head' in 1957 for Apollo Records. The group became the Imperials in 1958, Gourdine christened Little Anthony by DJ, Alan Freed. Little Anthony and the Imperials recorded 'Tears on My Pillow' in '58. The song achieved the #2 spot on Billboard's R&B, #4 on the US. The Imperials would become a world-class doo wop and soul group, rivaling those so prominent as the Isley Brothers. They visited the Top Ten again in 1964 with 'I'm On the Outside' reaching #8 on the R&B, followed by 'Goin' Out of My Head' at #6. The group's last to visit the Top Ten was 'Hurt So Bad' in 1965 at #3. That was also the year of their last Top Forty on the Billboard US, at #34 with 'I Miss You So'. Their last Top Forty on the R&B was 'I'm Falling In Love With You' at #25 in 1974. That was also their last to reach the Top 100 on Billboard's US. Not until 2002 did the Imperials issue a live album: 'Up Close & Personal', the album, 'Pure Acapella', also released that year. Among other awards, the group was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2009. Though the Imperials have seen not a few personnel changes over the decades they're yet active touring with Gourdine yet at helm.

The Chesters   1957

   The Fires Burn No More

   Lift Up Your Head

Little Anthony & the Imperials   1958

   Tears on My Pillow

Little Anthony & the Imperials   1959

   Shimmy Shimmy Ko-Ko-Bop

Little Anthony & the Imperials   1964

   Goin' Out of My Head

   I'm On The Outside (Looking In)

   Make It Easy On Yourself

Little Anthony & the Imperials   1965

   Hurt So Bad

Little Anthony & the Imperials   1985

   Tears On My Pillow

    Filmed live

Little Anthony & the Imperials   2008

   Hurt So Bad

       Live on the 'Dave Letterman Show'

 

Birth of Rock & Roll: Doo Wop: Little Anthony & the Imperials

Little Anthony & the Imperials

Source: Our Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame

Birth of Rock & Roll: Doo Wop: The Impressions

The Impressions

Source: Google Play

Sam Gooden, Richard Brooks and Arthur Brooks left Chattanooga for Chicago where they formed the original Impressions with Jerry Butler and composer, Curtis Mayfield, releasing their first wax in 1958: 'For Your Precious Love'/'Sweet Was the Wine'. 'For Your Precious Love' hung out its laundry at #3 on Billboard's R&B, #11 on its US. Jerry Butler left the Impressions in 1960-61, leaving Curtis Mayfield as lead singer on 'Gypsy Woman', reaching the #2 tier on Billboard's R&B in 1961. They then proceeded to become among the most prominent R&B groups for the next thirty years. Endeavoring to list the number of songs they placed in the Top Ten is futile because I can't count that high. It's plenty to list only those that topped Billboard's R&B at No. 1: 'It's Alright' in 1961. 'Keep On Pushing' in 1964, followed by 'Amen', 'We're a Winner' in 1967 and 'Choice of Colors' in 1969. They were still making the Top Forty in 1977 with 'This Time' at #40 on the R&B. The group's first LP was 'The Impressions' as of 1963. Mayfield left the group after its recording of the album, 'Check Out Your Mind', in 1970, after which personnel altered fairly often, Sam Gooden the mainstay to this day. The group released their first single in over three decades in 2013 with Daptone Records: 'Rhythm!' on a 7" with 'Star Bright' back side. (Daptone records on analogue tape.)

The Impressions   1958

   Come Back My Love

   For Your Precious Love

The Impressions   1961

   Gypsy Woman

The Impressions   1963

   It's All Right

The Impressions   1965

   Its All Right

      Live on 'Hollywood A Go Go'

   People Get Ready

The Impressions   1967

   It's All Over

   We're a Winner

      Television performance

The Impressions   1975

   Same Thing It Took

 

 
  It was 1955 in Detroit where Smokey Robinson came together with what would later become the Miracles. The career of Robinson & the Miracles coincides with what would come to be called the Motown sound, a subgenre of R&B in the sixties and disco in the seventies. The Motown sound came to be much due to record producer, Berry Gordy, who founded Tamla, then Motown Records, in Detroit in 1959. Numerous Motown groups would be handled by Gordy at Motown: the Four Tops, the Contours, the Supremes, the Temptations, Martha & the Vandellas, to name but several. At first called the Five Chimes, its original members were Smokey Robinson, Pete Moore, Ronald White, Clarence Dawson and James Grice. They soon changed their name to the Matadors and recorded an acetate demo in 1955. (That found release in the sixties on an album titled 'Roadhouse Presents The Great Unreleased Group Sounds', credited as Smokey and Group.) The Silhouettes made a big stink in January of 1958 with 'Get a Job'. A lot of responses were recorded: 'I Found a Job' by the Heartbeats, 'I Got a Job' by the Tempos and 'I Got Fired' by, my kind of group, the Mistakes. In 1958 the Miracles released their own response with their first single for End Records: 'Got a Job'. By that time the group consisted of Smokey Robinson, Pete Moore, Ronald White, Bobby Rogers and Claudette Robinson, the last whom Smokey would wed in November 1959. The Miracles placed in Billboard's Top 100 but the month before with 'Bad Girl' at #93. 'Shop Around' topped Billboard's R&B in 1960, #2 on the US. Happy day for Berry Gordy who had founded Motown Records only the year before, 'Shop Around' to sell a million copies. (Gordy had founded Tamla Records in 1959 prior to Motown.) From that point onward the Miracles became one of the brighter burning stars in the rhythm and blues galaxy. Like most groups, an appearance on Dick Clark's 'American Bandstand' was requisite to going national. Dick Clark decided many a career, an arbiter of who was or wasn't the best talent, exercising huge prestige in the industry. Coinciding with such publicities was the billing of the Miracles as the "Motown" (Detroit) sound, to become a subgenre of R&B. By 1965 it required the release of a double album, 'From the Beginning', to compile the Imperials' greatest hits. The group was grossing about $150,000 a year about that time from investments and royalties. They were commanding between $100,000 and $250,000 a night on tour. The Miracles consistently placed in the Top Ten and Forty until 1975 when 'Gemini' peaked at only #43. But they still reached #5 on Billboard's R&B that year with 'Love Machine' (#1 on the US). Their list of Top Ten songs in R&B alone would too bloat this paragraph, perhaps to bursting. For safety purposes I will risk mention of only of those which topped at No. 1: After 'Shop Around' came 'You've Really Got a Hold On Me' in 1962. 'I Second That Emotion" topped in 1967. 'The Tears of a Clown' followed in 1970, also peaking at #1 on the US. Smokey left the Miracles in 1972 along with Claudette. His final concert performances with the Miracles were released by Tamla on an album titled 'Smokey Robinson & The Miracles: 1957–1972'. The Miracles continued onward with Bobby Rogers, Pete Moore, Ronnie White and Billy Griffin to release the album 'Renaissance' in 1973. Griffin had a solo career to return to in 1980 and Moore wanted off the road. Rogers and White carried on with Dave Finley and Carl Cotton as the New Miracles until 1983. In 1993 Rogers, White and Finley reformed with Sydney Justin. White died in 1995 of leukemia but the Miracles performed in one formation or another into the new millennium. Bobby Rogers died in March 2013. As for Robinson, his career after leaving the Miracles in 1973 was as remarkable as it had been with the Miracles. He started that year with 'Sweet Harmony' at #31 on Billboard's R&B. Then 'Baby Come Close' placed at #7 later that year. Only to list all the songs Robinson placed in the Top Ten of R&B alone (his last being 'Everything You Touch' in 1990 peaking at #4) courts danger alike filling a tire with too much air. Again, for safety purposes I hazard only Robinson's No. 1 titles on Billboard's R&B (certainly not the pop charts): 'Baby That's Backatcha' was spelled poorly but topped the R&B in 1975 anyway. 'Being With You' followed in 1981. 'Just to See Her' topped Billboard's AC (Adult Contemporary)in 1987. Robinson was inducted into the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame that year as well. As recently as 2014 Robinson peaked on Billboard's album chart at #12 with 'Smokey & Friends', a suite of duets with such as Elton John, Linda Ronstadt and James Taylor.

Smokey Robinson & the Miracles   1958

   Got a Job

Smokey Robinson & the Miracles   1959

   Bad Girl/I Love Your Baby

   (You Can) Depend on Me

Smokey Robinson & the Miracles   1960

   Shop Around

Smokey Robinson & the Miracles   1964

   You Really Got A Hold On Me

    'Shindig'

   You Really Got A Hold On Me

     'T.A.M.I Show'

Smokey Robinson & the Miracles   1965

   Going to a Go-Go

   Ooo Baby Baby

     'Ready, Steady Go'

   The Tracks Of My Tears

Smokey Robinson & the Miracles   1966

   Save Me

Smokey Robinson & the Miracles   1970

   Tears of a Clown

       Television performance

 

Birth of Rock & Roll: Doo Wop: Smokey Robinson & the Miracles

Smokey Robinson & The Miracles

Source: What's Going On Now

Birth of Rock & Roll: Doo Wop: The Shields

The Shields

Source: Discogs

The Shields, as in shielded from audience, consisted of Frankie Ervin (lead), Jesse Belvin (falsetto/tenor), Johnny Watson (bass), Mel Williams (2nd tenor) and Buster Williams (2nd tenor). The group was put together with the intention of producing a single studio record, a cover of the recently released Slades' tune, 'You Cheated'. The Shields' version of 'You Cheated' proved more popular than what the Slades were selling. 'You Cheated' by the Slades reached the #42 spot on Billboard in August of '58. But the rendition performed by the Shields reached #12 on the US and #11 on the R&B the same month. The Shields first released 'You Cheated' with 'That's the Way It's Gonna Be' back side for Tender Records. It quickly passed to Dot for distribution, backed with 'Nature Boy'. Attaining to greater success than was first envisioned, it was decided that the Shields ought continue making records. Unfortunately Ervin was pretty dissatisfied that he received neither credits for arranging 'You Cheated', singing lead on 'You Cheated' nor royalties. Per Marv Goldberg such resulted in Ervin taking a swing at producer and manager, George Motola (owner of Tender Records who had named the group), who then replaced Ervin with Johnny White. Matola then had trouble keeping a Shields group together for tours, running through above ten personnel replacements in the brief time that the Shields name existed without any actual group. Motola owned the lot and he wasn't going to divvy with a group in which he had no real interest. The Shields were an entirely different ensemble by the time it made its last release in 1960 (released by both Transcontinental and Falcon): 'The Girl Around The Corner'/'You'll Be Coming Home Soon'. The Shields released only eight singles during its brief career. Who knows what they might have done by retaining Ervin, but the group went poof due to mismanagement on the cheap intentionally absent of future vision. Tracks below are alphabetical, not chronological, by year.

