In Celebration of the Human Voice - The Essential Musical Instrument
Doo wop is another distinctively American style of a cappella singing whose popularity stretches from the 1950’s to today. Originating from the street corners of New York and New Jersey the tradition of doo wop singing has enduring popularity and there are still many doo wop groups performing today. Here is a list of acapella doo wop groups who have CD recordings available.
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Founded in 1997, all-male Doo Wop quartet 4 Ever Young, from the Dallas/Ft. Worth Metroplex, is the brainchild of Bruce Smith, who set out to assemble an a cappella Doo-Wop group to help keep alive the music he used to sing on the streets of Brooklyn, NY, and perform with the Deacons and the Montclairs in the 50s and 60s. 16 Doo-Wop standards, "Barbara Ann," "So Much In Love, "Sunday Kind of Love," Book of Love," "Blue Moon," "At My Front Door," "409," "In the Still of the Night," "Monster Mash," "Charlie Brown" ...you get the idea. There's also a pretty cool cover of "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" as a Doo-Wop song. These guys are smooth as silk, professional, authentic and spot on key-one of the best Doo-Wop CDs we've heard this year!
By bringing their own contemporary style to tunes from the 1950s and 60s, The Alley Cats appeal to fans of all ages, breathing new life into everyone's favorite doo-wop classics. The four members of The Alley Cats are a perfect blend both vocally and personally. More than a decade after they began, Royce Reynolds, whose solid bass vocals create the Cats' musical foundation, and Mando Fonseca, the second tenor always ready with a pun or quick quip, have the ease of familiarity which make their camaraderie and vocal play radiate from the stage. Baritone Sean Devine, whose smooth vocals melt hearts the world over, and newest member Juan Del Castillo, re-creator of all of those soaring 50s first tenor lines, bring their freshness and talent to an already solid foundation of a cappella tradition. Together they are truly the Cat's meow!
Formed in 1959 in Brooklyn, New York, The Arrogants performed on street corners and at show clubs and dances in New York City's vibrant Doo-wop scene of the early nineteen sixties. In 1962, after recording two demos in Brooklyn ("My Heart Stood Still" and "Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me"), they ventured to California and recorded 2 songs for Lute Records: "Canadian Sunset" and "Mirror, Mirror". The producer of the Lute sessions was Marshall Lieb, who had a hit in 1960 as a singer with the Hollywood Argyles on the song "Alley Oop", and the Mar-Keys provided instrumental accompaniment.
Dion & The Belmonts (named for a neighborhood street - Belmont Avenue), one of the defining vocal groups of the late 1950's, members were Dion DiMucci - lead, Fred Milano and Angelo D'Aleo on tenor, and Carlo Mastroangelo on bass. At first Dion and The Belmonts were separate entities although they both recorded for the small independent Mohawk label - Dion with "The Chosen Few" and "Out In Colorado" and The Belmonts with "Teenage Clementine" and "Santa Margarita" none of which were hits. They then signed with Laurie Records and now together recorded "I Wonder Why" which became a big hit. They had several other hits such as "When You Wish Upon A Star" and "Where Or When" but in 19601 they parted ways with Dion DiMucci going on to successful solo career.
Brylcream got it1s start in 1992 with Tommy "Cool T" Welter, John "Wopp" Mina, Richard "Richie" Beattie, Gary "G Man" Groneman, and Roy "Wolfman" Conklin. Since thier beginnings, Brylcream has graced the stages across the Southeast with many ledgendary performers such as The Coasters, Joey D and The Startlighers, Davey Jones and The Monkees, Johnny Maestro and his Brooklyn Bridge, The Temptations, The Four Tops, and many more. Today, Cool T, Wopp, and Richie join Jason "Jay Bird" Sullivan and Billy "Billy D" Louth, to form one of Southwest Florida's most requested Doo Wop Groups.
The Cat's Pajamas are 5 men who creates all the sounds of a band using only their voices. The group was formed in 2005 by Brian Skinner and Nate Mendl who both share a passion and drive for performing and music production. The two had previously worked together in college groups at The University of Wisconsin such as the Wisconsin Singers and a cappella groups the MadHatters and Redefined. The first time The Cat's PJs ever performed together was for the 2005 Oreo Cookie Jingle competition. They then recorded a demo and searched everywhere for gigs until their first big break when they were offered a 6 month stint on Celebrity Cruise Lines as the in house a cappella group.
