Beatles, Liverpool & More are pleased to announce a new book by the Merseyside author Spencer Leigh. Spencer is well known for his books on the Beatles and Merseybeat but this time he is looking at a much-neglected side of popular music: doo-wop.
‘Could This Be Magic?’ by the Dubs
‘Why Do Fools Fall in Love?’ by Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers?
‘A Teenager In Love’ by Dion and the Belmonts
‘Searchin’ by the Coasters
‘Blue Moon’ by the Marcels
‘Since I Don’t Have You’ by the Skyliners
‘Duke Of Earl’ by Gene Chandler
‘To Know Him Is To Love Him’ by the Teddy Bears
‘Please Mr Postman’ by the Marvelettes
‘The Shoop Song (It’s In His Kiss)’ by Betty Everett
‘Earth Angel’ by the Penguins
‘Daddy’s Home’ by Shep and the Limelites
These fabulous records from the late 1950s/early 1960s are great examples of early rock and roll and they are still heard today as golden oldies and on film soundtracks. But they are also vocal group records in that specialised genre known as doo-wop, named after the nonsense syllables, that the background singers often sang.
Not too much is known about doo-wop.
Spencer loves doo-wop and in Could This Be Magic? The Story Of Doo-Wop he shows how the music develops and also tells the dramatic stories of Frankie Lymon, Clyde McPhatter and Dion. He relates the twists and turns of the ever-changing personnel in the Drifters and the Coasters and shows how Berry Gordy and Phil Spector used doo-wop as a springboard for their own creativity.
In an unusual move, Spencer explains that doo-wop records were also made in the UK with ‘What Do You Want To Make Those Eyes At Me For’ being a No.1 from Emile Ford and the Checkmates and there are far more British doo-wop records than you might think. Even Morecambe and Wise recorded an answer to ‘Who Put The Bomp (in the bomp, bomp, bomp)’. The Beatles did their own take on doo-wop with ‘Oh Darling’.
Spencer has spoken to doo-woppers near and far and was surprised to find that one of the Crescents who made ‘Baby Baby Baby’ in 1958 lived in the next street to him.
At the moment, you probably need cheering up and Could This Be Magic? does just that. The doo-wop records even contain advice for today: what could be more pertinent that the Jarmels’ 1961 single, ‘A Little Bit Of Soap’? And where would be Martin Scorsese’s films be without them?
The title of Spencer’s book Could This Be Magic? comes from a doo-wop single by the Dubs. Spencer’s answer is definitely Yes, and that also applies to the book itself.
The Foreword is written by Garry Christian who recalls how the American doo-wop group, the Persuasions, gave the young Christians so much encouragement. He says,
“It is great to look through Spencer’s book and see all these fabulous names – the Moonglows, the Penguins, the Cadillacs and the Coasters
Kevin Roach, Director of Beatles Liverpool and More Ltd says, “We are proud to have Spencer as part of our anthology of authors. I have had a professional relationship with Spencer for many years, including being grilled on his radio show “On The Beat”. Spencer’s research has been achieved through a detailed study of Doo-wop and through the many artists and musicians he has interviewed over the years”.
Could This Be Magic? is available worldwide as an eBook on Kindle for $5 or the equivalent in other currencies.