The Shields   1958

   Believe Me

   Fare Thee Well

   I'm Sorry Now

   You Cheated

The Shields   1959

   Play The Game Fair

 

 

Birth of Rock & Roll: Doo Wop: The Shirelles

The Shirelles

Source: Great Song

 

Female doo wop band, the Shirelles, never topped Billboard's R&B charts, but they came pretty close with eight songs rising to the Top Ten between 1960 and '64, and twice topped Billboard's US chart. They were formed in 1957 for a high school talent show by Shirley Owens, Doris Coley, Addie Harris and Beverly Lee. The Shirelles released their first record, 'I Met Him On a Sunday' in 1958 for Decca Records. The song charted on Billboard's US at #49 that April. In 1959 the Shirelles traded Decca for Alan Freed's Scepter label. The group's initial Top Ten was 'Will You Love Me Tomorrow in 1960, topping Billboard's US chart and reaching #2 on the R&B. The Shirelles rose three times to the #2 spot on Billboard's R&B in 1961 with 'Dedicated to the One I Love', 'Mama Said' and 'Bog John'. 'Baby It's You' found the #3 tier that year as well. In 1962 the Shirelles topped the US chart with 'Soldier Boy', #3 on the R&B. 'Foolish Little Girl' rose to the fourth tier on the US, #9 on the R&B. The group's last to enter the Top Ten was 'Tonight You're Gonna Fall in Love with Me' in 1964 at #4. Their last to achieve the Top Twenty was also that year, 'Sha-La-La' peaking at #15. 1964 was the last time the Shirelles saw the Top Forty as well, with 'Are You Still My Baby' rising to #37 on the R&B, though 'Last Minute Miracle' came close in 1967 at #41 (#99 on the US). All to say that the Shirelles made pretty big fuss despite their major rival, the Supremes. Coley left the group in 1968 to attend to family, after which the Shirelles continued as a trio. Coley returned in 1975 to replace Owens who was moving onward to a solo career that year. Harris died of heart attack in 1982 at the Hyatt Regency after a performance in Atlanta. Coley died of breast cancer in 2002 in Sacramento. Beverly Lee, eventually coming to own the Shirelles trademark, remains the mainstay of the group, yet performing as of this writing.

The Shirelles   1958

   I Met Him On a Sunday

The Shirelles   1959

   Dedicated to the One I Love

The Shirelles   1960

   Boys

The Shirelles   1961

   Baby It's You

   Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow

The Shirelles   1962

   Soldier Boy

 

 
  In 1958 lead vocalist, Jimmy Beaumont, got together with Wally Lester, Jack Taylor, Joe Verscharen and Janet Vogel to form the Crescents in Pittsburgh, which name was changed to the Skyliners briefly before making their first record release in December of 1958 for Calico. They were named by their manager, Joe Rock, after the song, 'Skyliner', by Charlie Barnet. Their initial issue, 'Since I Don’t Have You' (b/w 'One Night, One Night') peaked at #3 on Billboard's R&B (#12 on the US) in February of '59. Later that year 'This I Swear' saw #20 on the R&B, #26 on the US. 'Pennies From Heaven' charted on the US at #24 in May of 1960. 'The Loser' peaked at #34 in 1965, which is the last the Skyliners saw of Billboard. Taylor was the first original member to leave the Skyliners, drafted into the Army in 1965. Lester and Verscharen hung with group until 1972. The album, 'The Skyliners', was released in 1978. At that time the group consisted of Jimmy Beaumont, Janet Vogel, Jimmie Ross and Bobby Sholes. Vogel committed suicide in 1980 (age 37). Longtime manager and producer, Joe Rock, died in 2000 upon unsuccessful heart surgery. Verscharen passed away in 2007 of cancer. Lester died of pancreatic cancer in April 2015. Beaumont, however, yet performs with the Skyliners, consisting of Nick Pociask, Rick Morris and Donna Groom as of this writing. Donna Groom's husband, Mark Groom, has been a drummer with the Skyliners a quarter of a century.

The Skyliners   1958

   Since I Don't Have You

   With All My Heart and Soul

The Skyliners   1959

   If I Loved You

   This I Swear

The Skyliners   1960

   Believe Me

   Pennies From Heaven

The Skyliners   1961

   The Door Is Still Open

   I'll Close My Eyes

The Skyliners   1963

   I'd Die

The Skyliners   2005

   Since I Don't Have You

      Live

 

Birth of Rock & Roll: Doo Wop: The Skyliners

The Skyliners

Source: Jazz Wax

Birth of Rock & Roll: Doo Wop: The Students

The Students

Source: Marv Goldberg
Joining together in 1956 in Cincinnati, the Students consisted of Leroy King (lead), Dorsey Porter (first tenor), Roy Ford (second tenor), John Bolden (baritone), Richard Johnson (bass) and Ralph Byrd (guitar). The students released their debut single in 1958: 'I'm So Young' b/w 'Every Day Of The Week'. That didn't grab a lot of attention until its reissue on Argo Records in 1961, peaking at #26 on Billboard's R&B. But the several brief years that the Students went to school were apparently not that great, or there were other factors, as they dropped out in 1962. Not the most prolific of recording artists, with issued originals one could count on one hand, their only other issued tracks after '58's 'I'm so Young' disc were 'My Vow To You' b/w 'That's How I Feel' in 1959. (They also backed Jimmy Coe on 'Wazoo!!' in '58.) I myself dispute that the Students ever ran the Chaperones out of town before they dropped out of school, and they were certainly not more civilized. But that's what it says below. Howsoever, Johnson yet performs with the newest formation of the Students as of this writing.

The Students   1958

   Every Day of the Week

   I'm So Young

   My Vow To You

The Students   1959

   That's How I Feel

 

 

Birth of Rock & Roll: Doo Wop: The Chaperones

The Chaperones

Source: Joe Troiano

Unfortunately, the Students were unable to behave. Therefore, the Chaperones. From Long Island, the Chaperones were originally the Sharptones and Fairlanes, said to have changed their name to better associate with a dance and prom theme. Original members were Tony Amato (lead), Roy Marchesano (first tenor), Tommy Ronca (second tenor), Nick Salvato (baritone) and Dave Kelly (bass). It is believed the Chaperones cut their gums in the recording studio backing up Lee Adrian on 'Barbara, Let's Go Steady' in 1959. Their debut release on their own was 'Cruise to the Moon' b/w 'Dance With Me' in 1960, Rich Messina replacing Kelly as bass. Upon disciplining the Students too severely, the Students made sure to run the Chaperones out of town before they quit school in 1962. (Who find that dubitable are being disagreeable on purpose.) The Chaperones released their last recordings in 1961: 'Blueberry Sweet'/'The Man From The Moon'. Their only other record issue had been 'My Shadow And Me'/'Shining Star' in 1960, following 'Cruise to the Moon'. All said, the Chaperones might have released a single or so more than their charges, but they never charted and shouldn't have messed around with the Students. Yet, not learning their lesson even then, the Chaperones remained active performing at nightclubs, behaving no better than the Students, who always were and always will be more civilized. Ronca yet performs with a new formation of the group as of this writing, caring not a whit about such ironies, nor that some would insist that it is the Chaperones, not the Students, who always were and always will be more civilized. Howsoever, Salvato owns the Chaperones trademark since 1987, which rights he shares among original members. Amato died in 1990. Marchesano died in 1994.

The Chaperones   1959

   Barbara Let's Go Steady

      With Lee Adrian

The Chaperones   1960

   Cruise to the Moon

   Dance with Me

The Chaperones   1961

   Shining Star/My Shadow and Me

The Chaperones   1962

   Paradise for Two/Close Your Eyes

      With Lou Jordan

The Chaperones   1963

   Blueberry Suite

 

 
  The Eternals were five Puerto Ricans from the Bronx. The original members of the group were Charlie Girona, Ernie Sierra, Alex Miranda, Fred Hodge, and Arnie Torres. The Eternals (not to be confused with the later Canadian group) were originally the Gleamers and the Orbits, changing to the Eternals before the release of their first record on the Hollywood label in 1959: 'Rockin' In The Jungle' with 'Rock & Roll Cha Cha' on back. 'Rockin'' peaked at #78 on Billboard's R&B in July of 1959, after which the Eternals disappeared from the charts. After 'Rockin'' the group issued a total of four singles that weren't reissues before twinkling away in '62: 'Babalu's Wedding Day'/'My Girl' in 1959 and 'Blind Date'/'Today' in 1961. The Eternals were reformed in 1972 by original members, Sierra and Torres. The newest configuration, yet performing as of this writing, is led by Sierra.