The Doo Wop Cops - a cappella officers, who have gone from walking their beats to keeping the beat - have entertained presidents and have performed side-by-side with stars of the music world including Chuck Berry, the Dells and the Drifters. All members of D.C's Finest are Washingtonians who attended local schools and sang at some points in their lives with a doo wop group in the 50s and 60s. Those years are revisited each time the group takes to the stage with their a cappella nostalgic renditions of songs of the past as well as some of the current hits. They have appeared on FOX, ABC,CBS,NBC and have appeared in People Magazine, Washingtonian,Wall Street Journal, Southern Living and more. Their legacy doesn't stop there however, they are most known for their dedication to the kids in America. They have visited many schools throughout the United States with an anti-drug, anti handgun program that has proven to be very effective.
The Encounters originated in the Bushwick section of Brooklyn, mid 1963. By the end of the year they had a recording contract with Swan Records and recorded an original, "Don't Stop", written by Joe Venneri (Tokens)& Billy Carlucci (Billy & the Essentials). From 1963 to 1979 the group entertained in the Laurel's Country Club,The NY Hilton and the Friars Club as well as hundreds of corporate and private affairs.
They have appeared with and have opened shows for Earl Lewis & the Channels, Speedo & The Cadillacs, Arlene Smith & the Chantels, Lenny Coco & The Chimes, The Duprees, Randy & The Rainbows, The Emotions, The Devotions, The Dubs, Larry Chance & The Earls, Freddie Scott, Johnny Maestro & The Brooklyn Bridge, Emil Stucchio & the Classics, The Jive Five, The Passions, The Fireflies, The Harptones, The Monotones, Vito Piccone & the Elegants, The Five Discs , the Quotations, Kenny Vance and the Planotones, The Legends of DooWop and The Temptations.
The Five Discs were one of several doo-wop groups (Carollons, Chips, etc.) to trace their origins to the Bedford-Stuyvesant district of Brooklyn, New York, USA. They were formed in 1954 by Joe Brocco (lead), Joe Barsalona (baritone), Paul Albano (first tenor) and Tony Basile (second tenor). Composed of Italian-descended young men and originally titled the Flames, they subsequently shuffled the pack by adding black singers Mario deAndrade and Andrew Jackson from the Love Notes. This produced a new line-up of deAndrade (lead), Jackson (bass), Albano (first tenor), Basile (second tenor) and Barsalona (baritone), though membership remained fluid over ensuing years. After recording demos at Bell Sound studios in New York the group started to offer these to interested parties. There were no takers until songwriter Billy Martin introduced them to the proprietors of the Emge Records label. They were still titled the Flames when they cut deAndrade's song "I Remember", but when it was released they had chosen a new name, the Five Discs.
Cousins Jacob Carey (Jake) and Ezikial Carey (Zeke) formed the group in Chicago, Illinois, after meeting Paul David Wilson and Johnny Carter at a black Jewish church. Earl Lewis soon joined, and after a series of name changes (The Swallows, El Flamingos, The Five Flamingos) wound up being known as The Flamingos. Sollie McElroy soon replaced Lewis (who joined The Five Echoes). Their first single (for Chance Records), "If I Can't Have You", was a moderate success, and the follow-ups "That's My Desire" and "Golden Teardrops" cemented their reputation. They left Chance Records sometime after their December 1953 session and signed with DJ Al Benson's Parrot Records. Sollie McElroy was on their first Parrot session, but left the group in December 1954, to be replaced by first tenor Nate Nelson (who was on their second Parrot session; he's lead on "I'm Yours," released in January 1955). In early 1955, the Flamingos transferred over to Chess Records, to record for their Checker subsidiary. They started to have national R&B hits in 1956 ("I'll Be Home," "A Kiss From Your Lips," "The Vow," "Would I Be Crying"), but both Zeke Carey and Johnny Carter were drafted (Johnny in September). They were also part of the 1956 Alan Freed movie Rock, Rock, Rock.
Since 1989, when the original members -- Bill Beasley, Russell Horsch, and Mike Reed -- first appeared together at the Michigan Theater in Jackson, MI for a Christmas show, The GelCaps have drawn a following of fans at car shows, bars, parties and many other events throughout lower Michigan, performing a cappella doo-wop in the traditional streetcorner style. They have performed for actor Jeff Daniels at the Purple Rose Theater in Chelsea, MI and at private parties in his home. In the 1996 election year they wrote and performed a song for Pat Paulsen's Presidential campaign. They also made it onto Zack Butler's list of "Silly Band Names" for March 1, 1999. Their music seems to appeal to all ages -- some people are taken back to younger days and simpler times, while others just appreciate the pure sounds and vocal intricacies of tight a cappella harmonies.
