One of the most distinguished voices in the music industry, Jerry
Butler's career spans four impressive decades, claiming over fifty
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.
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?"
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
in 1958 in Detroit, Mi., The Contours have the distinction of being
one of Berry Gordy's earliest discoveries for Motown Records.
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."
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.
Parris & the Five Satins:
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.
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
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
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.
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."
Christie (a.k.a. Lugee Alfredo Giovanni Sacco) is a Pittsburgh boy,
known throughout the 1960s for his bubblegum pop style of music.
his distinctive falsetto voice, Christie also made his mark as one
of the first performers of the rock era to compose his own songs.
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.
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.
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."
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.
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".
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.
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
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.
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."
& 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.
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."
Rhythm and Doo Wop marks Larry's laudable return to music after
a battle with throat cancer late last year.
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.
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.
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.
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
& 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."
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."
& 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
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.
& 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!
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.
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
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.
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."
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'
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'
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 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.
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.
the next three years, they continued to score with a number of popular
songs hits, most of them ballads, before disbanding in 1963.
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 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.
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.
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."
& the Rays: The
Rays, formed in New York City and popular during the 1950s, performed
songs by Bob Crewe and Frank Slay, among others.
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").
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."