Doo-Wop: Why They Keep Going

Doo Wop singerMost of my posts in the music category are about classical music, but there are a few about Doo-Wop. Last night at the Flagler Auditorium in Bunnell, Florida was was a different kind of “classical” music. The Pop, Rock & Doo-Wop Live! Concert featured Shirley Alston Reeves, original lead singer of The Shirelles, Dennis Tufano, original lead singer of the The Buckinghams, and Emil Stucchio & The Classics.

Shirley and her two companions sang, “Will You Love Me Tomorrow”, “Soldier Boy”, “Foolish Little Girt”, “Mama Said”, and “Tonight’s the Night”. Dennis sang “Kind of a Drag”, “Don’t You Care”, “Hey Baby! They’re Playing Our Song”, “Susan”, and “Mercy, Mercy, Mercy”. Emil and The Classics sang “Till Then” and other recognizable hits from 50+ years ago. The Doo-Wop spectacular featured these and other classics of the 50s & 60s. It was a real trip down memory lane.

The Origins and even the spelling of Doo Wop are debated but most would agree it evolved from a merging of pop, gospel, blues, jazz and swing elements in the late 1940’s and early 50’s. Some call it vocal group harmonizing at it’s best. I think of Doo-Wop music as innocent, joyous, romantic and, almost spiritual.

Watching these performing groups on stage is always inspiring. A little arithmetic from the fifties to now can quickly show most of the performers were well past Medicare eligible 65. Shirley said she was 76, Dennis will be 72 shortly, and Emil is approximately 75. Some of the group looked their age, some did not. All of them had great voices and rhythm. If you look at their concert schedules on the web, you can see they are performing almost constantly — one group claimed 208 concerts last year. Why are they doing this? Why don’t they stop and retire? It is possible some lived past their means or did not invest in their future during the hay days, and now need the money. Others may do it out of loyalty to other members of their group. Some may not know what else to do. Most however, are probably doing it because they love it. You could see the sparkle in their eyes and the spring in their step. As the audience raved, the performers were inspired, and the cycle continued.