With the amazing success of the musical hit "Jersey Boys" touring throughout the country, and the even more recent emergence of "Straight No Chaser" into the marketplace, the a cappella Doo Wop sound has never been more in the forefront. Audiences of all ages are thirsting for this fun, uplifting harmonic vocal style that simply makes you feel really good.
Five seasoned entertainers with individual histories of performances at The Whitehouse in DC, the 100th Olympiad in Atlanta, live international broadcasts on Voice of America, and tours in Europe to entertain US troops, George Carl, Dave Mitchell, Cheryl De rosier, Jimmy Calinski and Fernando Rodriguez came together 10 years ago to become Harbor Lights.
This group sings a cappella doo-wop on the streets of New Orleans, Louisiana in the French Quarter for hundreds of thousands of tourists per year. The group also appeared in the Paramount Motion Picture "Double Jeopardy" as the "Jackson Square Singers." The cameo comes up about mid-movie, when Ashley Judd's character reaches New Orleans by plane and "Amazing Grace" can be heard in the background. Then during the next scene, Ashley Judd takes a brief stroll in Jackson Square in search of her treacherous husband's whereabouts and passes in front of the group as they continue singing Amazing Grace for a few bars.
The members consist of Jerome Alexander, Arzia Harris, Barth Phillips, and Reginald Ringo. The group has been singing a cappella since the Summer of 1994. The group performs as a trio, quartet, and occasionally a quintet with alternate vocalists Joseph Maize and/or Avist Martin. The group traveled to London as ambassadors for Southern Comfort recently. They constantly perform for visiting corporate conventions and destination planners; doing everything from singing people off and on tour busses, to opening meetings and getting corporate executives out of their seats to the Motown sound or an Elvis tune.
Little Anthony and the Imperials were one of the finest vocal groups to emerge from the talent-rich New York scene. Moreover, they enjoyed unusual longevity for an act of that type, having hits in both the doo-wop Fifties and the soul-music Sixties. They outlasted their peers by virtue of "Little Anthony" Gourdine's powerful, beseeching vocals and the consummate professionalism of the Imperials, who mastered a broad range of material and knew how to work a stage.v
It all started in Brooklyn, where Gourdine and friends grew up in the throes of the vocal-group craze. His first groups were called the Duponts (after the chemical company) and the Chesters. The latter group got signed to music-biz impresario George Gouldner's End Records. Wanting a name more regal than the Chesters, the label rechristened them the Imperials. It was Alan Freed, then an influential New York disc jockey and concert promoter, who christened Gourdine "Little Anthony," for the youthful quality in his voice. Both Freed and fellow deejay/promoter Murray Kaufman (a.k.a. "Murray the K") liked Little Anthony and the Imperials and helped launch their career with airplay and concert bookings.
Formed in 1962, Los Zafiros were a vocal quartet augmented by the guitarist and arranger Manuel Galban. Originally inspired by American vocal groups such as the Platters and the Coasters, they soon added their own Cuban flavour to create a unique and heady mix of doo-wop, ballads and boleros, soul and samba, tumbaos and twists. They were unique among vocal groups in that they had three lead singers amongst Ignacio Elejalde and his sweet, high tenor, Eduardo Elio Hernandez, Miguel Cancio and Leoncio 'Kike' Morua. But in many ways it was Galban who was the architect of the Los Zafiros sound, as instrumentalist, composer and, with Kike, arranger of the vocal parts. "I don't know why they chose me," he says. "To play the guitar with a vocal quartet was a novelty and therefore rather difficult. But pianos were starting to disappear from a lot of venues so a guitar was a good alternative. They also needed a musical director. They were a success from the moment they appeared and my job was to support them and perfect and develope the sound."
The Marcels were a doo-wop group known for turning American classical pop songs into rock and roll. The group formed in 1959 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and signed to Colpix Records, with lead Cornelius Harp, bass Fred Johnson, Gene Bricker, Ron Mundy, and Richard Knauss. The group was named by Fred Johnson's younger sister Priscilla, after a popular hair style of the day, the marcel wave. In 1961 many were surprised to hear a new version of the ballad "Blue Moon" that began with the bass singer saying, "bomp-baba-bomp" and "dip-da-dip." The record sold over one million copies, and was awarded a gold disc. It is featured in The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll.