The Eternals   1959

   Rockin In The Jungle/Rock & Roll Cha Cha

The Eternals   1961

   Blind Date

   Today

 

Birth of Rock & Roll: Doo Wop: The Eternals

The Eternals

Source: White Doo-Wop Collector

 

Birth of Rock & Roll: Doo Wop: The Impacts

The Impacts

Source: White Doo-Wop Collector

The original members of the Impacts were Steve Liebowitz, Horace Brooks, Robert Barber, Kenneth Seymour and Helen Powell. Liebowitz and Powell would marry. The Impacts are thought to have released their first record on the Watts label in 1959, recorded in '58: 'Now Is the Time' b/w 'Soup'. That was followed, with Charles Mattocks replacing Liebowitz, by 'Croc-O-Doll'/'Bobby Sox Squaw' and 'Canadian Sunset'/'They Say' in 1959. Powell and Baber were replaced by Paul Fulton and Sammy Strain to release 'Help Me Somebody'/'Darling Now You're Mine' in 1961. The group reconstituted as the Blue Chips for about a year in 1961 with Bert Can replacing Fulton. Their initial record as such was 'Puddles Of Tears'/'The Contest', followed by 'Let It Ride'/'Adios Adios', also in 1961. In 1962 the Blue Chips released 'Promise' b/w 'One Hen'. A new formation of the Impacts issued 'Just Because'/'Pigtails' and 'Wishing Well'/'Heartaches' in 1965. Their next and last issue was 'Could You Love Me'/'My World Fell Down' in 1967.

The Impacts   1959

   Now Is the Time/Soup

The Impacts   1961

   Darling Now You're Mine/Help Me Somebody

   Puddles Of Tears

      As the Blue Chips

The Impacts   1962

   One Hen

      As the Blue Chips

 

 
  The Mystics were formed in Brooklyn in 1958, releasing their first recording in 1959: 'Hushabye' backed by 'Adam and Eve'. 'Hushabye' peaked at #20 on Billboard's US that May. At that time the group was composed of Al Contrera (bass), Al Cracolici (baritone), Phil Cracolici (lead), George Galfo (2nd tenor) and Bob Ferrante (1st tenor). 'Don't Take the Stars' reached #98 on the US in October of '59, after which the Mystics dropped off Billboard's Top 100 for good. Both Paul Simon and Jay Traynor would sing lead with the Mystics in 1960, but both would soon leave to pursue their careers otherwise, Simon to resume his partnership with Art Garfunkel as Tom and Jerry, Traynor to form Jay & the Americans. The Mystics were another of numerous doo wop groups very popular on the East Coast while existing in stealth beneath the national spotlight. You'd might not have heard of them if you lived in Flagstaff, Arizona. But if you lived in NYC and followed music you'd have definitely known who they were. Their last release for Laurie was 'Sunday Kind Of Love'/'Darling I Know How' in 1961, after which they exchanged nightlife for day jobs, all but Galfo becoming recording engineers. A later reformation of the group by the Cracolici brothers and Al Contrera released 'Now That Summer Is Here'/'Prayer To An Angel' in 1982. Those were included on the album of the same year, 'Crazy For You'. Original member, George Galfo, released a CD in 2004 titled 'Hushabye Again' with a later configuration of the group. He yet runs the newest manifestation of the Mystics as of this writing.

The Mystics   1959

   Hushabye/Adam and Eve

   So Tenderly

The Mystics   1961

   Darling I Know Now

 

Birth of Rock & Roll: Doo Wop: The Mystics

The Mystics

Source: Doo-Wop Blogg

Birth of Rock & Roll: Doo Wop: The Radiants

The Radiants

Source: Rock Tour Database

Not to be confused with Cleve Duncan & the Radiants, this Radiants originally formed as a gospel group in Chicago in 1960. (Cleveland Duncan was lead singer for the Penguins. He released a couple records in '59 and '60 with his own formation of the Radiants. There was also a Jan & the Radiants, a Randy & the Radiants and a Maurice & the Radiants, only the last of any relation to this Radiants.) Consisting of Maurice McAlister (lead), Wallace Sampson (baritone), Jerome Brooks (second tenor), Elzie Butler (bass) and Charles Washington (first tenor), the Radiants released their first record in 1962: 'Father Knows Best' b/w 'One Day I'll Show You'. 'Father Knows Best' attained to the #100 tier on the Billboard US. Personnel began switching in 1964, McAlister and Sampson continuing with Leonard Caston Jr.. That formation issued 'Voice Your Choice' in 1964 (R&B #5) and 'Ain't No Big Thing in '65 (R&B #14). Caston was replaced by James Jameson in 1965 to issue "Baby You've Got It'. The group was comprised of Sampson, Jameson, Mitchell Bullock and Victor Caston when it issued 'Don't It Make You Feel Kinda Bad' in 1967 (R&B #47). The group also took the R&B #37 spot with 'Hold On' in 1968, their last release. The Radiants continued performing until 1972.

The Radiants   1962

   One Day I'll Show You

The Radiants   1964

   Ain't No Big Thing

   Voice Your Choice

The Radiants   1965

   Baby You Got It

    Television performance

   (Don't It Make You) Feel Kind Of Bad

 

 

Birth of Rock & Roll: Doo Wop: The Chiffons

The Chiffons

Source: Doo-Wop Blogg

The Chiffons were named after a sheer fabric in a plain weave, upgraded from "old rag" in French: chiffe. Those hand-me-up girls were originally a trio of Judy Craig, Patricia Bennett and Barbara Lee, formed at James Monroe High School in Bronx in 1960. Sylvia Peterson was added and the group made its first release in 1960: 'Tonight's the Night'. That rose to only #76 on the Billboard US that September. (The Shirelles' version did much better the same month at #14 on the R&B and #39 on the US.) In February of 1963 the Chiffons nearly squashed Billboard's R&B when 'He's So Fine' plopped on top, reaching #1 on the US as well. Billboard's R&B was crushed from the 6th level down in June that year upon 'One Fine Day', the song at #5 on the US. The Chiffons tried to flatten the charts altogether in November as well, but Billboard's R&B resisted at level 6 again, #36 on the US. As if that weren't bad enough, the album, 'He's So Fine' sumoed both the R&B and US charts at #1. Who knows that the Chiffons didn't chew Doublemint Gum, for they were a double group in 1963 as well, releasing 'My Block'/'Dry Your Eyes' and 'When The Boy's Happy'/'Hockaday Part 1' for the Rust label as the Four Pennies. Not real successful as the Pennies, they continued as the Chiffons, smashing Billboard's US from the 10th level down (#31 UK) with 'Sweet Talkin Guy'. Billboard wearied of having to rebuild all the time so it wouldn't let them near the Top Forty evermore in the States. In the UK, however, they released another version of 'Sweet Talkin Guy' in 1972. The UK Singles Chart didn't see it coming and got crunched from the 4th tier down. It thought it was safe upon Judy Craig being the first to abandon the group in 1970, leaving it only a trio as it continued into the seventies. The group has variously resurrected, Judy Craig yet performing on the East Coast. Barbara Lee passed away of heart attack in May of 1992.

The Chiffons   1963

   My Block

      As the Four Pennies

   He's So Fine

   I Wonder Why

   One Fine Day

The Chiffons   1964

   When Summer's Through

The Chiffons   1966

   Down Down Down

   I Have a Boyfriend

   Out of This World

   Sweet Talking Guy

The Chiffons   1968

   Just for Tonight

 

 
  The Cruisers, from Philadelphia, released their first record, 'Miss Fine/If I Knew', in 1960. There is no connection between the Cruisers and the 1983 film, 'Eddie and Cruisers'. So far as known, there never was an actual group called Eddie and the Cruisers beyond the film itself. The Cruisers consisted of Eugene Williams (lead), McKinley Anthony (2nd tenor), Paul Long and Randy Hamilton. Their initial vinyl was in 1960 on the V-Tone label: 'Miss Fine' b/w 'If I Knew' and 'Don't Tease Me' b/w 'Crying Over You'. 'If I Knew' reached the #102 tier on Billboard's US, after which the Cruisers never visited the national charts again. The Cruisers performed on the East Coast another seven years before making their next recording in '67, now on the Gamble label: 'I Need You So'/'Take A Chance'. They then waited two years to issue their last release in 1969, also on Gamble: 'Picture Us'/'Mink and Sable Mable'. The Cruisers then faded into obscurity, but for the later film having no relation to them.

The Cruisers   1960

   If I Knew

   Miss Fine

The Cruisers   1962

   An Angel Like You

The Cruisers   1967

   I Need You So

The Cruisers   1969

   Mink and Sable Mable

   Picture Us

 

Birth of Rock & Roll: Doo Wop: The Cruisers

The Cruisers

Source: Doo-Wop Blogg

Birth of Rock & Roll: Doo Wop: The Dialtones

The Dialtones

Source: Randy & the Rainbows

 

Have I reached the party to whom I am speaking? Apparently not if the Dialtones are still on the phone. From Queens, the group consisted of Rosalie Calindo (lead), Frank Safuto (first tenor), Dominick Safuto and Eddie Scalla. The Dialtones released their first vinyl in 1960, 'Til I Heard It From You' with 'Johnny' B side. Formed in 1959 when Dominick Safuto was only 12 years old, the Dialtones were yet another of the many fly-by-night doo wop ensembles, recording no more after 1961 upon backing Billy Daye on 'Twenty Four Hours'. Dominick, then in high school, would go on to form other groups such as the Encores, the Counts and the Rainbows.

The Dialtones   1960

   Johnny

   Til I Heard It From You

      Demo

   Til I Heard It From You

 

 
  Formed in 1959 in the Bronx, the Dreamers (not to be confused with Donnie & the Dreamers or Freddie & the Dreamers) scratched their debut vinyl for Golddisc in 1960 with 'Natalie' b/w 'Teenage Vows of Love'. At that time the group consisted of Frank Cammarata (lead), Bob Malara (tenor), Luke Beradis (baritone/tenor), Dominic Canzano and John Trancynger. Berardis and Canzano were replaced by Frank Nicholas and Frank DiGilio before releasing 'Because of You'/'Little Girl' in '61. That was it, two records is the Dreamers entire catalogue. When they woke up in 1963 they stopped performing.

