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More Rock, Rhythm & Doo Wop | BACK TO INDEX

Hosted by Frankie Valli, Jerry "The Iceman" Butler and Lloyd Price, "More Rock, Rhythm and Doo Wop" is a once in-a-lifetime reunion of music legends -- with a surprise appearance by Little Richard and an exhilarating performance of "Keep-A-Knockin'."

Over 200 performers from rock & roll, R&B and Doo Wop music ignite the stage, including Jay Black and The Americans, Little Anthony & The Imperials, Lenny Welch, The Reflections and more. These musical legends perform many of their most popular and well-known hits and is sure to bring back many fond memories.

"More Rock, Rhythm and Doo Wop" contains material recorded at the same time, but not seen in "Rock, Rhythm and Doo Wop", broadcast live on PBS in December 2001 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the "Oldies Capitol of the World."

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Jerry Butler: One of the most distinguished voices in the music industry, Jerry Butler's career spans four impressive decades, claiming over fifty albums!

Butler's first big hit, "For Your Precious Love," came in 1958, when he performed with the Impressions. Butler had written the lyrics for the song when he was only 16.

Butler left the Impressions later that year to embark on his solo career, and shortly after that his single "He Will Break Your Heart" rocketed to the top of the charts and stayed there for seven consecutive weeks. Subsequent hits included "Hey, Western Union Man," "Only the Strong Survive," "Never Give You Up," and "Are You Happy?"

In the early 1970s, he teamed with singer Brenda Lee Eager for the soul-ballad duet "Ain't Understanding Mellow" (which made it to number 3 on the Billboard R&B chart), a cover of The Carpenters' "They Long to be Close to You," and a remake of The O'Jays' "One Night Affair." The latter marked his last song to crack the Top Ten.

While he has continued to croon over the decades, Butler has also made the interesting move to local and regional politics, campaigning on behalf of Chicago's first black mayor, Harold Washington, and later taking positions as the Cook County (Ill.) Commissioner and as a Chicago City Alderman. In addition to singing "He Don't Love You Like I Love You" for Rock, Rhythm and Doo Wop, Butler -- with his trademark "Iceman" style -- serves as one of the program's hosts.

The Reflections: This five-man doo wop group formed in 1962 in the Detroit area. Although their first recording was a remake of The Five Satins' "In the Still of the Night," their first hit came two years later when they recorded "Romeo and Juliet" for Ed Wingate's Golden World label.

Although they recorded seven more tunes for Golden World (including "Like Columbus Did," "Talking About My Girl" and "Poor Man's Son") none of them performed as well as their first hit.

They later switched labels and even their name (to High and the Mighty), but none of their new recordings achieved the success of their earliest work, "Romeo and Juliet" --which is what the group performs for Rock, Rhythm and Doo Wop.

Little Anthony & the Imperials: Formed in 1958 in Brooklyn, N.Y., Little Anthony & The Imperials began their career as The Chesters, but changed their name to The Imperials at the suggestion of disc jockey Alan Freed.

They enjoyed a much longer chart run than many of the doo wop groups of the same era. Between 1958 and 1974, they saw ten of their songs hit the Hot 100, including "Tears on My Pillow," "Shimmy Shimmy Ko Ko Bop," "Going Out of My Head," and "Hurt So Bad."

The group revamped in 1964, whittling down to four members and changing their sounds from classic doo wop to a harder-edged R&B. Little Anthony continued to work as a solo artist after 1975, but the group s reunited once more to sing "Tears on My Pillow" at the Rock, Rhythm and Doo Wop concert.

The Contours: Formed in 1958 in Detroit, Mi., The Contours have the distinction of being one of Berry Gordy's earliest discoveries for Motown Records.

The quintet scored an R&B chart-topper in 1962 with the hard-rocking hit "Do You Love Me," which was repopularized by the "Dirty Dancing" soundtrack. Later hits include the soul classics "Just a Little Misunderstanding" and "First I Look at the Purse."

"Do You Love Me" sees yet another reincarnation and a chance to capture a new audience as The Contours perform it during Rock, Rhythm and Doo Wop.

Fred Parris & the Five Satins: Fred Parris started the doo wop group The Scarlets back in 1953, while he was still in high school in New Haven, Conn. The following year, Parris re-organized the group as The Five Satins, and shortly after that, they recorded one of Parris's compositions in the basement of a local church.

That song was "In the Still of the Night." It was released as a single on Standard Records in the spring of 1956 before being leased to the Ember label, when it shot up the charts. While "In the Still of the Night" made its mark on the charts, Parris was drafted; with him stationed in Japan, the group recorded its follow-up single "To the Aisle" with Bill Baker handling lead vocals.

When Parris returned from the military in 1958, he reorganized the group yet again, seeing minor hits before "In the Still of the Night" re-entered the pop charts, thanks to exposure on an Oldies but Goodies compilation album.