MC6 is an a cappella performing group founded in 2004 by six friends who love to sing and who share a passion for the power of the human voice. Reaching back through the years, MC6 will bring your doo-wop favorites from the 50's and 60's to the stage in a way you've never heard before. By combining smooth harmonies with moving rhythms and lively vocal percussion, MC6 showcases a unique sound and a rousing live performance.
The Mighty Echoes were founded at the Olio Theater in Los Angeles in 1986 at the end of a long running musical by Harvey Shield 1284: The Pied Piper. Shortly thereafter they appeared on Who's the Boss as Tony Danza'a high school group the Dreamtones. This led to subsequent appearances on Murphy Brown, Family Matters, the MTV Superbowl Show and a featured role as the singing firemen in the Dennis Quaid, Debra Winger film Wilder Napalm.Over the years the Echoes have had the profound pleasure of performing with many greats from the pantheon of Rock and Roll, such as Ray Charles, Stevie Wonder, Chuck Berry, Richard "Louie Louie" Berry, The Shirelles, Little Anthony, The Coasters, The Penguins, Gene Chandler, The Dixie Cups, The DuPrees, The Crew Cuts, The Chordettes, The Diamonds, Miss Patty Page, The Four Seasons, Tony Orlando, The Moody Blues, Lou Reed and many more.
Among the most seminal R&B and doo wop groups of all time, the Moonglows' lineup featured some of the genre's greatest pure singers. The original lineup from Louisville included Bobby Lester, Harvey Fuqua, Alexander Graves, and Prentiss Barnes, with guitarist Billy Johnson. They were originally called the Crazy Sounds, but were renamed by disc jockey Alan Freed as the Moonglows. The group also cut some recordings as the Moonlighters. Their first major hit was the number one R&B gem "Sincerely" for Chess in 1954, which reached number 20 on the pop charts. They enjoyed five more Top Ten R&B hits on Chess from 1955 to 1958, among them "Most of All," "We Go Together," "See Saw," and "Please Send Me Someone to Love," as well as "Ten Commandments of Love." Fuqua, the nephew of Charlie Fuqua of the Ink Spots, left in 1958. He recorded "Ten Commandments of Love" as Harvey & the Moonglows with Marvin Gaye, Reese Palmner, James Knowland, and Chester Simmons before founding his own label, Tri-Phi. Fuqua created and produced the Spinners in 1961 and wrote and produced for Motown until the early '70s. The Moonglows disbanded in the '60s, then reunited in 1972 with Fuqua, Lester, Graves, Doc Williams, and Chuck Lewis. In 2000 The Moonglows were inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame.
Quiet Storm is a vocal harmony group specializing in Classic and Contemporary Rhythm and Blues and Soul. The group is able to sing and perform acapella as well as with music. Quiet Storm is a Philadelphia based group that began in the spring of 2007. Started by Kamau "Smitty" Akiba who has sang and recorded with The Informers on J-Rude and Blackjack labels in the sixties and again from 2005 to 2006, Quiet Storm's intention is to bring back music that speaks about love situations from the heart. They wants to sing about those messages of love that speak of loving a woman as a whole person instead of a collection of body parts. Initially, the group started rehearsing in members homes, on porches, subways, and shopping malls, until settling down at Columbia Rehearsal Studios. Over the first six to nine months, the membership fluctuated with personnel changes for a variety of reasons. However, in the winter of 2007 the perfect mix of members emerged! It is now a perfect blend of brothers who equally share the dedication, belief, spirit, drive and cooperation fundamental to making a group as "ONE".
Reunion was formed in the spring of 1981, when members of two disbanded street-corner groups, (the Chime-Times and the Memo's) joined together to drink some beer and sing some songs. It all started when two old friends were reminiscing about their teen-age years, and singing in a street-corner group, in Brick, NJ. The two, Dennis Chervenak and Ron Meyer, wondered if there were others who still enjoyed singing the doowop songs they grew up with. They put a classified ad in a local paper, and waited to see if there was any response.
The first call they had was from a guy who said that he sang lead in a group when he was a teen-ager in Brick, and the group was called the Chime-Times. Ron said,"Is this Steve Schmidt", he answered yes, who's this! The next day another phone call brought us "Singin Eddie" Velasquez, and two fellow members of the Memo's, Lou Spinelli and Steve D'Onofrio.