The Dreamers   1960

   Natalie

   Teenage Vows Of Love

The Dreamers   1963

   Little Girl

 

Birth of Rock & Roll: Doo Wop: The Dreamers

The Dreamers

Source: Doo-Wop Blogg

 

Birth of Rock & Roll: Doo Wop: Jordan & the Fascinations

Jordan & the Fascinations

Source: Doo-Wop Blogg

 

There were actually two Jordan & the Fascinations. The first was formed in Akron, Ohio, by Jordan Zankoff (Jordan Christopher) with Gene Blackford, Darrel McDonald and Phill DiMascio, all students at Buchtel High School. That group released one 45 on the Sure label in 1960: 'It's Midnight'/'Doom Bada Doom'. Prior to that a group in Queens, New York, called the Debonairs had became the Boulevards (releasing 'Delores'/'Chop Chop In the Wall' in 1959 for the Everest label). The Boulevards recruited Zankoff upon his moving to NYC in 1961 (removing his mustache with his last name, becoming Jordan Christopher). The second Jordan & the Fascinations was created with members, Frankie Zazzo, Lou Adessa and Jim Alessandria. Their first release is thought to have been: 'I'll Be Forever Loving You'/'My Imagination' in 1961, followed by 'My Baby Doesn't Smile Anymore'/'Love Will Make Your Mind Go Wild' and 'Give Me Your Love'/'Once Upon A Time'. The group completed its total catalogue of eight singles in 1962 with 'If You Love Me Really Love Me'/'I'm Goin' Home'. Zankoff then moved onward to join the Wild Ones playing at the Peppermint Lounge in NYC. The Wild Ones, with Zankoff, would issue 'Wild Thing' in 1965, but it was the Troggs who topped Billboard's chart with it the next year.

The Boulevards   1959

   Delores/Chop Chop In the Wall

The Fascinations   1960

   Midnight

Jordan & the Fascinations   1961

   Give Me Your Love/Once Upon A Time

   Love Will Make Your Mind Go Wild

   My Imagination/I'll Be Forever Loving You

Jordan & the Fascinations   1962

   If You Love Me Really Love Me/I'm Goin' Home

 

 
  The O'Jays, from Canton, Ohio, drew their name from DJ, Eddie O'Jay, who named them after himself. They had small clue when they formed as the Triumphs in 1958 that they would become one of R&B's most successful groups. Originally consisting of Eddie Levert (lead), Walter Williams, Bobby Massey, Bill Isles and William Powell on drums, they changed their name from the Triumphs to to the Mascots to make their first recordings for King: 'Story Of My Heart'/'Do The Wiggle' and 'Lonely Rain'/'That's The Way I Feel'. The group was already recording as the O'Jays by the time of their release in 1961. Dispute remains as to the release of their first recordings as the O'Jays. Our best guess is that 'Miracles'/'Can't Take It' was first released on Daco in Detroit in 1960, then reissued in 1961 by Apollo. The O'Jays made their first move on Billboard's Top 100 in 1963, placing 'Lonely Drifter' at the #93 spot on their US chart. Their first to rank on Billboard's R&B Top Forty was 'Let It All Hang Out' in 1965 at #28. Their initial Top Ten in R&B was 'I'll Be Sweeter Tomorrow' in 1967 at #8. Due the multiplicity of their songs that reached the Top Ten alone, much less top Forty, we list only those that topped the charts at No. 1: "Backstabbers' in 1972, 'Love Train' in 1973, 'Give the People What They Want' in 1975, followed by 'I Love Music'. 1976 saw three of their efforts at the top of the R&B: 'Stairway to Heaven', 'Livin' For the Weekend' and 'Message In Our Music'. 'Darlin' Darlin' Baby' stood atop the R&B in 1977, then 'Used to Be My Girl' in 1978. 'Lovin' You' reached No. 1 in 1987, then 'Have You Had Your Love Today' in 1989. Due to listing only their No. 1 singles there is no more room for the O'Jays in this paragraph. Luckily, by inverting condensation to expansion we can continue: the O'Jays didn't cease placing in the Top Ten until their last in 1991, 'Keep On Lovin' Me' peaking on the R&B at #4. That was the O'Jays' 25th title to rank in the Top Ten. Their last to achieve the Top Forty wasn't until 1997 with 'Baby You Don't Know' at #34. The O'Jays kept in the Top 100 until their last in 2004: 'Make It Up' reaching the #74 spot. Apparently not limited by linear space-time, the O'Jays yet perform as of this writing with Eric Grant and original members, Levert and Williams. (Isles and Massey left the group in 1972. Powell died of cancer in 1977.) The O'Jays were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2005.

The O'Jays   1958

   Miracles

The O'Jays   1963

   Lonely Drifter

The O'Jays   1964

   Oh How You Hurt Me

The O'Jays   1965

   Lipstick Traces

The O'Jays   1970

   Deeper

      Live on 'Soul Train'

The O'Jays   1972

   Back Stabbers

   Love Train

      Live on 'Soul Train'

   (They Call Me) Mr. Lucky

   When the World's At Peace

The O'Jays   1973

   Now That We Found Love

The O'Jays   1975

   How Time Flies

   I Love Music

   Livin' for the Weekend

   Never Break Us Up

The O'Jays   1978

   Brandy

      Filmed Live

The O'Jays   1984

   Give My Love to the Ladies

   Let Me Show You

The O'Jays   1987

   Let Me Touch You

The O'Jays   1989

   Friend of a Friend

The O'Jays   1993

   No Can Do

 

Birth of Rock & Roll: Doo Wop: The O'Jays

The O'Jays

Source: Penny Liberty

  The Astors were from Memphis, Tennessee, formed in 1958 as the Duntinos. The Duntinos changed their name to the Chips in honor of producer, Chips Moman, then released 'You Make Me Feel So Good'/'As You Can See' in 1961 for the Stax label. Their first release as the Astors was also for Stax in 1963: 'Just Enough To Hurt Me'/'What Can It Be?'. Upon their issue of 'Candy' b/w 'I Found Out' in 1965 'Candy' peaked at #12 on Billboard's R&B that July (#63 on the US). Which is the last the Astors saw of a national chart. At that time the group yet consisted as it had upon becoming the Astors: Curtis Johnson, Elihue Stanback, Sam "Byrnes" Jones and Richard Harris. The group issued it's last record in 1967: 'Daddy Didn't Tell Me'/'More Power To You'. Johnson would become a member of Brothers Unlimited. In 1991 and '95 Ace Records issued a number of titles previously unreleased by the Astors on CDs titled 'Stax Revue' ('Candy' live), '2000 Volts of Stax' and 4000 Volts of Stax'.

The Chips   1961

   As You Can See

   You Make Me Feel So Good

The Astors   1963

   Just Enough To Hurt Me

The Astors   1965

   Candy

   I Found Out

   In The Twilight Zone

The Astors   1967

   More Power to You

 

Birth of Rock & Roll: Doo Wop: The Astors

The Astors

Source: Doo-Wop Blogg

  The Contours were an early manifestation of what would come to be called the Motown sound, a subgenre of R&B in the sixties and disco in the seventies that such as the Supremes and the Temptations would put on the R&B map. The Motown sound came to be due much to record producer, Berry Gordy, who founded Tamla and Motown Records in 1959. Gordy handled numerous groups besides the Contours at Motown: the Four Tops, Smokey Robinson & the Miracles, the Supremes, the Temptations, Martha & the Vandellas, to name but several. In 1959 Joe Billingslea and Billy Gordon formed a group in Detroit briefly called the Blenders. Upon becoming the Contours other members were Billy Hoggs, Leroy Fair and Hubert Johnson. The Contours released their first vinyl on Motown: 'Whole Lotta Woman' b/w 'Come On and Be Mine', in January 1961, after which the group began going through so many personnel changes over the years that even Deep Blue replied "No way" upon being dared to attempt to track it. Suffice it to say that at the time of the group's greatest success ('Do You Love Me') the group consisted of Joe Billingslea, Billy Gordon (lead), Billy Hoggs, Sylvester Potts and Hubert Johnson. 'Do You Love Me' was the Contours' first to chart on Billboard, reaching No. 1 on the R&B in August of 1962. The Contours released several more records that placed in the Top Forty until their last in 1967, 'It's So Hard Being a Loser' peaking at #35. After the Contours dropped off the charts Billingslea kept one form or another of the group locally performing at clubs in Motown (Detroit) in the seventies and eighties. Keeping the group going worked out real well when 'Do You Love Me' was used in the 1988 film, 'Dirty Dancing', to a resurgence of popularity, the remix rising to #11 on the US chart that year. Billingslea then took his Contours on a 'Dirty Dancing' concert tour, then released the album, 'Flashback', in 1990. That big fuss, however, was brief, the Contours soon joining the oldies circuit again. Both Billingslea and Potts had left the Contours in 1964, Potts to return the next year. Each yet perform as of this writing with two different formations of the Contours. Latter members we'll not pursue, but as for the Contours' other original members, Leroy Fair was replaced by Benny Reeves (brother to Martha Reeves) in 1961. Hoggs left the group in 1964 to become a minister. He's currently retired in Mount Pleasant, Michigan. Billy Gordon, who kept the group going when all its members dropped out in '64, was replaced in 1965 by Joe Stubbs (brother of the Four Tops' Levi Stubbs). He died in 1999. Hubert Johnson committed suicide in 1981 in Detroit, age forty. He had left the group in 1964. The Contours were inducted into the Doo Wop Hall of Fame in 2010.

