Why Do Fools Fall In Love - Frankie Lymon & Teenagers - 1955
Come Go With Me - Del-Vikings - 1956
Sh-Boom - Chords - 1954
Speedoo - Cadillacs - 1955
I Wonder Why - Dion & the Belmonts - 1958
Gee - Crows - 1953
Little Darlin' - Diamonds - 1957
Get A Job - Silhouettes - 1957
Book Of Love - Monotones - 1957
Little Girl Of Mine - Cleftones - 1956
I Promise To Remember - Frankie Lymon & Teenagers - 1956
Remember Then - Earls - 1962
Rama Lama Ding Dong - Edsels - 1958
Trickle, Trickle - Videos - 1958
Walking Along - Solitaires - 1957
Duke Of Earl - Gene Chandler (Dukays) - 1961
Stay - Maurice Williams & the Zodiacs - 1960
Yakety Yak - Coasters - 1958
You're So Fine - Falcons - 1959
The ABC's Of Love - Frankie Lymon & the Teenagers - 1956
Pretty Little Angel Eyes - Curtis Lee - 1961
Everyday Of The Week - Students - 1958
I Want You To Be My Girl - Frankie Lymon & the Teenagers - 1956
Barbara Ann - Regents - 1961
Ling Ting Tong - Five Keys - 1954
Babalu's Wedding Day - Eternals - 1959
Come Back My Love - Wrens - 1955 / Cardinals - 1955
Lily Maebelle - Valentines - 1955
Love Potion No. 9 - Clovers - 1959
Zoom Zoom Zoom - Collegians - 1958
Tell Me Why - Norman Fox & the Rob Roys - 1957
A Teenager In Love - Dion & the Belmonts - 1959
Denise - Randy & the Rainbows - 1963
Poison Ivy - Coasters - 1959
Stormy Weather - Spaniels - 1958
So Fine - Fiestas - 1958
Searchin' - Coasters - 1957
Heart And Soul - Cleftones - 1961
The name Doo-wop is given to a style of vocal-based rhythm and blues music that developed in African American communities in the 1940s and achieved mainstream popularity in the 1950s and early 1960s. It emerged from New York, Philadelphia, Chicago, Baltimore, Newark, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati and areas of greater Los Angeles including El Monte and Compton. Built upon vocal harmony, doo-wop was one of the most mainstream, pop-oriented R&B styles of the time. As a musical genre, Doo-wop is a type of vocal group harmony with the musical qualities of many vocal parts, nonsense syllables, a simple beat, little or no instrumentation, and simple music and lyrics.
The term "doo-wop" is first known to have appeared in print in 1961 in Chicago when fans of the music coined the term during the height of a vocal harmony resurgence. The phrase has been attributed to the radio disc jockey Gus Gossert. After some time, the term "doo-wop" finally caught on as a description and category for R&B vocal group harmony. The definition expanded backward to include rhythm and blues groups from the mid-1950s and then even further back to include groups from the early 1950s and even the 1940s.
Doo-wop songs had fast beats as frequently as slow ones. In 1954 doo-wop groups played a significant role in ushering in the rock and roll era when two big rhythm and blues hits by vocal harmony groups, "Gee" by The Crows and "Sh-Boom" by The Chords crossed over onto the pop music charts. Quickly other R&B vocal groups entered the pop charts, particularly in 1955, which saw such cross-over doo-wop hits as "Sincerely" by The Moonglows, "Earth Angel" by The Penguins, and "Only You" by The Platters and The Turbans' "When You Dance" became the first hit to use the "doo-wop" syllables. The same year saw a number one pop chart hit, "The Great Pretender" by The Platters.
In 1956 Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers appeared on the Frankie Laine show in New York, which was televised nationally, performing their hit "Why Do Fools Fall in Love?". Frankie Laine referred to it as "rock and roll" but Lymon's extreme youth made the style appeal to a young and enthusiastic audience. His string of hits included "I Promise To Remember", "The ABCs of Love" and "I'm not a Juvenile Delinquent". In 1958 "Book of Love" by the Monotones became an icon of the style.
The contribution of Hispanics to these groups is often overlooked. In the early development of doo-wop, especially in U.S. East Coast cities, Puerto Ricans were the lead singers in some groups with black and white members; such groups included The Crests, Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers, the Five Discs and the Tune Weavers.
