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Doo Wop – Rhythm and Blues vocalized into gorgeous melodies

Originated in the streets of American north-eastern cities, Doo-Wop was an African American Vocal style based in smooth harmonies. It was the closest rock genre to pop music in the 1950’s. Drawing its inspiration from the rhythm and blues cultures it became a music style of its own and was widely popular in the 50’s and 60’s.

Doo-wop is associated with street corner music groups of 4 or 5 youngsters who had their musical background from local black churches and or their home. As such, each member of the group brought his/her own talent and specialty and allowed the group as a whole to express its vocal qualities mixed in with harmonies and rhythm. As young people, they had a carefree attitude to the doo-wop and music industry.

This carefree attitude made them ideal victims to unscrupulous agents and record companies’ contacts. Indeed label owners had no difficulty in convincing them that his his own name should be listed as the music composer rather than the musicians themselves as “his own name was already known” but deejays.

In addition, these inexperienced youngsters were lead to believe that they would be paid by session, rather than by number of records sold. They were made to sign contracts that permitted studio and promotional costs to be paid directly from the artist’s own royalties.

To make matter worse, musicians often times had to perform for free on major shows and even had to pay in order to feature on TV shows. Also, all rights to the original songs had to be released to the record companies, and agents took 50% of their earnings.

As in most things related to greed, these companies who were for the most part smaller startups would have benefited from being honest with their artists as they themselves would not have felt so thoroughly cheated and might have gone on to produce even more wonderful music.

Popular groups from the doo wop era include

The Dubs and their most endearing ballad records “Could this be magic” released in 1957. Even though it was not an overwhelming hit at the time, it is still counted as one of doo wop classics.

The Duprees who in 1962 hit it big with their delightful doo wop harmonization of “you belong to me” which had previously been recorded by Patty Page, Jo Stafford, Dean Martin and Joni James.

Vito Picone and The Elegants achieved notoriety when in 1958, this white doo wop group released the chart topper “Little Star” They were a white group based in New York.

“In the Still of the Night” is another doo wop gem, released in 1954 by The Five Satins. Known as a true classic of this music genre, “In the Still of the Night” was created in the basement of a local church. Fred Harris was the leader of the group and actually had already been drafted by the army and was stationed in Japan when his song hit the charts.

Doo Wop music has held and continues to hold a special place in the hearts of music lovers everywhere. Known in some circles as the “Music of the Streets” its popularity diminished with the introduction of British early rock otherwise known as the British Invasion in the mid 1960’s.

To this day Doo wop music is still a favorite for a large and international audience. Music lovers from as far as Japan, Germany, France and many more countries contribute in maintaining its popularity. Concerts and shows are held on a regular basis and continue to charm and enthrall their audience.

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