In-Person Class: The Elderwise classroom at the Vineyard Church.
A Celebration of Doo Wop: Vocal Group Harmony, 1954-1963
As frequent PBS fundraising specials and Aaron Neville’s CD My True Story attest, doo wop still evokes sweet memories among baby boomers. For a decade, starting in the mid 1950s, young urban males expressed their romantic yearnings, exuberance, sorrows, and fears through complex vocal arrangements. With falsetto swoops, bass backgrounds, and spectacular endings, inner city youth showed off their talents as they vied for the affections of the girls of their dreams. This three-session class develops the social context of this distinctive music, touches on forerunners (Mills Brothers, Ink Spots), then explores the performers, the songs, and their themes. We invite all “earth angels” to “the island of love” for “a story untold” about doo wop’s complexion, its use of classic American popular song, and its influence on 1960s popular music.
Michael Homel is Professor Emeritus of History at Eastern Michigan University. He specializes in 20th century American history and American urban history. He is the author of Unlocking City Hall: Exploring the History of Local Government and Politics, and other publications on urban politics and education.