"Racially integrated" groups with both black and white performers included the Del-Vikings, who hit big in 1957 with "Come Go With Me" and "Whispering Bells" and The Crests whose "The Angels Listened In" appeared in 1960. All-white doo-wop groups were also appearing; The Mello-Kings' 1956 "Tonight, Tonight" and The Diamonds' chart-topping "Little Darlin'" in 1957, The Skyliners' 1959 "Since I Don't Have You" and 1960 "This I Swear", The Tokens' 1961 "Tonight I Fell In Love" and "I Love My Baby" all saw success. 1958 also saw the rise of Italian American doo-wop groups.
Like African-Americans, the Italians generally attended churches which gave them much singing experience. By the late 1950s, Italian street corner doo-wop groups were seen in urban cities like New York, especially the Bronx and Brooklyn. Some of the Italian groups who had national chart hits included Dion and the Belmonts in 1958 with "I Wonder Why", The Capris with "There's A Moon Out Tonight" in 1960, the Demensions, the Elegants, the Mystics, the Duprees, Vito & the Salutations, the Gaylords, Johnny Maestro, and the Del-Satins. Other Italian groups included Randy & the Rainbows, who charted with their 1963 hit single "Denise".
1961 might have been the peak of doo-wop, with hits that include the Marcels' "Blue Moon". There was a revival of the nonsense-syllable form of doo-wop in the early 1960s, with popular records by the Marcels, the Rivingtons, and Vito & the Salutations. A few years later, the genre had reached the self-referential stage, with songs about the singers ("Mr. Bass Man" by Johnny Cymbal) and the songwriters ("Who Put the Bomp?" by Barry Mann) in 1961.
Other important groups including the Coasters, the Drifters, the Midnighters, and the Platters, helped link the doo-wop style back into the mainstream and the future sound of soul music. It can be heard in the music of the Miracles, particularly in their early hits such as "Got A Job" (an answer song to "Get a Job"), "Bad Girl", "Who's Loving You", "(You Can) Depend on Me", and "Ooo Baby Baby".
Doo-wop's influence continued in soul, pop, and rock groups of the '60s, in the Four Seasons and in various girl groups of the '60s. In vocal surf music, like that of Jan and Dean and of the Beach Boys, the influence was heard in such hits as "Surfer Girl" and "Surfin" before it regressed towards less sophisticated pop and psychedelic rock songs with less complex, "modern" and "experimental" anti-vocal harmonies.
Doo-wop is popular among barber-shoppers and collegiate a cappella groups due to its easy adaptation to an all-vocal form. Doo-wop, at the turn of the century, experienced a resurgence in popularity, with PBS's doo-wop concert programs: Doo Wop 50, Doo Wop 51, and Rock, Rhythm, and Doo Wop. These programs brought back together, live on stage, some of the better known doo-wop groups of the past. In addition to The Earth Angels, doo-wop acts in vogue in the second decade of the 21st century range from the Four Quarters to Street Corner Renaissance. The ultimate longevity of doo-wop has been disputed.
Several early Doo-Wop groups lacked business knowledge to make the money they sincerely earned. These groups often placed trust and total responsibility in the record companies when it came to contractual agreements. Often times the label owners told the groups that by listing the record owner as the composer or co-author of the song, that the DJ’s would play their song or songs more due to label name recognition. The groups were also told that being paid per recording session was more profitable than being paid per number of records sold, and that they would profit from touring the country. However, often times the large checks they received prior to the shows had to be returned and smaller checks were received after the shows completion or after they had paid for a guest spot on the show. Some of the groups’ contracts contained clauses, which stated that all expenses were to be paid from their royalties and major shows were done for free.
According to alldoowop.com by 1958, the Doo-Wop style of music ruled the rock n’ roll airwaves. the Silhouettes, Dion & the Belmonts, the Chantels with “Maybe”, the Del Vikings with “Come Go With Me”, the Platters, the Coasters and most of the greatest groups to ever record were capturing the hearts of America with their forever-legendary songs.
Doo-wop music has gone on to inspire movements in the Italian-American community, giving rise to Italian-American doo-wop groups such as The Capris, who sang "A Teenager in Love," and also Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons. Doo-wop's influence can also be seen in many rock and soul groups from the 1960s, including The Miracles and female groups such as the Supremes and the Chantels. Its influence has also spanned generations, inspiring revivals such as Billy Joel's 1983 hit, "The Longest Time.