So, we started out as six-man group, with Steve Schmidt, and Steve D'Onofrio doing most of the leads. We never intended to perform for anything other than friends and family, but soon found ourselves singing in a Talent Show. A friend of Lou and Ed's, got us our first paying job, singing in a bowling alley bar in Union, NJ. We were the opening act for the main groups, Mixed Company and The Emery's.
The Sheps are without a doubt one of the most popular acappella groups in the N.Y.- N.J. circuit today. We have the credentials to prove it! The five part vocal group consists of original members, Tommie Shider and Richie Camacho, along with Charles Coleman and Johnnie Barlow. All residing in New Jersey. Tommy Lockhart, the fifth member lives in New York. All five members have "paid their dues" so to speak, as in gaining experience to form one of the most unique blends of harmony today! They are all committed to singing many songs that other groups won't even touch. It is for the fact that they do these obscure songs so well, that it is no wonder that a fan club was formed immediately after their very first performance! Upon receiving awards and plaques over the years, this has not changed the way the guys feel about 'really keeping the music alive!" Also these fellows have one of the highest reputations for being back-up forces for such greats as Pirkle Lee Moses, leader of the Eldorados, Otis Williams leader of the legendary Charms, Ray Wooten, leader of the Mellow Moods, Johnny Bragg, leader of the Prisonaires, Ray Pollard, leader of the Wanderers, the incredible Ruth McFadden, Bobby Mansfield, leader of the Wrens, Harvey Fuqua of the Moonglows, along with an impressive list of many more. With all this going for them, they still find the time to create their original songs in which they are constantly turning out.
Stormy Weather, a Damon Runyon-esque quintet of Hoosiers from the steel mill area of Gary/ Hammond, Indiana is the chief proponent of the nation's revitalized a cappella doo-wop sound. Growing up, they all idolized local residents, the Spaniels, of "Goodnight, Sweetheart, Goodnight" fame.
The group has recorded eight albums, including the highly touted seasonal record entitled "Street Carols," which itself has become a holiday classic. Also, a cameo-recording on Rhino Records' sports music perennial, "Baseball's Greatest Hits." Their children's series, "Doo-Wop & Lollipops," has won numerous awards, including the Parent's Choice Gold Award and the Parent's Guide to Children's Media Award.
Stormy Weather's latest release is "Looking for an Echo," their Silver Anthology containing 27 tracks marking the group's 25th Anniversary, which features the official song of the Millennium, entitled "Lady Millennium."
Collectors have made the Swallows one of the most beloved of R&B groups. Their haunting ballads and risque up-tempo novelties are perennial favorites. The origin of The Swallows goes back to 1946, when a bunch of 13-year-olds from Baltimore formed a group called the "Oakaleers." The members were: Lawrence Coxson (lead tenor), Irving Turner (tenor and baritone), Earl Hurley (first and second tenor and bongos), Norris "Bunky" Mack (bass, piano, guitar, and drums), and another tenor named Gavin. They were thus a self-contained unit in terms of vocals and instrumental accompaniment.
The Oakaleers practiced on street corners for a couple of years. Then, around 1948, they ran into a couple of guys who also sang on the corner: Eddie Rich (first tenor) and Frederick "Money Guitar" Johnson (baritone and guitar). (Rich and Johnson were childhood friends and eventual brothers-in-law.) Interestingly, Johnson, a lefty, taught himself to play a right-handed guitar held upside down.
The Tokens are well-known for one giant hit song that they put on the charts in late 1961, and the members of the group continued on in the music business in various capacities following the success of that hit.
The Lion Sleeps Tonight, also known as Wimoweh, is a Zulu song that had been sung by a tribe in South Africa. There are indications that the song originated with Solomon Linda, who wrote it as Mbube and had a hit with it on Gallotone Records in South Africa, in 1939. The Weavers recorded it as Wimoweh before the Tokens picked up on it and recorded their own spirited version of the song for RCA in 1961.
Following the success of The Lion Sleeps Tonight, the Tokens put nine more songs in the top 100 from 1962 to 1970, two of which made it to the top forty: I Hear Trumpets Blow on their own B. T. Puppy label and Portrait Of My Love on Warner. Portrait Of My Love had been a top ten hit for Steve Lawrence earlier in the decade.