The Contours   1961

   Whole Lotta Woman

The Contours   1962

   Do You Love Me

The Contours   1965

   Baby Hit and Run

The Contours   1966

   Determination

   Just a Little Misunderstanding

   Somebody's Waiting For Me

The Contours   1988

   In the Still of the Night

     Live at Radio City Music Hall

 

Birth of Rock & Roll: Doo Wop: The Contours

The Contours

Source: WOW

  It is thought the Crystals consisted of Barbara Alston, Delores (Dee Dee) Kenniebrew, Mary Thomas, Patricia Wright and Delores Brooks (replaced in 1962 by Myrna Gerrard) at the time the group grooved its first vinyl in 1961: 'There's No Other (Like My Baby)'/'Oh Yeah, Maybe Baby'. 'There's No Other' soared to the #5 tier on Billboard's R&B that November (#20 on the US). The Crystals never did claim the top of a national chart, but it issued multiple titles into the Top Ten: 'He's a Rebel' (#2 R&B #1 US September 1962), 'Da Doo Ron Ron' (#5 R&B #3 US April 1963) and 'Then He Kissed Me' (#8 R&B #6 US August 1963). The group's last to climb to the Top Forty in the United States was 'All Grown Up' at #27 on Billboard's R&B in July of 1964. Of note to remark is that neither 'He's a Rebel' nor 'He's Sure the Boy I Love' (#18 R&B #11 US) in 1962 were recorded by Crystals. Those were performed by Darlene Love & the Blossoms, nevertheless credited to the Crystals by Phil Spector (a case of ghost singing alike ghost writing). The Ronettes also recorded several songs that Spector credited to the Crystals on their 1963 album, 'The Crystals Sing The Greatest Hits, Volume 1': 'The Twist', 'The Wah Watusi', 'Mashed Potato Time' and 'Hot Pastrami'. The Crystals pulverized in 1965, dropping a jaw or two when Goofus accidentally blew them off a table where they'd been ready to go. They resurrected for about a decade in the early seventies on the oldies circuit. Other formations have since then variously occurred, its latest a trio with original member, Dee Dee Kenniebrew, thought to yet perform as of this writing.

The Crystals   1961

   Oh Yeah, Maybe Baby

   There's No Other Like My Baby

The Crystals   1962

   He Hit Me (And It Felt Like A Kiss)

The Crystals   1963

   Da Doo Ron Ron

    Music video

   Da Doo Ron Ron

    Studio Version

 

Birth of Rock & Roll: Doo Wop: The Crystals

The Crystals

Source: MP3 XL

 

Birth of Rock & Roll: Doo Wop: The Del Satins

The Del Satins

Source: White Doo-Wop Collector

Formed in Manhattan in 1958, the original five Del Satins took their name in honor of the doo wop groups, the Dells and the Five Satins. The original group had already going through rapid personnel changes by the time of its first release in 1961. It was Stan Ziska (lead), Fred Ferrara (baritone), brother Tom Ferrara (bass), Leslie Cauchi (first tenor) and Bobby Failla (second tenor) who appeared on the group's debut record, 'I'll Pray For You'/'I Remember The Night' (credited to the Dell Satins by End Records). The group began backing Dion DiMucci of Dion & the Belmonts fame in 1961, DiMucci having left that group for a solo career. Of the numerous titles the Del Satins released, none saw Billboard's national charts. They did, however, chart with Dion as the uncredited backup on 'Runaround Sue' (#4 R&B #1 US), 'The Majestic' (#36 US) and 'The Wanderer' (#2 US) in 1961. The Del Satins issued it's last 45 in 1967: 'Love, Hate, Revenge'/'A Little Rain Must Fall'. By the time they issued their debut album, 'Out to Lunch', in 1972 the group had long since been through multiple personnel changes. One says "debut album" because Stan Zisca reshaped the Del Satins and released the LP, 'Still Wandering', in 1991. He would go on to form the group, Tangerine. Zisca, Cauchi, and brothers Fred and Tom Ferrara, occasionally reincarnated the Del Satins over the years. They yet tour to this day with the exception of Fred who died in 2011.

The Del Satins   1961

   I'll Pray for You

   Remember

   The Wanderer

      Backing Dion DiMucci

The Del Satins   1962

   Teardrops Follow Me

The Del Satins   1963

   Oh Happy Day

      Backing Dion DiMucci

The Del Satins   1965

   A Girl Named Arlene

 

 

Birth of Rock & Roll: Doo Wop: Donnie and the Dreamers

Donnie & the Dreamers

Source: Joe Troiano

 

Donnie & the Dreamers were one of the many doo wop groups from Bronx. They were formed in 1961 by Louis Burgio (lead), Peter Vecchiarelli, Andy Catalano (tenor) and Frank Furstaci (baritone). 'Count Every Star' b/w 'Dorothy' was their first release in 1961 for the Top Rank label. It broke into the Top Forty at #35. 'My Memories of You' made a squeak at #97. I don't know if any of the Dreamers walked a mile for a Camel, but their career as the Dreamers was only three months and six released singles long. The group did make another attempt that year as Kenny & the Whalers with 'Life Is But a Dream'. But Ahab would have none of it and made them walk the plank. Glub glub, bubbles, the whole thing, while making tasty dishes for hungry fishes. After that drifted past the group made a final attempt with 'I Won't Cry Anymore'/'Because Of You' in 1962 as Vinny Catalano & the Day Dreams. No dice, and the Dreamers vanished.

Donnie & the Dreamers   1961

   Count Every Star

   Dorothy

   Life Is But a Dream

      As Kenny and the Whalers

   My Memories Of You/Teenage Love

   Carole/Ruby My Love

Vinny Catalano & the Day Dreams   1962

   I Won't Cry Anymore

 

 
  Larry Chance chose the name, the Earls, at random from a dictionary. The Earls had earlier been the Hi-Hatters. From Bronx, the Hi-Hatters were singing in front of a subway station in New York City in 1959 when Johnny Powers of Rome Records asked them to record some tracks. They recorded four, were paid, but little else came of it. Not until 1961 did the Hi-Hatters, now the Earls, release their first single, 'Life is But a Dream' b/w 'It's You". To small fanfare that, the group issued 'Remember Then' in '62, which peaked at #29 on Billboard's R&B, #24 on the US. The Earls issued numerously thereafter, their last 45 thought to be in 1977: 'Tonight' b/w 'Meditation'. The Earls didn't make a giant spectacle. but after numerous configurations over the decades they yet perform as of this writing. Per below, 'Borders, Language, Culture', is performed live with radio opinion monger, Michael Savage.

The Earls   1961

   Cross My Heart

   Life Is But a Dream

   Looking For My Baby

   Lost Love

   Whoever You Are

The Earls   1962

   Remember Then

The Earls   2007

   Borders, Language, Culture

       Filmed live with Michael Savage

 

Birth of Rock & Roll: Doo Wop: The Earls

The Earls   1962

Source: All Music

  Formed in Brooklyn, the Jive Five released their first record, 'My True Story' b/w 'When I Was Single' in 1961. 'My True Story' rose to #1 on Billboard's R&B, #3 on the US. The groups put three more titles in the Top Forty during its career: 'These Golden Rings' (1962 #27 R&B), '' (1965 #26 R&B #36 US) and 'Sugar' (1968 #34 R&B #119 US). The Jive Five's last 45 release was in 1970: 'I Want You to Be My Baby', reaching only the #50 spot on Billboard's R&B. Original members were Eugene Pitt, Jerome Hanna, Richard Harris, Thurmon Prophet and Norman Johnson. The group has naturally seen personnel changes over the decades. Eugene Pitt yet performs well into the new millennium, releasing an album of shag and beach music as late as in 2009: 'Steppin' Out'.

The Jive Five   1961

   My True Story

The Jive Five   1962

   Do You Hear Wedding Bells

   These Golden Rings

   What Time Is It/Beggin' You Please

The Jive Five   1964

   United

The Jive Five   1966

   You

The Jive Five   1992

   My True Story

      Filmed Live

   Never, Never

      Filmed Live

 

Birth of Rock & Roll: Doo Wop: The Jive Five

The Jive Five

Source: Amazon

Birth of Rock & Roll: Doo Wop: The Marcels

The Marcels

Source: Doo-Wop Blog

 

First formed in 1959 in Pittsburgh, the Marcels became rich upon their very first record release in 1961, a cover of 'Blue Moon' that topped the R&B, US and UK charts. ('Blue Moon' was a ballad originally composed by Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart in 1934.) The Marcels issued one more title to place in the Top Ten that year, 'Heartaches (#19 R&B #7 US), then began to fade into obscurity. The Marcels were named after a hairstyle called the Marcel wave accomplished with a curling iron (popular in the twenties along with the bob cut). Original members were Cornelius Harp (lead), bass Fred Johnson (bass), Gene Bricker, Ron Mundy and Richard Knauss. The group began splintering in August of 1961, thereafter to embrace multiple personnel over the years as it continued recording into and throughout the eighties. Gene Bricker died in 1983. Harp, Johnson, Knauss and Mundy appeared on the PBS special, 'Doo Wop 50' in 1999. The Marcels were elected into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 2002. Lead singer, Harp, died in 2013. The Marcels continue to tour as a quartet with a couple of its older members. Though none original, current member, Richard Harris, has been with the Marcels since 1962.

