The Rockin' Eddy Oldies Radio Show


It all started with Doo Wop
There was a time when they roamed around street corners, overpasses, subways, wherever they could find an echo…ladies and gentlemen, on the Rockin' Eddy Oldies Radio Show we celebrate the Doo-Wop sound!
Cleftones on stage Cleftones
The Cleftones were five African-Americans from Queens, New York, who came together at Jamaica High School in 1955. They hit it with their second record "Little Girl Of Mine," which went to Number 8 R&B and Number 57 Pop in 1957 with the help of Jimmy Wright's sax, but had to wait five years for further significant success. With a female, Patricia Spann, added to the ranks, a slight change in style paid off when "Heart And Soul," a cover of Larry Clinton's 1938 hit, became the group's biggest single at Number 10 R&B and Number 18 Pop.
The Moonglows The Moonglows
Managed by Alan Freed in 1954, the Moonglows struck gold with "Sincerely," written by Harvey Fuqua and led by Bobby Lester, whose silk voice captivated the mature days of Rhythm & Blues. The song rose to Number 1 R&B and may be considered the great anthem of the decade. Later hits included "The Ten Commandments Of Love" - "See Saw" and "I Knew From The Start."
The Spaniels The Spaniels
Vocal group which found an appreciative home on Vee-Jay, the Spaniels won praise in 1954 for their "Goodnight Sweetheart Goodnight," trade magazine Billboard particularly liking the imitation of a sax by the bass singer which gives this a gimmick. Other R&B tunes from the era included "Stormy Weather" and the original "A Rockin' Good Way" later covered by Brook Benton & Dinah Washington, but none were meant to capitalize on their '54 success of "Goodnight Sweetheart Goodnight."
The Crests The Crests
Formed in Brooklyn in 1955, the Crests had originally been a quintet, but 15 year-old Patricia Van Dross, older sister of soul superstar Luther Van Dross, was deemed too young to tour. Undaunted, the remaining male members (two African-Americans, a Puerto Rican and an Italian) hit big in the spring of '59 with "16 Candles" which reached Number 2 nationally. They followed up with eight more Top 100 hits by the end of 1960, but dipped in popularity the following year. However, it was Crests' lead singer Johnny Maestro who went solo that year and scored some hits for Coed Records with "Mr. Happiness" among others.
Dion and the Belmonts  
Dion Francis DiMucci, known professionally as just Dion, teamed up with the Belmonts in early 1958 and quickly became one of the biggest pop stars of the era and opened the door for many white vocal groups, many Italian in origin, to perform Doo-wop. Singles like "I Wonder Why" and "A Teenager In Love", both bearing the trademark Laurie Records, became staples on stations nationwide. However in '60, having placed eight Laurie 45s in the Hot 100, Dion parted company to pursue a solo career with a backup group called the Del-Satins.
Little Anthony and the Imperials Little Anthony and the Imperials
Hailing from New York, the Imperials were headed by Jerome Anthony Gourdine. Signing to End Records shortly after their formation in '58, they instantly found success with "Tears On My Pillow" which sold a million copies, rocketing the band to Number 4 in the Hot 100. Though they never matched the success of their debut, they did make a strong comeback with a string of hits between the years '64 and '65 at the height of Beatlemania.
The Five Satins The Five Satins
Five Satins: "In The Still Of The Night" deserves to have a book written about it; group leader Fred Parris wrote it as a B-side for "The Jones Girl" on Standard Records. Ember Record's Al Silver heard its potential, bought the masters, flipped it over and reissued it. Trade paper Billboard rating it "a smoothly paced ballad with dramatic lyrics, with warm expressiveness." Not bad when you consider there were only four Satins in the studio! Fred Parris was sent to Japan on national military service, but the records still charted, and although it only peaked at Number 24 Pop and 3 R&B, it has sold well enough over the years to make it a gold record. Follow-up "To The Aisle", a perennial wedding favorite, made it to Number 25.
The Duprees The Duprees
Only when it was thought that the era of vocal groups was over, not quite as a New Jersey outfit, the Duprees, proved successful. In 1962, they placed seven hits on the national charts in the U.S. Most were remakes of Forties and Fifties pop tunes, the biggest, "You Belong To Me", a reworking of a Jo Stafford hit from ten years earlier, and "My Own True Love", based on Tara's Theme from the 1939 movie Gone With The Wind. Their output was deliberately nostalgic in feel, and the swing orchestra backing owed much to George Paxton's (Coed Record's publisher) big-band background.
The Regents The Regents
New Yorkers the Regents are best remembered for "Barbara-Ann", a Number 13 hit in 1961; if you're too young to recall it, the Beach Boys cover from four years later that made Number 2 and remains a radio staple today may ring bells. The Italian-American outfit, who'd apparently been turned down by 50 labels before Gee Records signed them up, followed up with "Runaround", which hit Number 28 later in '61. Like so many groups of their style, they were swept away by the British Invasion, but they briefly re-formed in '64 as the Runarounds.
The Jive Five The Jive Five
The Jive Five: Led by Eugene Pitt, the quintet from Brooklyn made national attention in '61 with their "My True Story" released on Beltone Records, a song which was meant to be a crossover between Doo-Wop and Soul, at a time when really Soul Music was trying to define itself (it would later to do so in the decade). Continuing with the same sound, they would follow up with tunes likes "Never, Never" - "These Golden Rings" and "What Time Is It" between '61 and '62. By '64, they had developed such a Soul sound that they were signed to United Artists and actually became the last charted Doo-Wop group to hit the Top 40 in 1965 with their song "I'm A Happy Man" Number 36 nationally.