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Doo-wop records found itself emerging in the 1940’s, but never really obtaining a mainstream following until the 1950’s and into the 1960’s. Featuring a different style than what is associated with music today, Doo-wop records focused on vocals with very little instrumentation. Often times utilizing random syllables into the music, it is also known for its simple beats, and despite being vocal heavy – its simple lyrics.
In its beginnings, the singers would often times get together in subways or on street corners in a city and in groups of three, four and sometimes up to six, would perform. Instruments were rarely used, leading to the heavy usage of onomatopoeias to make noises meant to mimic instruments, indirectly giving birth to the doo-wop records name.
The name first appeared in print in 1961 when the genre was seeing a resurgence. The origin of the name is still unknown however. “When You Dance”, released in 1955, is the first known song to use the word, “Doo-Wop” in its refrain, though other songs had used it in backing vocals before and in choruses.
As the popularity of the Doo-wop records genre began to take off, like most other genres in its time, it led to subgenres and the emerging of other genres. Many have credited Doo-wop with the rise of rock and roll through the hits of “Gee” by The Crows and The Chord’s “Sh-Boom” which managed to cross into the pop music charts.
There have been several revival efforts in recent decades for the Doo-wop records genre, with efforts to even bring together past musicians on stage.