During the '60's and early 70's, Parris led versions of The Satins in oldies concerts around the US and in Europe, until the group saw its last doo wop hit in the Top 100 in 1982, a medley titled "Memories of Days Gone By." Parris left music entirely in the mid-1990's after the tragic death of his wife.

After much urging, Fred Parris came out of retirement to once again join The Five Satins for Rock, Rhythm and Doo Wop, where the group performs, of course, "In the Still of the Night."

Lou Christie: Lou Christie (a.k.a. Lugee Alfredo Giovanni Sacco) is a Pittsburgh boy, known throughout the 1960s for his bubblegum pop style of music.

With his distinctive falsetto voice, Christie also made his mark as one of the first performers of the rock era to compose his own songs.

Early in the '60's, while playing with various local bands, he changed his name to Lou Christie, and eventually teamed with a classically trained musician named Twila Herbert. The two co-wrote "The Gypsy Cried," which Christie recorded in his garage. The song was licensed and released nationally by the Roulette label, making it to number 24 on the pop charts by 1963.

His follow-up, "Two Faces Have I," made it into the Top Ten, but shortly after, Christie's career was interrupted by a stint in the Army.

In 1966, he made his move back to music with the smash "Lightnin' Strikes" (which he sings for Rock, Rhythm, and Doo Wop), and then "Rhapsody in the Rain."

After scoring one last Top Ten hit in 1969 ("I'm Gonna Make You Mine") left music until the late 1980s, when he began making occasional appearances on oldies package tours.

Lloyd Price: When a teenaged Lloyd Price and his brother Leo put together a small local band in 1952, Specialty Records exec Art Rupe caught the act and released Price's classic "Lawdy Miss Clawdy" to rave reviews. The song topped the R&B charts and paved the way for more hits on the Specialty Label, including "Ain't It a Shame" and "Tell Me Pretty Baby".

Shortly after, Price was drafted, but after serving in Korea, he left the military to start his own label, KRC Records, with partners Harold Logan and Bill Boskent. In 1958, Price's adaptation of Stagger Lee topped both the R&B and pop charts. A string of hits followed in the late 1950s and throughout the '60s, including "Where Were You On Our Wedding Day," "Personality" and "Come Into My Heart," but Price left the music business when his partner Logan was murdered in 1969.

After more than a decade abroad, Price returned to the US. It wasn't until the early 1990s, though, that he returned to music to take part in an oldies revival. Yet another era of his career blossomed and he's performed regularly ever since. For the Rock, Rhythm and Doo Wop concert, Price performs his early hit "Stagger Lee."

Little Richard: Born Richard Wayne Penniman in Macon, Georgia, Little Richard merged gospel with New Orleans R&B to create a fiery sound that earned him status as one of the true rock-and-roll greats.

Signed by Specialty Records in 1955, Little Richard turned a provocative ditty into his first smash hit, "Tutti Frutti." For Rock, Rhythm and Doo Wop, Little Richard treats fans to a sizzling rendition of "Good Golly Miss Molly."

Larry Chance & the Earls: One of the more revered of the white doo wop groups, The Earls began their career as The High Hatters in 1957 at the Tecumseh Social Club in the Bronx.

Lead vocalist Larry Figueiredo changed his name to Larry Chance (after the record label) and he and his partners started recording in Rome in 1961. That year, they recorded their first New York hit, a version of the Harp-Tones' "Life Is But a Dream."

Rock, Rhythm and Doo Wop marks Larry's laudable return to music after a battle with throat cancer late last year.

Shep's Limelites : After singing with several other groups in the late 1950s, James Sheppard connected with old friends Clarence Bassett and Charles Baskerville (formerly of The Videos) to form Shep & The Limelites.

After a lackluster start on the APR Records label, they were signed by Hull Records and released "Daddy's Home," a sentimental ballad about returning from war. The single shot to number 2 on the pop chart in 1961.

During the next four years, Hull released 12 more of the group's singles; "Our Anniversary," which reached number 7 on the R&B charts, was their only other chart success.

They disbanded in 1966, and then reunited in 1970 for the oldies revue circuit. Shortly after, James Sheppard died in an accident. But The Limelites regroup for Rock, Rhythm and Doo Wop to perform "Daddy's Home."

Lenny Cocco & the Chimes: This quintet formed in Brooklyn in the mid-1950s, and scored an immediate hit with a remake of Tommy Dorsey's "Once in a While," which reached number 11 on the charts. Their follow-up success was a remake of the 1930s classic "I'm in the Mood for Love."

Reforming in the 1970s to play oldies revival shows, the group has been at it ever since. For Rock, Rhythm and Doo Wop, Lenny & The Chimes perform their first hit, "Once in a While."

Gene Hughes & the Casinos: Although this Cincinnati-based band formed in 1958, they didn't reach the top of the charts until 1967, with their ballad "Then You Can Tell Me Goodbye." They were a throwback to the earlier days of doo wop, with smooth harmonies and a neat, conservative appearance.

