corner.jpg (111929 bytes)     The Doo-Wop Groups  doowop2.jpg (74682 bytes)

rddia.gif (938 bytes) Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers            rddia.gif (938 bytes) The Platters

The Platters and Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers pop success set them apart from  most of the groups of the era. Few of the doo-wop groups made the charts or were heard on radio. Fewer still were those groups that were able to have careers greater then a single hit.
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L to R: Curtis Williams, Cleve Duncan, Dexter Tisby, Bruce Tate

The Penguins "Earth Angel" a teenage anthem.

   Cleveland Duncan - lead
   Dexter Tisby - second tenor
   Curtis Williams - replaced by Randy Jone
    Bruce Tate - replaced by Teddy Harper

The Penguins "Earth Angel" was the first "pure" doo-wop record. "Earth Angel" blended pop's melodicism and lyrical innocence with the emotional directness of gospel and R&B. A classic "ballad with a beat," the song is sung over a swaying piano triplets with sparse instrumental backing. The yearning lead vocal and ragged background voices created an amateurish" sound in the best sense.

The simple lyrics ("Earth Angel, will you be mine...") have an innocence that the untrained voices and the "garage" sound only served to heighten. "Earth Angel" was literally recorded in the garage of Dootsie Williams, owner of Dootsie Records. The Penguins sound like what they were: a group of high school students singing a song for one of their girlfriends. The message of "Earth Angel" was "That it could be me," by aspiring young singers who couldn't imagine singing like The Ink Spots or leading a jump band like Louis Jordan, but could imagine writing or singing a song like "Earth Angel." 1

Its been said that there were 15,000 Doo Wop groups that recorded at least one record. While that might been an exaggeration certainly a few thousand that did. Hundreds of those had hits, but were found a second one to be elusive. Many would spend a few years trying.   The same qualities that made them initially successful would doom them. Youth and inexperience caused them to make bad business decisions. As they married and started families came responsibility and they no longer could chase their dreams.

Below is a list of the some of the Doo Wop groups, many one hit wonders.

blueredball.gif (1701 bytes)Cleftones blueredball.gif (1701 bytes)Harptones  blueredball.gif (1701 bytes)Skyliners blueredball.gif (1701 bytes)Zodiacs
blueredball.gif (1701 bytes)Turbans blueredball.gif (1701 bytes)Hollywood Flames blueredball.gif (1701 bytes)Danny and the Juniors
blueredball.gif (1701 bytes)Cadillacs blueredball.gif (1701 bytes)Chords blueredball.gif (1701 bytes)Crows blueredball.gif (1701 bytes)Crests
blueredball.gif (1701 bytes)Dell-Vikings blueredball.gif (1701 bytes)Silhouettes blueredball.gif (1701 bytes)The Marcels blueredball.gif (1701 bytes)Mello-Kings
blueredball.gif (1701 bytes)Heartbeats blueredball.gif (1701 bytes)Five Satins blueredball.gif (1701 bytes) Flamingos blueredball.gif (1701 bytes)Diamonds
blueredball.gif (1701 bytes)Capris blueredball.gif (1701 bytes)Channels blueredball.gif (1701 bytes)Dells blueredball.gif (1701 bytes)Moonglows
blueredball.gif (1701 bytes)Cellos blueredball.gif (1701 bytes)Belmonts blueredball.gif (1701 bytes) Zodiacs blueredball.gif (1701 bytes)The Hearts
blueredball.gif (1701 bytes)Jive Five blueredball.gif (1701 bytes)Fleetwoods blueredball.gif (1701 bytes)Rivingtons blueredball.gif (1701 bytes)Nutmegs
blueredball.gif (1701 bytes)Duprees blueredball.gif (1701 bytes)Elegants blueredball.gif (1701 bytes)Dubs blueredball.gif (1701 bytes)Charms
blueredball.gif (900 bytes)Mono-Tones blueredball.gif (900 bytes)Jesters blueredball.gif (900 bytes)Paragons blueredball.gif (900 bytes)Bop Chords

Marv Goldberg's - Vocal Groups page

1 Gass History of Rock Music: The Rock and Roll Era (McGraw-Hill, 1994) p 152

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