Doo Wop stars take trip down memory lane
FOLSOM — Get ready to tap your toes and snap your fingers as Danny & the Juniors, The Chordettes, The Vibrations and Original Coaster Leon Hughes and His Group take center stage at the Harris Center/Three Stages for a trip down memory lane. Joined by Comedy Host Steve Bruner and The Max Bett Band, this Sept. 13 concert is certain to have people dancing in the aisles.
Building on the success of last year’s The Best of Doo Wop, Reunion of the Doo Wop Stars perform some of their favorite hits such as “At The Hop,” “Yakety Yak,” “Mr. Sandman,” “The Watusi,” “Hully Gully,” “Hang on Sloopy” and many more.
Danny & The Juniors began singing together as teens in Philadelphia in the early 50’s where they were fans of the local rhythm and blues radio stations. The Juvenaires, as they were called then, quickly decided to become part of the new rock and roll movement and began to perform the new songs as well as their own original material at school dances, local clubs and restaurants.
At that time, record companies were engaged in a frenzied search for young people who could perform the new music. Before long they discovered the youths, re-named them Danny & The Juniors and recorded them singing one of their own originals, “At The Hop.” The song quickly became a monumental hit on five continents, reaching No. 1 on the pop, country and rhythm and blues charts. It stands today as the No. 23 all-time biggest record on the Billboard Magazine List Of No. 1 Hits. The group immediately followed with another hit, “Rock And Roll Is Here To Stay,” which became an anthem of the era, plus dance classics “Twistin’ USA” and “Pony Express.” These were the first of a string of 11 charted recordings for the group.
The Chordettes are often considered as one of the favorite girls groups of all times.
While some groups were famous for their lead singer or catchy beat, The Chordettes have always been known for their lush vocal sound, having given priority to their vocal arrangements. The original group began in the mid 1940s as a barbershop quartet and the sound evolved over the next ten years until they had their first major hit in the mid 1950s.
Kathy Quistad, Lindy Michaelis, Judy Duncan and Tracey Williams make up The Chordettes of today. Each were already established music artists before joining the group. The Chordettes were known around the world for such hits as “Mr. Sandman,” “Lollipop,” “Eddie My Love” and “Never on Sunday.” They even recorded the theme song for the 1950s hit television show “Zorro.”
The Vibrations are one of great remaining Doo Wop groups of the 1950s and ’60s, having travelled the country with their infectious sound and energetic stage presence. The group adopted the name Vibrations in 1959, in part because they were becoming known for their athletic and energetic routines performed at live concerts. They went on to record several major hits including the dance favorites “The Watusi” and “Peanut Butter” along with “My Girl Sloopy” which was later rerecorded by the The McCoys and reached No. 1 in 1965.
The current Vibrations lineup consists of original member Carl Fisher (2nd tenor and lead), Jerry Brooks (first tenor), Willie Jackson (baritone & 2nd tenor) and Walter Small (1st tenor). This talented group continues to perform today for capacity crowds in concert venues across the country.
The four original members of The Coasters (featuring Hughes) met in the Los Angeles’ black ghetto, where most of them grew up. In the early 50’s they performed under the name The Robbins and experienced some success. In 1955 the name was changed to The Coasters and they consciously started performing the watered-down blues material which gained them a new-found popularity in the rock world.
The Coasters reached the National Market with hits such as “Yakety-Yak,” “Charlie Brown,” and “Poison Ivy.” They were featured on a wide range of network TV shows including The Ed Sullivan Show and Dick Clark’s American Bandstand. For the balance of the 1950s The Coasters remained one of the most important influences on popular music. Leon Hughes still continues to bring The Coasters songs to audiences everywhere.
Steve Bruner has been hailed as one of the funniest stand-up comedians working today. Steve looks like a perfectly normal guy — until he opens his mouth and delivers his laser-sharp humor. Bruner’s style and off-the-cuff improv has left audiences rolling in the aisles all across the United States and abroad in a variety of television, theater and personal appearances. He has written material for The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, The Byron Allen Show, The Sunday Comics and Comic Strip Live. He also served as a writer/segment producer for Haywire, a sketch comedy show on Fox.
Reunion of the Doo Wop Stars takes place at 8 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 13. Tickets are $35 to $49; premium tickets available for $55 and $59. Tickets are available online at harriscenter.net or from the Harris Center Ticket Office at (916) 608-6888 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Saturday, and two hours before show time. Parking is included in the price of the ticket. The Harris Center is located on the west side of Folsom Lake College campus in Folsom, facing East Bidwell Street.