My name is Jack and I am originally from New York, now living in Chicago.
My hobbies and interests are Doo Wopp Music, Old Cars, Impressionism, Restaurants, Travel.
A lot of what makes us what we are as adults is determined by experiences we have in childhood. I grew up in The Five Towns, which are the first five towns outside New York City on the South shore of Long Island. The Aquatones, who sang "You" (1958, Fargo) were from the next town over.
When I was seven years old, I was in The Peanut Gallery on The Howdy Doody Show. I remember being told to smile when the red light came on, indicating that the camera was on us. At the appropriate time, I made sure to stick my tongue out. A young rebel.
I was on the soccer team and the swimming team in high school. However, I had the most fun singing, both in chorus and, with Tommy, Mitch and Glenn, in the bathroom, where we were "Looking For An Echo", as Kenny Vance sang in 1975 on Atlantic. As early as I can remember I liked music. I took clarinet, guitar and piano lessons as a youngster.
I was also exposed to fine art, food and automobiles. These are still "The Things I. Love", as The Fidelitys sang in 1958 on Baton. In high school, I did go to a Beatles concert, but I enjoyed the band at my high school prom even more:
The Drifters.(Yes, THE Drifters!)
I didn't go to Beverly Hills High, but my high school has turned out some pretty famous people. In my class were Donna Karan (DKNY) and Francine LeFrak (Producer). Francine's older sister was the "Denise" who Randy and the Rainbows sang about, and she graduated a few years before us. Stuart Weitzman (shoes) also graduated from my high school.
In December 1962, I had an entrepreneurial idea. I decided to go to neighbors' houses and ask if they wanted their driveways shoveled, since we had had a lot of snow. As I shoveled, I listened to my radio, via an earpiece. After working the entire winter, I had amassed a fortune: $21.00! And I knew just what I wanted to do with the money: I wanted a 110-pound weightlifting set. I started weightlifting and would listen to music at the same time. The radio became my best friend. I knew all the DJs by name: Herb Oscar Anderson, Harry Harrison, Jack Lacey, Murray the K, just to name a few.
I started buying records too. They were 69 cents each. I would go into New York City and take the subway to Slim Rose's Times Square Records in the 42nd street station. I bought "The Great Pretender" by
The Platters on Mercury (released in 1955).
Also, "The Closer You Are" by The Channels, featuring Earl Lewis, on Whirlin' Disc (released in 1956). I listened to music as I exercised. My muscles grew, my record collection grew, and my love for doo wopp music grew. By the fall of 1963 when school started again after summer vacation, I had transformed myself from a skinny kid into a muscular 15-year-old. But I had developed something else which I hadn't expected: a love for popular music.
I went to college on Long Island, and my roommate had a couple of 45s. One of them had no label, and when I put it on the record player, I fell in love with what I heard: "Sometimes (When I'm All Alone)" by Danny and The Juniors on ABC-Paramount (original label: Singular), released in 1957 as the flip side of "At The Hop".
Another song I fell in love with was The Demensions' version of "Over The Rainbow" on Mohawk, released in 1960. I would close my eyes when I listened to that song and really be in heaven. My other favorite was "Sacred" by The Castells on Era (1961). At that time I also liked current music and got to meet Smokey Robinson and The Miracles.
After college, I moved to Chicago to go to graduate school, and have pretty much stayed here ever since. One time a classmate of mine, knowing how much I liked oldies (even back then), asked me if I had ever heard of the song, "Happy". I told him that I had, that it was released in 1967 by two groups, The Blades of Grass and The Sunshine Company. I said that The Sunshine Company's version had been more successful, but that I had preferred the version by The Blades of Grass. He said, "Good, because I was in The Blades of Grass". And we have been friends ever since.
My interest in music is mostly doo wopp. Within that category, I am also interested in vocal versions of songs that were hits as instrumentals (such as Sleepwalk, and Stranger On The Shore); flip sides, (such as the aforementioned "Sometimes", as well as "Good-bye To Love" by The Marcels; and name songs (such as Delores, and Dorothy). In fact, my three daughters, Sandra, Marlena and Faith, each have songs for their name.
In 1983, after waiting an entire year to see if they would catch on, I finally bought a CD player. I remember going into a record store and asking if they had any CDs. I was told that I would have to go to a bank to get them. I said, "Not a certificate of deposit, a compact disc." "What's that?" "It's a small musical disc which is read by laser." "We have laser discs." "No, those are movies", I said. "Wait", I said. "There they are behind the counter." They had all of 4 CDs in the entire store.
CDs have certainly come a long way since then. In fact most "record" stores don't carry records any more, only CDs and cassettes.
I have always been an avid fan of live performances, having seen Pookie Hudson and The Spaniels, The Coasters, The Clovers, The Classics, The Channels, The Chantels, The Chiffons, The Cadillacs and The Crests, just to name a few.
To read about a trip I took where I saw Dion, Little Anthony/Imperials, The Demensions and other groups in concert, click here: 48 Hours in New York, April 97.
I have met many famous people in the industry: Vernon Green, Hank Ballard, Jimmy Beaumont, Rufus Thomas, among others.
I would like to tell you a true story. I call it, What do you know about DooWopp?
I have a group of friends in Chicago, known as the Doo Wopp Buddies: Joe, Mike and Steve (when he is behaving himself). Every once in a while, we have what we call a "Doo Wopp Day", where we get together at one of our houses and play doo wopps for hours on end. Each brings his own favorite doo wopps and/or newest acquisitions to share with the others. We have been doing this for the past 15 years or so, and there is no sign of this stopping or even slowing down. We plan to go to Cleveland to visit The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame some time in the not too distant future.
For the past 10 years, I have been a member of UGHA (United in Group Harmony Association), founded by Ronnie Italiano, and dedicated to keeping group harmony music alive.
I am also active online, especially on America Online, where I attend regular games and conferences. I browse/shop for music online via Online Music Stores. Some of my collection I acquired from Clifton Music (UGHA), Whirlin' Disc Records, and Relic Record Shop, owned by George Lavatelli of The Bon-Aires.
and the Imperials Page
The Four Tops Official Web Page
Forty-eight Hours In New York
What Do You Know About DooWopp?
There is an organization called "P.O.O.L", which stands for the "Preservation Of Oldie Lovers". If you are interested in becoming a member, click on the banner below.
Two of my favorite links
Tommy's Home Page
Please send comments to Dr Doo Wopp
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