Is Doo-Wop Dead?

A couple of months ago, I poured over an article detailing the decline of doo-wop with interest. No, I’ve never been a connoisseur of the genre, but it always brought a smile to my face when I heard one of The Ronettes or The Temptations. In fact, those dulcet girl groups and foot-tapping melodies seemed to be creeping up with increased incidence. Hearing a little doo-wop between sets at a trendy indie show is certainly not unusual.

So, in this – the very age of nostalgia – why isn’t doo-wop more popular? Are we simply too cynical to accept it? Might it still have its turn for a comeback? And how do you measure the vitality of a genre? Does it have to keep churning out new artists and producing new music for it to be “alive”?

If you’ve got answers, I’d love to hear them.

In the meantime, here’s a modest little compilation of some of the essentials. Maybe it won’t be enough to rekindle an interest in the genre or to launch a new era of doo-wop groups, but as long as these songs continue to net hundreds of thousands of plays on Youtube – a site that seems to be a far more popular source of boobs and baby animals – the genre hasn’t breathed its dying breath just yet.

“Then He Kissed Me” by The Crystals

“Who Wrote the Book of Love” by The Monotones


2 Responses to “Is Doo-Wop Dead?”

  1. 1 Richard April 16, 2012 at 8:14 am

    Doo wop is alive for many people but you have to consider the age factor.
    The 50’s early 60’s generation is fading. Many of the artists are passing on or just to old to perform anymore. There will always be a fascination for the group harmony sound though. There will be future generations that will discover it again. In the meantime though doowop is still alive on the radio and the internet. I invite you to tune into such a show on every Wednesday from 10am to 1pm (east coast time zone).

  2. 2 I April 16, 2012 at 3:03 pm

    I think doo-wop was needed for its time. It was very much born out of the era when music was still finding itself. Today you have so much that doo-wop, while head bopping worthy, may be too simple for today’s musicians but its not to say it didn’t inspire them to do what they do today, there is just so much more you can do with it now. Plus it still has that really old feel to it but not in a vintage way, so it might seem silly for a group today to somehow become a pure old school doo-wop band unless it’s a cover band for a wedding.
    I am sure you have noticed but there not very many raw bands out there anymore. Not that I am complaining but most of those types of bands have to really fight for an audience, which is sad because they are probably our best jewels. It seemed like bands back then weren’t as corrupted, there seemed to be an innocence and purity we just don’t have anymore. I mean look at those videos, it wasn’t about being a performer or even entertainment, it was about the song and you dressed up for it but in a respectful way not in a way to put on some insane show. I don’t know, it’s sad, like most things that are fading that came from times of true hardship, when things really were bad and hard and you had to fight for rights, for life, etc. It’s not like that anymore, music isn’t just seen as making a mad world happy or a sad girl, smile like it used to be. Doo wop makes your soul hurt a little, while still putting that smile on your face. People have too much to choose from today and while it’s good, it’s also kind of overwhelming. OR maybe doo-wop was done so well that no one dare re-create it today and thanks to Youtube no one has to, so non-virtually I’d say it’s dead, or soon will be when all of our elders pass on.
    But then again, all a doo-wop band really needs to do today is find its way to Saturday Night Live and they are sure to makes record sales sore again. womp.

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"He considered music a liberating force: it liberated him from loneliness, introversion, the dust of the library; it opened the door of his body and allowed his soul to step out into the world to make friends."

- Milan Kundera's The Unbearable Lightness of Being


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