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