Doo-Wop music originated in African American singing groups during the 30’s and 40’s with a high tenor, a low bass and a melody in between. The sounds could be non-worded in order to imitate instruments.
The bass could be a bom-bom-bom with a shang-a-lang or a doo-doo-doo-wop sprinkled. Early groups such as the Delta Rhythm Boys, The Cats, the Ink Spots, and the Mills Brothers were early artists that maximized the effect of the music.
Mills Brothers hits such as “Paper Doll”, “You Always Hurt The One You Love” and “Till Then” were more sophisticated versions of “Doo-Wop” Music.
When the 50’s came along, the Doo-Wop trend became all the more the rage with groups such as Dion and the Belmonts, The Ravens, The Crows, The Flamingos, The Fleetwoods, The Impalas and Little Anthony and The Imperials.
The Doo-Wop Music could be either fast paced or slow, depending on the mood intended. Songs such as “Come Softly To Me” by the Fleetwoods would exemplify a slower type of melody with a background of”Dom-Dom, Da Da Da Da De Dome” backing up the melody.
The Chords with Sh-boom, represented a faster beat and the market took off with all kinds of groups coming forth such as the Diamonds, The Teenagers with Frankie Lyman, The Del Vikings, and many other similar groups.
Dion DiMucci, of Dion and the Belmonts remembers how the kids would gather on the street corners in Philadelphia and harmonize. This was a great fine-tuning session that perfected the moves and tones of the era.
American Bandstand, the Dick Clark production that started in Philadelphia and eventually spread all over the American music scene on national Television was the driving force in regard to all music in the mid 50’s to the mid to late 60’s. Doo-Wop was featured on Bandstand more than anywhere else.
“The Longest Time” by Billy Joel was a 1984 hit simply from the reminiscence of the early Doo Wop songs, as people remembered their teenage and growing up years during that era. Huey Lewis and the News recorded the last real Doo Wop hit when “It’s Alright” came out and made the top ten in 2005. This was a cover for the hit by the Impressions in 1963.
Doo Wop music spoke of the life and loves of American teens during a time of immense change from the staid and “proper” music of the 40’s and early 50’s, to the more upbeat songs of the mid 50’s forward.