Although the Casinos recorded a number of other singles for the Fraternity label throughout the 1960s, none of their songs ever matched the success of "Then You Can Tell Me Goodbye." It's the song the group performs for Rock, Rhythm and Doo Wop.

Jay Black & the Americans: Formed in New York City in 1961, The Americans' original "Jay" was Jay Traynor, lead singer when the band had their first hit, "She Cried." By the time the band scored another chart hit in 1963 ("Only in America"), the new lead singer was Jay Black -- who was actually named David, but changed his name to "Jay" to fit the band's name!

Other big hits included "Let's Lock the Door" and "Cara Mia" (which they perform at Rock, Rhythm and Doo Wop). After their mid-1960s success, Jay & The Americans fell out of the limelight until a brief reappearance in 1969 and 1970 with updated covers of The Drifters' "This Magic Moment" and the Ronette's "Walkin' in the Rain." Shortly after, they joined the oldies revue circuit.

Ed Townsend: Although Ed Townsend had his own R&B hit in 1958, "For Your Love," this venerable singer/songwriter is just as famous (if not more so) for the hits he wrote that were recorded by such renowned artists as Nat "King" Cole and Etta James. (In the mid-1970s, Townsend co-wrote the classic "Let's Get it On" with Marvin Gaye.)

Although Townsend recorded other Capitol singles, including "Be My Love" and "Hold On," "For Your Love" remains his most popular tune. He performs it at Rock, Rhythm and Doo Wop.

The Duprees: Formed in 1962 in Jersey City, N.J., The Duprees' hallmark was to treat pop-rock standards to classy, big band treatment. They achieved great success in 1962-63 when "You Belong to Me" made the Top Ten; three other hits, "My Own True Love," "Have You Heard" and "Why Don't You Believe Me" also scored as Top 40 hits. For the Rock, Rhythm and Doo Wop reunion, The Duprees perform their classic "You Belong to Me."

Bobby Lewis: Although Lewis worked for years as a recording artist, he is somewhat unfairly dubbed a "one-hit wonder" because none of his other tunes achieved the monster success of the 1961 smash "Tossin' and Turnin'."

That single sold over three million copies on the Beltone label, which issued an accompanying album by Lewis thanks to the single's success. Of course, for Rock, Rhythm and Doo Wop, Lewis performs "Tossin' and Turnin'."

Kathy Young with the Innocents: Formed in Sun Valley, Ca., in 1958, this group performed songs by Al Candelaria, Darron Stankey, Jeanne Vikki and James West, and counted "Gee Whiz," "Honest I Do" and "A Thousand Stars" among their hits before disbanding in 1964. Together again for the Rock, Rhythm and Doo Wop reunion, Kathy Young joins The Innocents to perform "A Thousand Stars."

The Fleetwoods: The smooth sound of The Fleetwoods allowed them to enjoy success with both doo wop and R&B. Singers Gretchen Christopher and Barbara Ellis initially invited Gary Troxell to accompany them as a trumpet player, but not long after The Fleetwoods formed, Troxell abandoned the trumpet and joined the crooning.

Their 1959 debut was "Come Softly to Me," and their third single, "Mr. Blue," made it to the number 1 spot on the pop charts and into the Top Five R&B.

Over the next three years, they continued to score with a number of popular songs hits, most of them ballads, before disbanding in 1963.

The Fleetwoods have reunited occasionally in the past for oldies revues, and even recorded an album in 1973. For Rock, Rhythm and Doo Wop, the trio performs "Mr. Blue."

Lenny Welch: Lenny Welch worked doggedly throughout the 1960s to sign and sing for various record labels. Often compared to the velvet-voiced Johnny Mathis, Welch seemed destined for huge things. But bad luck and bad business conspired against him.

His first release, "You Don't Know Me," was marginally popular, but it was his second single on the Cadence label, "Since I Fell For You," that made its mark on the charts. It hit number 5, paving the way for a follow-up success with "Ebb Tide." When Cadence unexpectedly folded in 1964, Welch continued to record for other labels, and even performed gigs on weekends while serving in the military.

Welch recorded some popular songs, including "Darling Take Me Back," "Please Help Me I'm Falling" and "The Right to Cry," but a voluntary leave-of-absence from the music world cooled his career and an attempted comeback in the 1970s never offered the same spark. Nonetheless, he's back and in great form for Rock, Rhythm and Doo Wop, performing "Since I Fell for You."

Hal Miller & the Rays: The Rays, formed in New York City and popular during the 1950s, performed songs by Bob Crewe and Frank Slay, among others.

Their music appears on various compilation albums, including Alan Freed's "Memory Lane," "Oldies but Goodies, Vol. 4," and in 1976, "Fonzie Favorites" (in reference to the popular TV series "Happy Days").

Hal Miller --who has also worked with a number of other artists throughout his career including Carlos Santana and Mary K. Miller -- reunites with The Rays at Rock, Rhythm and Doo Wop to perform "Silhouettes."

 


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