Doo-Wop became very popular in the 1950ís producing a great deal of
However, the name Doo-Wop wasnít invented until years
later and was named Doo-Wop from the syllables sung by members.
Doo-Wop groups emerged from all over the country and they were often
labeled according to where they originated. Each area of the country had
a unique sound. There were East Coast, West Coast, Midwest, Southern,
and even Street Corner Groups.
Letís back up and explain what Doo-Wop music is all about. I,
personally, love the sound of musical instruments and believe that a
truly gifted and talented music artist plays an instrument of some kind.
However, the voice is a powerful instrument in itself and when someone
has a truly gifted voice it is a beauty to hear.
The impact of the human
voice is unmatched. Like an instrument the voice can hit many notes but
it can only hit one note at a time, so in order to make up for this when
groups got together to sing they would incorporate a variety of voices
that would hit different notes simultaneously.
Doo-Wop is a combination of harmonizing vocals and sometimes with no
background music. The style is simple yet complex based on the
harmonizing techniques, and the emphasis is on the words of the song.
Since some people listen to a song for the words and most, if not all,
of the Doo-Wop songs were love songs the style became very popular,
especially back in the 1950ís when things were much simpler and love
songs more popular.
Most of the Doo-Wop groups in the 50ís were Black. Black vocal harmony
goes back a long way in America, all the way back to slavery when the
Slaves would often harmonize singing songs while working in the fields.
Because Doo-Wop became extremely popular in the 1950ís there were a
barrage of groups that came on the scene, some had a lasting affect
others were one hit wonders.
Some of the more popular groups included,
The Platters, The Coasters, The Ink Spots, The Drifters, Frankie Lymon
and the Teenagers, The Del-Vikings, and the Five Satins.
There were a number of groups consisting of teenagers like Frankie Lymon
and the Teenagers and the School Boys.
There were a few white Doo-Wop
groups, a popular one was The Crew Cuts but often this group would cover
the Black groupsí music to make the music more acceptable to mainstream
society. It also served the prejudice views that wanted to keep white
teenagers from listening to Black music.
Another group called the Del-Vikings consisted of Black and White
members. Some groups that were, for the most part, one hit wonders were
groups like The Penguins with their huge hit, ďEarth AngelĒ. Although,
it is easy to lump all these groups and their sound together, there was
a lot of variety between the groups.
The Platters were sophisticated,
the Ink Spots recorded fast tunes, with Clyde McPhatter, the Drifters
created a smooth, sexy sound, and the Coasters had a comedy approach
many of their songs were humorous. Also, some of the groups used
instruments or an orchestral sound, while others went acapella.
By 1958, what is now known as Classic Doo-Wop was on itís way down due
to saturation in the market. One of the last popular songs was ďI Only
Have Eyes For YouĒ by the Flamingos.
Doo-Wop made a resurgence in the
early 1960ís with what is now called Neo Doo-Wop, a new breed of Doo-Wop
groups that came out. Unlike the first wave of Doo-Wop groups in the
1950ís, there was a mixture of Black, White and Italian groups.
Many groups got their start by singing and harmonizing on street corners
and in hallway buildings. Similar, to the groups in the 1950ís, many of
these groups were one-hit wonders and were basically produced like an
The British Invasion led to the decline of the Neo
Doo-Wop groups but both the classic and the neo Doo-Wop groups served an
important purpose because people enjoyed listening to the harmonizing
vocals and the groups filled that need.
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