The Marcels   1961

   Blue Moon

   Heartaches

The Marcels   1962

   Loved Her The Whole Week Through

The Marcels   1963

   One Last Kiss

 

 

Birth of Rock & Roll: Doo Wop: The Marvelettes

The Marvelettes

Source: El Caobo Internacional

A Motown group alike the Supremes, the Marvelettes also rivaled the Supremes. The group came together, first as a quintet, in high school in 1960. Members were Gladys Horton, Katherine Anderson, Georgeanna Tillman, Juanita Cowart, and Georgia Dobbins. Wanda Young would replace Dobbins before the release of 'Please Mr. Postman' in 1961 and assume lead in 1965. Cowart would abandon the group in '63, leaving it a quartet. As a Detroit group, what else but that Berry Gordy at Tamla Records should produce them. (Gordy founded Motown Records briefly after Tamla the same year. Motown would handle the biggest Motor City groups: the Four Tops, Smokey Robinson & the Miracles, the Contours, the Supremes, the Temptations, and Martha & the Vandellas, to name but several that made Gordy a happy man in addition to the singular most important force behind the Motown sound that in itself became a subgenre of R&B in the sixties and of disco in the seventies.) The Marvelettes released their first song in 1961: 'Please Mr. Postman' b/w 'So Long Baby'. Released in August, 'Mr. Postman' topped both the R&B and US charts the next month. The group never produced another title at No. 1, but their songs in the Top Ten alone are a pain in the brain to list:

   1961
'Please Mr. Postman'
   September #1 R&B #1 US
   1962
'Playboy'
   May #4 R&B #7 US
'Someday, Someway'
   July #8 R&B
'Beechwood'
   August #7 R&B #17 US
'Strange I Know'
   December #10 R&B #49 US
   1963
'As Long As I Know He's Mine'
   November #3 R&B #47 US
   1964
'Too Many Fish In the Sea'
   November #5 R&B #25 US
   1966
'Don't Mess With Bill'
   January #3 R&B #7 US
   1967
'The Hunter Gets Captured'
   January #1 R&B #13 US
'When You're Young and In Love'
   April #9 R&B #23 US
'My Baby Must Be a Magician'
   December #8 R&B #17 US
           
Which doesn't account for seven more that the Marvelette's placed in the Top Twenty, three more in the Top Thirty. Their last song to reach the Top Forty was 'Destination: Anywhere' in 1968 at #28 on the R&B. The Marvelettes issued their premier album in 1961: 'Please Mr. Postman'. The group began splintering in 1969 upon Horton's departure prior to the recording of 'My Baby Must be a Magician'. The Marvelettes' last album together was released in 1969: 'Full Bloom'. The LP, 'The Return of The Marvelettes', in 1970 was produced by Smokey Robinson and featured only Wanda Young backed by the Andantes. By that time the Marvelettes were through. Original member, Georgeanna Tillman, died of lupus in January 1980. Gladys Horton died of stroke in a California nursing home in January of 2011. Katherine Anderson currently resides in Inkster, Michigan, and mentors vocal groups. Wanda Young (Wanda Rogers) presently lives in Westland, Michigan. Dobbins (who arranged 'Please Mr. Postman', though didn't participate in its recording) and Cowart yet reside in Inkster as of this writing.

The Marvelettes   1961

   Please Mr. Postman

The Marvelettes   1962

   Lover Please

   Strange I Know

   Too Strong To Be Strung Along

   Twistin' the Night Away

The Marvelettes   1965

   Danger Heartbreak Dead Ahead

   I'll Keep Holding On

The Marvelettes   1966

   You're the One

The Marvelettes   1967

   The Hunter Gets Captured By The Game

   Message to Michael

   When I Need You

The Marvelettes   1968

   Destination: Anywhere

   The Stranger

   Uptown

The Marvelettes   1969

   Everybdy Knows (But You)

   Seeing Is Believing

   Sunshine Days

   The Truth's Outside My Door

The Marvelettes   1970

   Fading Away

 

 
  The Monterays, formed in the Bronx in 1958, produced their first demo that year: 'Santa Claus (He Gained More Weight)' with 'Christmas Time Angel'. They couldn't catch fish with that so they changed their name to the Desires and recorded 'I Ask You' with 'Story Of Love' flip side. Likely recorded in 1958 (for Seville), that record wasn't released until June of 1962. Not to be confused with the Los Angeles Regents active about the same time, this Regents consisted of Guy Villari (lead), Sal Cuomo (first tenor), Charles Fassert (second tenor), Danny Jacobuccia (baritone) and Tony Gravagna (bass) at the time of their first record release in 1960 for the Kayo label: 'That's What I Call A Good Time' b/w 'No Hard Feelings'. In 1961 'Barbara-Ann' peaked #7 on the R&B chart, #13 on the US. Two months later in July 'Runaround' reached #30 on the R&B, #28 on the US. The Regents [not certain of personnel at this time]began recording as the Runarounds in 1961, releasing 'Mashed Potato Mary' b/w 'I'm All Alone'. In 1962 the Runarounds were a quartet spelled Run-A-Rounds consisting of Guy Villari, Chuck Fassert, Ronnie Lapinsky and Sal Corrente. The group recorded 'Unbelievable'/'Hooray For Love', after which Corrente dropped out. The Run-A-Rounds issued one more 45 in 1963, 'Let Them Talk'/'Are You Looking For a Sweetheart'. Perhaps "Run-A-Rounds" required too many dashes, as it was the Runarounds that released 'Carrie (You're an Angel)'/'Send Her Back' in 1964. Be as may, the Runarounds issued only two more 45s: 'Perfect Woman'/'You're a Drag' in 1966 and 'You Lied'/'My Little Girl' in 1967. The Regents have been twice resurrected by Villari with new members in 1973 and 1995.

The Monterays   1958

   Christmastime Angel

   Santa Has Gained More Weight

The Regents   1961

   Barbara Ann

   I'm So Lonely

   Liar/Don't Be A Fool

   Runaround/Laura My Darling

   I Ask You

The Regents   1962

   Lonesome Boy

The Run-A-Rounds   1963

   Unbelievable/Hooray For Love

The Runarounds   1964

   Carrie (You're An Angel)

 

Birth of Rock & Roll: Doo Wop: The Regents

The Regents

Source: Doo-Wop Blogg

 

  The original Supremes were one of the few doo wop ensembles with pretentious names who actually were supreme, they to become one of the most popular female vocal groups in the history of music, any kind. Formed as the Primettes in 1959 in Detroit (Motor City: Motown), they consisted of Diana Ross, Mary Wilson, Florence Ballard and Betty McGlown. They recorded their first and only record as the Primettes in 1960: 'Tears of Sorrow'/'Pretty Baby', after which McGlown left the group to concentrate on the delights of a new bride. Their first four singles as the Supremes, now a trio, occurred in 1961 for Tamla Records: 'I Want a Guy' b/w 'Never Again' and 'Buttered Popcorn' b/w 'Who's Loving You'. Their first to chart on Billboard's R&B was in 1962 with 'Let Me Go the Right Way'. The Supremes first acquired position in the Top Ten in 1963 with 'When the Lovelight Starts Shining Through His Eyes' peaking at #2. Upon that the Supremes spent the next nine years consistently charting in the R&B Top Ten, their last in 1972 at #5 with 'Floy Joy'. A list of #1 singles in the months they peaked on Billboard's R&B and US charts alone is as to brave infinity, stepping into the dark descents of a bottomless pit as I type:

   1964
'Where Did Our Love Go'
   July #1 R&B #1 US
'Baby of Love'
   October  #1 R&B #1 US
'Come See About Me'
   November #2 R&B #1 US
   1965
'Stop! In the Name of Love'
   February #2 R&B #1 US
'Back In My Arms Again'
   May #1 R&B #1 US
'I Hear a Symphony'
   October #2 R&B #1 US
   1966
'You Can't Hurry Love'
   August #1 R&B #1 US
'You Keep Me Hangin' On'
   October #1 R&B #1 US
   1967
'Love Is Here and Now You're Gone'
   January #1 R&B #1 US
'The Happening'
   April #12 R&B #1 US
   1968
'Love Child'
   October #2 R&B #1 US
   1969
'Someday We'll Be Together'
   October #1 R&B #1 US
   1970
'Stoned Love'
   November #1 R&B #7 US

Barbara Martin replaced McGlown from 1960 to 1962. When McGlown departed Ross, Ballard and Wilson carried on as a trio. In 1967 Cindy Birdsong came aboard, replacing Ballard. Ballard briefly attempted a solo career but it didn't go. She'd received nigh $140,000 in earnings and royalties upon severance from the Supremes, yet is said to have died in poverty in 1976 of coronary thrombosis, only age 32. The Supremes released several records with the Temptations in 1968 and '69, their first for Motown: 'I'm Gonna Make You Love Me'/'A Place In The Sun'. Ross left the Supremes in latter 1969. Her last television appearance as a Supreme was on 'The Ed Sullivan Show' in December of that year. She was replaced by Jean Terrell in time for the 1970 album: 'Right On'. Ross' first solo release in 1969 was 'Someday We'll Be Together'. Though neither Birdsong nor Wilson participated it got billed as Diana Ross & the Supremes. The group without Ross went on to issue a couple records with the Four Tops in 1970 and '71: River Deep-Mountain High'/'Together We Can Make Such Sweet Music" and 'You Gotta Have Love In Your Heart'/'I'm Glad About It'. Lynda Laurence replaced Birdsong, becoming a mother, in 1972. Terrell was replaced by Scherrie Payne in 1973 in time for the disco single, 'He's My Man'. Birdsong returned that year as well to replace Laurence. The group yet consisted of Birdsong, Payne and mainstay through it all, Mary Wilson, upon issuing the album, 'The Supremes', in 1975. Birdsong was replaced again, this time due conflict with management, in 1976 by Susaye Greene. Greene participated in the last two Supremes albums, 'High Energy' and 'Mary, Scherrie & Susaye'. The Supremes gave their final concert at Drury Lane Theater in London in June of '77. 

The Primettes   1960

   Tears of Sorrow/Pretty Baby

The Supremes   1961

   Buttered Popcorn

   I Want a Guy

   Never Again

   Who's Loving You

The Supremes   1965

   Bring It On Home to Me

   Shake

   Stop In the Name of Love

      'Ready, Steady Go'

   Wonderful World

   You Send Me

The Supremes   1966

   You Can't Hurry Love

      At Lincoln Center

   You Keep Me Hangin' On/Somewhere

      'Hollywood Palace'

The Supremes   1967

   Ain't No Mountain High Enough

   Mother You, Smother You

   Reflections

     'Tennessee Ernie Ford Show'

The Supremes   1970

   Medley

      'This Is Tom Jones!'

