Len “Muddy” Mardeusz
Doo wop was king back in the day, as people say.it started in the early ‘50’s and lasted into the early 1960’s. Doo Wop had a roller coaster ride. Bruce Morrow, aka “Cousin Bruce”, was part of the generation that literally thrived on the music. He wrote,”Doo Wop was a collection of meaningful
moments in our lives.
There were hundreds of Doo Wop groups across this country. They spawned many small recording companies looking for a group to deliver that one big hit. Record players changed to adapt to 45 rpm. and not just the 78 rpm speed. Manufacturers made the players portable as well. Even the smaller labels set up baffles in the studio in order to have each singer feature separation between the lead singer and the ranges of other voices, electronics had come a long way in the Doo Wop recording sessions.
Singles became much more affordable. The 45 rpm represented a simple revolution in the teen
generation. In essence, the Doo Wop years started in 1950, Popular music was seeing and more so hearing a change plaintive sounds with an infusion that had an infectious beat. One group The Clovers managed to cross into that mode with their hit in 1956 “Devil or Angel” had a swaying beat. Between 1955 and 1956, Doo Wop was the driver in the seat. The Del-Vikings with “Come Go With Me”...The Cleftones brought “Little Girl of Mine.”... and the El Dorados thumped away with “At My Front Door.”
It was the beginning of the era of radio DJ’s, Juke Box operators, payola and slime ball quick-get-rich scammers. A hip swinging boy from Memphis and Bill Haley were selling millions of records and Doo Wopers were welcomed to the party. Radio was the key. Stations across America featured music motivated DJ personalities. The more that “magic needle drops” on a 45 rpm received at radio station, the more it was heard. The music industry flooded radio programmers with a ton of new releases. Everything was predicated on sales reported to stations.one of the biggest selling groups was The Platters. The vocal group is royalty and among the most successful and fondly remembered of all time.
High schoolers personified the schoolboy scene that also was the most influential in identifying
with Doo Wop. They are in part given some credit for the production values of Berry Gordy’s
Motown label. The world might never have heard Michael Jackson had henot studied every note and nuance sung by little Frankie Lymon. Frankie Lymon w ere together for about a year and a half —a short time,but in that period they scored a double side hit for Atlantic Records, “I Want You To Be My Girl” and “The ABC’s of Love”. But their biggest hit “Why Do Fools Fall In Love” in 1956, changed what the young generation wanted. They wanted to feel a beat. The music had become more than something to listen to; they wanted something to move to. The industry coffers were brimming with cash from record sales, unfortunately, very little of the overflow reached the pockets of the group’s.
The mellow side of vocal music was out of fashion; DooWop was at its best when it rubbed up with rock’n’ roll. In 1957 American Bandstand premiered on ABC television.
Research for these Doo Wop articles comes from:
Doo Wop, The Music, The Times, The Era
By Bruce Morrow &Rick Maloof
Ye Olde Music Reporter