The Meherrin River Arts Council will present the final performance of its 2019 concert series on Saturday, May 11, with Doo Wop Live. The performance will begin at 7:30 p.m. Doors open at 6:45 PM
Doo Wop Live is a blast from the past with some of the biggest hit-makers from the 1950s and 1960s. Featuring The Flamingos, Joey Dee & The Starliters, Danny & The Juniors, Jay Siegel’s Tokens, and The Crystals, this show is filled with legends from one of music’s most recognizable eras. These bands have sold millions of records and led the charts with songs that are timeless and known around the world.
The Flamingos: With their intricate and flawless vocal arrangements, the Flamingos are widely regarded as one of the best vocal groups in music history. The vocals and sharp choreography of Motown’s biggest stars—the Temptations, the Supremes, the Jackson 5 and the Miracles among them—owe a debt to the Flamingos, as do such paragons of Philadelphia soul as the Spinners and Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes.
Although many of the Flamingos’ recordings did not make the pop charts or even get heard beyond a regional fan base, they have, with hindsight, acquired a reputation as vocal-group classics. In particular, their third single, “Golden Teardrops,” has been hailed as “the most perfect-sounding single of all time” and “a legendary masterpiece.” Yet it failed to reach the national pop charts upon its initial release in 1953, and a reissue eight years later stalled at No. 108.
Still, the Flamingos put 11 singles on the pop chart and nine singles on the R&B chart between 1956 and 1970. Two of those singles made the Top 10: “I’ll Be Home” (No. Five R&B) and “I Only Have Eyes For You” (No. 3 R&B and No. 11 pop).
Joey Dee and The Starliters: Joey is a “Jersey Boy” born in Passaic, N.J. Best known for their successful multi-million selling recording and dance, Peppermint Twist (1961), the group The Starlighters was started by Joey Dee and universally known for performing at The World Famous Peppermint Lounge, NYC, the most popular night club in the world.
The group’s hits include “You are Just to Good to Be True” and “Peppermint Twist.” Joey Dee has firmly established his place in pop culture and the music industry. Actively performing over 50 years later, Joey Dee will be remembered generations down the line.
Danny & The Juniors: Danny & The Juniors, individually Frank Maffei, Danny Rapp, Joe Terranova and Dave White, began singing together in the early 1950s at ages 13 and 14 in Philadelphia, where they were fans of the local rhythm and blues radio stations. It was there they heard the first stirrings of a new music soon to become known as rock ‘n’ roll.
Danny & The Juniors have made almost 50 American Bandstand appearances and have been on numerous television shows — from the old Patti Page Big Record Show to Nashville Now more recently. Their hits include “At the Hop” and “Rock and Roll is Here to Stay.”
The group has also been featured in three motion pictures, and their songs have been in many more.
Now, in their fifth decade as performers, the group still appears at a multitude of venues including conventions, theatres, clubs, casinos, fairs and festivals. Their wholesome, fun-loving stage show is embellished with comedy, impressions, bright costumes and audience participation, while still preserving the rich history and is regarded as one of the best in the business.
Jay Siegel’s Tokens: Born in Brighton Beach, N.Y., a lifelong friendship with Neil Sedaka began when both attended Lincoln High School in Brooklyn, where, in 1955, Sedaka formed The Linc-Tones singing group.
A year later, Siegel joined the Linc-Tones, and the group name was changed to The Tokens. Siegel and Sedaka, and fellow Tokens Cynthia Zolitan and Hank Medress, then recorded “While I Dream” and “I Love My Baby” for Melba Records. As The Tokens, they performed together on their first television show, The Ted Steele Dance Time.
In 1958, Sedaka left The Tokens to begin his solo career. Siegel joined Warren Schwartz, Fred Kalkstein and Hank Medress to form Darrell and the Oxfords. Together they recorded the regional hit, “Picture in my Wallet”.
A reformed Tokens group emerged in 1961, with Mitch and Phil Margo joining Medress and Siegel. The group quickly attained prominence with the hit song, “Tonight I Fell In Love.”
In October 1961, they recorded what has become one of the biggest hit songs of all time, “The Lion Sleeps Tonight.” Other major hits for The Tokens include, “He’s in Town,” “I Hear Trumpets Blow” and “Portrait of My Love.” Jay Siegel and the Tokens have also produced many American pop classics, including The Chiffons’ “One Fine Day” and “He’s So Fine,” Randy and the Rainbows’ “Denise,” Tony Orlando and Dawn’s’ “Candida,” “Knock Three Times,” and “Tie a Yellow Ribbon,” as well as “I Got Rhythm” and “See You in September” by The Happenings.
The Crystals: When Phil Spector discovered The Crystals, not one was yet out of high school. Their first recording, “There’s No Other (Like My Baby),” was also their first hit, which catapulted them straight to the Apollo theatre. They continued their successful recordings with five more Top Ten records: “Uptown,” “He’s A Rebel,” “He’s Sure The Boy I Love,” “Da Doo Ron Ron,” and “Then He Kissed Me.” Two of the Top 50 most popular records in the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame belong to The Crystals.
For information and tickets, contact the MRAC box office by calling 434-634-6001. Additional MRAC information is available online at mrac-arts.com.
All performances take place at the Emporia Greensville Performing Arts Center, located at the Greensville Elementary School, 1101 Sussex Drive (Hwy. 301 North), Emporia, Va.