   River Deep Mountain High

      'This Is Tom Jones!' with Tom Jones

The Supremes   1978

   It's My House

 

Birth of Rock & Roll: Diana Ross & the Supremes

The Supremes

Source: Girls Play Music

  Motown group, the Temptations, were to become among the most successful combinations to grow out of doo wop, their career much coinciding with that of the Supremes, their closest female counterpart in what was called the Motown sound, with the exception that the Temptations didn't retire in 1977, but have continued well into the new millennium to the present day. The roots of the Temptations can be traced clear back to 1955 when teenagers, Paul Williams and Eddie Kendricks, were with a group called the Cavaliers that became the Primes. The course is a little labored to get from there to when the Temptations released their first vinyl. Suffice it to note that Otis Williams is thought to have made his first record release as Otis Williams & the Siberians in 1958: 'Pecos Kid'/'All Of My Life'. Elbridge Bryant was a member of that group. Upon some shifting of personnel a group was configured titled the Distants. (They were also known as the Elgins at a club they worked about that time.) Enter Melvin Franklin to join what was now gathered as the original Temptations in the Distants. Two other members of that group wouldn't be joining the Temptations. One, Richard Strick, carried on with Distants. James Crawford, who had had a recording career before the Distants, then disappeared from the music industry. That group released a few singles in 1960: 'Come On', 'Always' and 'Open Your Heart'. At the time of the Temptations' initial recordings it consisted of Otis Williams, Elbridge Bryant, Melvin Franklin, Eddie Kendricks and Paul Williams. The Temptations released their first record in 1961: 'Oh, Mother Of Mine'/'Romance Without Finance' and 'Check Yourself'/'Your Wonderful Love'. One of the ways in which the Temptations were similar to the Supremes was their enormous popularity. The Temptations first visited Billboard's national R&B in 1962 with 'Dream Come True' rising to #22. As like with the Supremes, it is a fearsome descent into a pitch black abyss as I type this, yet again intimidated by the prospect of listing only the months and years that the Temptations placed, not in the Top Forty, nor in the Top Ten, but only at the apex of the Billboard R&B or US:

   1964
'The Way You Do the Things You Do'
   February #1 R&B #11 US
   1965
'My Girl'
   January #1 R&B #1 US
   1966
'Get Redy'
    February #1 R&B #29 US
'Ain't Too Proud to Beg'
   May #1 R&B #13 US
'Beauty Is Only Skin Deep'
   August #1 R&B #23 US
'I'm Losing You'
   November #1 R&B #8 US
   1968
'I Wish It Would Rain'
   January #1 R&B #8 US  
'I Could Never Love Another'
   March #1 R&B #3 US
   1969
'Runaway Child, Running Wild'
    February #1 R&B #1 US
'I Can't Get Next to You'
   August #1 R&B #1 US
   1971
'Just My Imagination'
   February #1 R&B #1 US
   1972
'Papa Was a Rollin' Stone'
   October #5 R&B #1 US
   1973
'Masterpiece'
   February #1 R&B #7 US
'Let Your Hair Down'
   December #1 R&B #27 US
   1974
'Happy People'
   December #1 R&B #40 US
   1975
'Shakey Ground'
   March #1 R&B #26 US

It took until 1989 for the Temptations to place their last on the Top Ten of the R&B: 'Special' at #10. That was in the States. Their last to rise to the Top Ten in the UK wasn't until 1992 with 'My Girl' at #2. The Temptations placed in the Top Forty as late as 2000 with 'I'm Here' at #40. Naturally, personnel has undergone changes with a group that has been around so long, mainstay, Otis Williams, yet touring the States as of this writing with the latest formation of the Temptations: Ron Tyson, Terry Weeks, Joe Herndon, Bruce Williamson. They're backed by as many instrumentalists. We can't here lend space to midterm members, but as to its originals other than Otis, Bryant was fired in 1963, replaced by David Ruffin in time for the Temptations' first album, 'Meet the Temptations' in early 1964. (Ruffin's first lead was 'My Girl' in latter '64. Dennis Edwards replaced him in time for the December 1968 album, 'Live at the Copa'.) Bryant had gotten the shoo fly shoo for bashing Paul Williams in the head with a beer bottle. He continued performing in the music business locally until his death in 1975 in Florida of liver cirrhosis (only age 36). The Temptations' Motown sound was getting blended with what was billed as "psychedelic soul" in the latter sixties and early seventies. Eddie Kendricks and Paul Williams recorded lead on 'Just My Imagination', released January 1971, before Kendricks left the group. Paul Williams followed him the next May. Kendricks died of lung cancer in Birmingham in 1992. Franklin died upon a brain seizure in February of 1995.

The Distants   1960

   Come On Come On

The Temptations   1961

   Check Yourself

   Oh, Mother of Mine

The Temptations   1964

   Girl (Why You Wanna Make Me Blue)

The Temptations   1965

   My Girl

      Television performance

   The Way You Do the Things You Do

      Television performance

The Temptations   1966

   The Girl's Alright With Me

The Temptations   1969

   Cloud Nine

   I'm Gonna Make You Love Me

      With the Temptations

   Runaway Child, Running Wild

   Slave

The Temptations   1972

   Papa Was A Rolling Stone

The Temptations   1989

   All I Want From You

      Television performance

The Temptations   1991

   I Wish It Would Rain

      Live at BBC

The Temptations   1998

   False Faces

   How Could He Hurt You

   Tempt Me

 

Birth of Rock & Roll: Doo Wop: The Temptations

The Temptations

Source: Lyrical Therapy

Birth of Rock & Roll: Doo Wop: The Vandellas

The Vandellas

Source: Klissete Fingers

It was 1960 when the Del-Phis first appeared on vinyl, backing Mike Hanks on 'When True Love Comes To Be' and 'The Hawk' on the Mah's label. The Del-Phis were Gloria Williams, Rosalind Ashford and Annette Sterling. In 1961 the Del-Phis released 'I'll Let You Know' with 'It Takes Two' with Checkmate, Martha Reeves now in the group. They tried again as the Vels in 1962 with 'There He Is (At My Door)' and 'You'll Never Cherish a Love So True'. About the same time Martha Reeves was with Saundra Mallett & the Vandellas. That group released 'Camel Walk'/'It's Gonna Be Hard Times' and 'Stubborn Kind Of Fellow'/'It Hurts Me Too' (the latter backing Marvin Gaye) with Tamla in 1962. It was upon Vels singer, Mary Wells, taking ill that Reeves replaced her. Williams declined to continue when Berry Gordy offered the group a promotion from Tamla to Motown Records. Gordy was founder of Tamla Records in 1959, then Motown Records the same year, then pretty much the whole genre that would come to be called the Motown sound. Gordy figured 'I'll Have To Let Him Go'/'My Baby Won't Come Back' would be a good first release for Martha & the Vandellas in 1962. It was March of 1963 when the Vandellas first alighted on Billboard's wire. As for myself, it is as being pulled into an infinitely dense black hole from which there may be no escape as I risk listing only the songs and months that the Vandellas placed on Billboard's Top Ten. Though that's plenty threatening, my equations tell me I've good odds of surviving so long as I don't attempt the Top Twenty and my suit doesn't leak. I am, naturally, going in alone, that the ship not face danger. I've been assured that it's not because I'm expendable:

   1963
'Come and Get These Memories'
   April #6 R&B #29 US
"Heatwave'
   August #1 R&B #4 US
'Quicksand'
   November #7 R&B #8 US
   Sterling is replaced by Betty Kelly after this.  
   1964
'In My Lonely Room'
    April #6 R&B #44 US
'Dancing In the Street'
   August #8 R&B #2 US
   1965
'Nowhere to Run'
   February #5 R&B #8 US
   1966
'My Baby Loves Me'
   January #3 R&B #22 US
'I'm Ready For Love'
   October #2 R&B #9
   1967
'Jimmy Mack'
    February #1 R&B #10
'Honey Chile'
   November #5 R&B #11 US

Exactly as I had calculated, I've been able to return in perfect, if not disturbed, condition, to not a few dropped jaws at the deed accomplished. As for the Vandellas, Kelly was fired in 1967 (after 'Honey Chile'), she and Reeves rubbing the wrong way, and was replaced by Lois Reeves (Martha's sister). The group placed on Billboard's R&B Top Forty as late as 1972 with 'Tear It On Down' peaking at #37. The Vandellas gave their farewell concert at Detroit's Cobo Hall in December of 1972. Reeves moved onward to a solo career, releasing the album, 'Martha Reeves' in 1974. She would become a Christian in 1977. Original members, Ashford and Beard, remain active in the music business as of this writing. The Vandellas were nominated into the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame by the rock group, the B-52s, in 1995. They were received into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 2003. 'Rolling Stone' magazine has ranked the Vandellas #96 on their list of 100 Greatest Artists of All Time.

The Del-Phis   1961

   I'll Let You Know

The Vels   1962

   There He Is (At My Door)

   You'll Never Cherish a Love So True

The Vandellas   1962

   I'll Have to Let Him Go

   My Baby Won't Come Back

The Vandellas   1963

   Come And Get These Memories

The Vandellas   1964

   Heat Wave

      Live

The Vandellas   1965

   Dancing In The Street

      'Ed Sullivan Show'

   Nowhere To Run

   You've Been In Love Too Long

The Vandellas   1967

   Jimmy Mack

 

 
  The Blenders from Chicago are thought to have released their first plate in 1962 for Cortlandt Records: 'Everybody's Got A Right'/'What Have You Got'. The group consisted of Harold Jones, Albert Hunter, Goldie Coates, Delores Johnson and Gail Mapp singing lead. (Though the group released records as Baby Jane & the Blenders and Goldie Coates & the Blenders, Gail Mapp remained lead.) In 1963 'Daughter' made Billboard's US chart at No. 67. They issued several more records that went nowhere, also recording as the Candles on a disc for Nike Records in 1964. The group's last release is thought to be 'Love Is A Good Thing Going'/'Your Love Has Got Me Down' in 1966 for Mar-V-Lous Records. Not to be confused with the much earlier NYC Blenders.

