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Episode 1

Episode 1 of 4

Duration:
27 minutes
First broadcast:
Thursday 11 October 2007

Ronnie Spector explores the rise, fall and enduring influence of doo wop.

Like rap in the 1980s, doo wop was once the DIY music of young America. For people who couldn't afford instruments, all that was needed was a talent for singing in harmony.

With the help of the musicians, the producers and the hustlers who made it happen; this series charts the rise, fall, and rise again, of the music. It also considers whether doo wop, as the first black street music to go mainstream, was a precursor to hip hop and rap.

The first programme, Opening Notes, looks at how the success of gospel groups in the late 1940s inspired a new style of close harmony rhythm and blues. And before long, vocal groups like The Swallows, The Ravens and The Orioles were flying high in the charts.

Contributors include: Leonard Puzey of The Ravens, Heman Denby of The Swallows, Ira Tucker of The Dixie Hummingbirds, Deborah Chessler, composer of It's Too Soon To Know by The Orioles, writers Todd Baptista and Marv Goldberg.

The documentary was first broadcast on Radio 2 in 2007.

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