Doo Wopby Tyler Woods on May. 03, 2011, under Life
I was humming the other day as I usually do. I sometimes think I hum in my sleep. Sometimes my humming turns into song but the other day as I hummed through the day an odd thing happened, suddenly I was doo-wopping around the house and it got me thinking…
What is doo wop, what does it mean and how did it get started? Well basically doo wop came from phonetic syllables used for rhythm and “fill ins” for musical arrangements and it added beat.
Doo wop was incredible and started by singing acapella. Many African Americans in the 40s took to singing beautiful four and five-part harmony in the streets. It was a stepping board for the use of harmonies. You didn’t really need a band, all you needed was good vocals. Tenors, baritones, altos and grown men singing way up in their falsetto voices creating song and rhythm. Eventually doo wop would take simple music and turned it into hits.
The Ink Spots were influence on what we would all call doo-wop. Credit of course would need to go to the Mills Brothers and the Ravens who were important touchstones to this music genre, however, doo wop officially started in 1951 with a song by the Larks called “My Reverie”. Other songs followed such as “I Couldn’t Sleep a Wink Last Night” by The Mello-Moods, “Glory of Love” by The Five Keys, “Shouldn’t I Know” by The Cardinals and “It Ain’t the Meat” by The Swallows. Doo-wop was mainstream. People were beginning to listen and enjoy it.
Then in 1953 a disc jockey named Alan Freed started introducing black groups’ music to his white audiences and oh boy it was a real great success. Soon everyone was getting on the doo-wop wagain and all sorts of bands were forming. The Spaniels, The Moonglows and The Flamingos, The Castelles and The Penguins all started singing doo-wop.
More doo-wopping started happening and this music was slamming the charts. Hits like “The Great Pretender,” “Tears on My Pillow,” “Maybe,” “Searchin’,” “Gee,” “Stay,” “A Teenager in Love,” “I Only Have Eyes for You,” “Why Do Fools Fall in Love,” “Book of Love,” “Silhouettes,” “Get a Job,” “In the Still of the Nite,” “Earth Angel,” “What’s Your Name,” “16 Candles,” “Since I Don’t Have You.”
When you look back on it, really doo wop was the beginning of pop music. It was the cornerstone of the music of the 50s and is an integral part music history. College choirs now have acapella contests and sing hit songs do wop style. There is a great band out there called rock-apella which features the doo wop style of vocals to modern day songs.
These harmonies are the roots to our music and they are not going anywhere, you just have to look a little today to find them but I feel we do not give doo wop music the credit it really deserves.