Forever Doo Wop: Race, Nostalgia, and Vocal Group Harmony

Overview

"Music can be a storehouse for emotional, social, and cultural experiences that deepen and acquire greater value over time. This is a book about a particular genre of vocal harmony music called doo-wop that has accrued deep meaning and affective power among Americans since its inception in the aftermath of World War II. Although the first doo-wop singers were primarily young black males in major American cities, it wasn't long before white working-class teenagers began emulating their rhythm-and-blues harmonies. The racial exchange of this

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Overview

"Music can be a storehouse for emotional, social, and cultural experiences that deepen and acquire greater value over time. This is a book about a particular genre of vocal harmony music called doo-wop that has accrued deep meaning and affective power among Americans since its inception in the aftermath of World War II. Although the first doo-wop singers were primarily young black males in major American cities, it wasn't long before white working-class teenagers began emulating their rhythm-and-blues harmonies. The racial exchange of this distinctive genre and the social bonding it engendered have had a significant and lasting impact on American musical culture." "In Forever Doo-Wop, John Runowicz traces the history of this music from its origins in nineteenth-century barbershop quartets through its emergence in the postwar era to its nostalgic adulthood from the mid-1960's to today. The book is based on interviews he has conducted and observations he has made over the last twenty-two years working as guitarist, musical director, and second tenor with one of the legendary doo-wop groups, the Cadillacs, on what is popularly known as the "oldies circuit:' As a graduate student, he broadened his research to include the wider doo-wop community." Forever Doo-Wop invites readers to gaze through a window on our society and culture where certain truths are revealed about how white and black Americans coexist and interact, about how popular music functions as a vehicle for nostalgia, and about the role of music making over a long lifetime.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781558498242
  • Publisher: University of Massachusetts Press
  • Publication date: 9/30/2010
  • Pages: 224
  • Sales rank: 931,675
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Table of Contents

Preface

Acknowledgments

Introduction 1

1 The Roots Of Vocal Harmony 23

2 The Birth Of Doo-Wop 40

3 Shortcut To Nostalgia 63

4 The Doo-Wop Community 85

5 The Oldies Circuit 109

Afterword: The Persistence of Harmony 141

Notes 149

Index 175

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