The Blenders   1957

   I Asked for Your Hand

The Blenders   1962

   Everybody's Got A Right

   Love Is a Treasure

The Blenders   1963

   Daughter

The Blenders   1964

   Down On My Knees

       As the Candles

The Blenders   1966

   Your Love Has Got Me Down

 

Birth of Rock & Roll: Doo Wop: The Blenders

The Blenders

Source: Discogs

  The Corvairs were comprised of Joe Shepard (tenor), Nelson Shields (second tenor), Prince McKnight (tenor), Ronald Judge (baritone) and Billy Faison (bass). The group released its first record in 1962: 'True True Love' b/w 'Hey, Sally Mae'. The Corvairs released 'Don't You Know'/'No Tears Left For Crying' 1963, accidentally credited to the Westsiders. 'Ain't No Soul (In These Old Shoes)' b/w 'Get A Job' was the Corvairs last release in 1966 for a total of eight singles in their catalogue of issues plus two as the Westsiders. ('I Don't Wanna Be Without You Baby'/'Girl With The Wind In Her Hair' was released in '63, 'Swinging Little Government'/'Love, Love My Friend' in '66.). The Corvairs, though, had trouble making wind. Maybe it was their car.

The Corvairs   1962

   True True Love/Hey, Sally Mae

The Corvairs   1963

   Girl With The Wind In Her Hair

    I Don't Wanna Be Without You Baby

The Corvairs   1966

   Ain't No Soul (In These Old Shoes)

 

Birth of Rock & Roll: Doo Wop: The Corvairs

The Corvairs

Source: Discogs

Birth of Rock & Roll: Doo Wop: The Duprees

The Duprees

Source: Blog de Rock en Mexico

The original members of the Duprees were Michael Arnone, Joe Santollo, John Salvato, Tom Bialoglow and lead singer Joey Canzano (Joey Vann). Personnel changes would ensue, Vann replaced in 1965 by Mike Kelly. The Duprees released their first recording, 'You Belong to Me' b/w 'Take Me As I Am' in 1962. 'You Belong to Me' peaked at #7 on Billboard's US chart that August. The group landed three other singles in the Top Ten as well: 'My Own True Love' (October 1962 #2 AC #13 US), 'Why Don't You Believe Me' (August 1963 #10 AC #37 US), and 'Have You Heard' (November 1963 #8 AC #18 US). From '63 throughout the sixties the Duprees issued numerous titles to disappointing results, thus renaming themselves the Italian Asphalt and Pavement Company in 1970 and released 'Check Yourself'. That group is said to be performing to this day, though with no original members. The original Duprees were inducted into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 2006. All of the original members of the Duprees, as well as Kelly, have since died, Santollo and Vann in the early eighties. Only Bialoglow continues to perform as of this writing, singing with Joe Zisa & Friends in what is called the 'Jersey Tribute Show'.

The Duprees   1962

   You Belong to Me

The Duprees   1963

   Have You Heard

   I Gotta Tell Her Now

   It Isn't Fair

   Love Eyes

   The Sand and the Sea

   Take Me As I Am

The Duprees   1964

   Where Are You

The Duprees   1970

   Check Yourself

    As the Italian Asphalt & Pavement Company

The Duprees   1975

   Delicious

 

 
  Originally formed in 1960 by Martha Reeves and Shirley Walker, the Fascinations were also comprised of Fern Bledsoe and sisters, Joanne and Bernadine Boswell. Reeves left the group for the Del-Phis before the Fascinations made their first recording. That record was in late 1962: 'Mama Didn't Lie'. The Fascinations released several records into 1967, only one them charting to speak of: 'Girls Are Out to Get You' peaking at #13 on Billboard's R&B, #92 on the US. (Thanks to Collectors Frenzy for some of the above. Collectors Frenzy buys and sells very expensive records worth more than my car.)

The Fascinations   1962

   Mama Didn't Lie

The Fascinations   1966

   Girls Are Out To Get You

The Fascinations   1967

   I'm So Lucky

   Trusting In You

 

Birth of Rock & Roll: Doo Wop: The Fascinations

The Fascinations   1967

Photo: Calla Records

Source: Soul Source

 

Birth of Rock & Roll: Doo Wop: The Ronettes

The Ronettes

Source: Representations of Women

The Ronettes came together in 1959 in the Washington Heights/Spanish Harlem area of New York City. The trio consisting of sisters Veronica (Ronnie) and Estelle Bennett, and Nedra Talley, the Ronettes earlier recorded as Ronnie & the Relatives, releasing 'I Want A Boy'/'Sweet Sixteen' in 1961 on Colpix and 'I'm Gonna Quit While I'm Ahead'/'My Guiding Angel' in 1962 on May Records. The trio's debut release as the Ronettes was for Colpix in 1962, 'I'm On the Wagon'/'I'm Gonna Quit While I'm Ahead', followed by 'Silhouettes'/'You Bet I Would' the same year. The Ronettes' heydays were in '63 and '64. The group signed up with Phil Spector's outfit, Philles Records, in early 1963. Spector didn't release their first recording with his label, 'Why Don't They Let Us Fall in Love'. Spector did his specter thing upon the release of their next four recordings, crediting them to the Crystals on the 1963 album, 'The Crystals Sing The Greatest Hits, Volume 1' (ghost singing, kinda like ghost writing). Their first credited release with Spector was 'Be My Baby'. In August 1963 it peaked on Billboard's R&B at #4 (#2 US). 'Baby, I Love You' reached #6 on the R&B (#24 US) in December the same year. 'Do I Love You?' climbed to #11 (#34 US) in June of '64. The Ronettes made their first tour of the United Kingdom in January of '64 before recording 'Walling In the Rain' which peaked at #3 (#23 US) that October. The Ronettes also issued their album, 'Presenting the Fabulous Ronettes featuring Veronica', in late 1964. It reached #96 on Billboard's Pop Album chart. By that time Spector was not only the Ronettes' producer, but intimate with Ronnie as well. Notable in 1966 was their tour of the States with the Beatles as the opening show. Due to conflict with Spector, Ronnie's place on that tour had to be taken by Elaine Mayes (a cousin in continuous close association with the group since before the Ronettes, also performing). By 1970 the Ronettes were no more. Neither Bennett nor Talley reentered the music industry. Ronnie, who had married Spector, left him in '72 (divorce final '74) and reshaped the Ronettes with new members in 1974. The Ronettes were elected into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 2004, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2007. Estelle Bennett died of colon cancer in Englewood, New Jersey, in 2009.

Ronnie & the Relatives   1961

   I Want a Boy

   Sweet Sixteen

The Ronettes   1962

   The Memory

   The Twist

    Unissued

The Ronettes   1963

   Be My Baby

The Ronettes   1964

   Walking in the Rain

   Keep On Dancing

The Ronettes   1965

   Be My Baby

      Television performance

   Paradise

 

 

Birth of Rock & Roll: Doo Wop: The Quartertones

Chip (left) and the Quartertones

Source: White Doo-Wop Collector

Chip Kopaczewski first recorded with the Quartertones in 1964. That group didn't last as long as the list of its original members: Chip Kopaczewski (lead), Tony Galantino (baritone/bass), Jimmy Murkens (1st/2nd tenor), Dick Curry (baritone/2nd tenor) and Jimmy Gleason (1st tenor). The Quartertones released 'You Were My Baby'/'Simple Simon' into the Philadelphia region in '64. Which came to be the entire catalogue of singles released by the group, it abandoned in the summer of '65 as Kopaczewski and fellow member, Tony Galantino, joined the Intentions. Other Intentions members were Eddie Sachetti (lead/1st tenor), Albert DiPrieto (baritone) and Charlie Votta (1st tenor). That group released 'I'm In Love With a Go Go Girl'/'Wonderful Girl' in 1965, the same year their musical venture was finished. Kopaczewski, Galantino and Votta then attended Cheney University in Pennsylvania together, not to enter into the music business again.

Chip Kopaczewski   1964

   You Were My Baby/Simple Simon

      With the Quartertones

Chip Kopaczewski   1965

   I'm In Love With a Go Go Girl

      With the Intentions

 

 
  We suspend this history of doo wop with Chip Kopaczewski.

 

 
Blues

Early Blues 1: Guitar

Early Blues 2: Vocal - Other Instruments

Modern Blues 1: Guitar

Modern Blues 2: Vocal - Other Instruments

Modern Blues 3: Black Gospel Appendix

Classical

Medieval - Renaissance

Baroque

Galant - Classical

Romantic: Composers born 1770 to 1840

Romantic - Impressionist

Expressionist - Modern

Modern: Composers born 1900 to 1950

Country

Bluegrass

Folk

Country Western

Jazz

Early Jazz 1: Ragtime - Bands - Horn

Early Jazz 2: Ragtime - Other Instrumentation

Early Jazz 3: Ragtime - Song - Hollywood

Swing Era 1: Big Bands

Swing Era 2: Song

Modern 1: Saxophone

Modern 2: Trumpet - Other Horn

Modern 3: Piano

Modern 4: Guitar - Other String

Modern 5: Percussion - Other Orchestration

Modern 6: Song

Modern 7: Latin Jazz - Latin Recording

Modern 8: United States 1960 - 1970

Modern 9: International 1960 - 1970

Rock & Roll

Early - Boogie Woogie - R&B - Soul - Disco

Doo Wop

The Big Bang - Fifties American Rock

UK Beat

British Invasion

Total War - Sixties American Rock

Other Musical Genres - Popular Music Appendix

Musician Indexes

Classical - Medieval to Renaissance

Classical - Baroque to Classical

Classical - Romantic to Modern

The Blues

Bluegrass - Folk

Country Western

Jazz Early - Ragtime - Swing Jazz

Jazz Modern - Horn

Jazz Modern - Piano - String

Jazz Modern - Percussion - Song - Other

Jazz Modern - 1960 to 1970

Boogie Woogie - Doo Wop - R&B - Rock & Roll - Soul - Disco

UK Beat - British Invasion

Sixties American Rock - Popular

Latin Recording - Europe

Latin Recording - The Caribbean - South America

 

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