Doo-Wop

Doo-Wop

Rich vocal harmonies combined with teen romance.

Cultural Origin

1940s in various large cities, including Baltimore, Chicago, Detroit, Los Angeles, New York, Philadelphia and Washington DC.

Prominent Artists

The Cardinals, The Clovers, The Coasters, The Dells, The Flamingos, The Cadillacs, The Moonglows, The Penguins, The Orioles, The Ravens, The Shirelles

Influenced By

Jazz, Swing, Barbershop Quartets

Later Influenced

Rock & Roll, Motown, Proto-Punk and Punk, R&B

Cover of 1957 Ember record by The Five Satins
Cover of 1957 Ember record by The Five Satins

About The Genre

Doo-wop originated in the 1940s among Black youth in large cities like New York, Baltimore, Philadelphia, and Detroit. The hallmark of a doo-wop song is strong vocal harmony, a wide range of vocal parts, nonsense syllables, and a teen melodrama.

Doo-wop was born out of the rhythm and blues and swing music styles and the vocal tradition of barbershop music (another genre thought of as "white" that has Black American roots). Doo-wop had a profound influence on rock and roll, Motown, soul, and even proto-punk (Lou Reed, Jonathan Richman) and punk (the Ramones) artists.

Trivia/Famous Lyrics

DId you know...

The moon may be high
(Sha bop sha bop)
But I can't see (sha bop sha bop) a thing in the sky
I only have eyes for you

"I Only Have Eyes For You" by Al Dubin, performed by The Flamingos


Earth angel, earth angel
Will you be mine?
My darling dear
Love you all the time
I'm just a fool
A fool in love with you

"Earth Angel" The Penguins

Artists from this genre

The Drifters

The Drifters

They recorded 13 Billboard top-30 hits.

The Platters

The Platters

Singers of some of the all-time great romantic ballads.

MORE Genres from this era

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BeBop

BeBop

Jazz music moves off the dance floor.

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The blues plugs in.

Rock & Roll

Rock & Roll

The biggest musical phenomenon of the 20th-century.