The book The Flamingos: A Complete History of the Doo-Wop Legends by historian Todd Baptista is the definitive chronology of one of the most revered groups in the history of rock and roll. The book promises (and delivers) the goods on the group’s “back-room record deals, life on the road, the creative process, meticulous recording sessions and live performances” from interviews over the last several decades, including several original recording members of the group. Terry Johnson provides the foreword.
Tommy Petillo, lead singer of the Duprees (both 40 years ago and again since 2003) tells the story of his musical journey as well as that one of the best-loved vocal groups of the era in We Need More Love Songs. Petillo’s days with the original members of the group as well as his time as lead singer of one of New Jersey’s finest cover groups, Parkway, are detailed here. His intimate knowledge of the rock and roll revival scene as the Duprees’ lead singer and host of the long-running TV show Jersey Spotlight make for an interesting read for any fan of doo wopp music from the 60s to present day.
Available online or at Duprees’ live performances.
How D’Ya Like Me Now?, titled after Channels’ lead singer Earl Lewis’ favorite on-stage query, is the story of his rise to fame as the voice of such classics as “The Closer You Are,” “The Gleam In Your Eyes,” “Bye, Bye Baby,” “My Love for You Will Never Die” and many others. Historians Charlie & Pam Horner worked with Earl to tell his story and share the career highlights of a group who’s popularity only grew in the seventies, eighties and nineties, up until the legendary lead singer retired and disappeared from sight.
In one of the most amazing previously-untold stories of the doo wopp era, Hushabye is a tale of muder, the mafia’s influence on the neighborhoods of Brooklyn on the music business as well as an insider’s look at what it was like to have a big national hit record in the 50s. The Mystics’ original bass singer Al Contrera sets the stage beginning with a backstage chat with luminaries from the golden age of vocal group music, including Kenny Vance and his partner in the Classics for over 30 years, Emil Stucchio.
Available online, for order in major retail bookstores or at Mystics’ live performances.
Billy Vera (who’s got a lifetime of stories of his own) tells the story of Specialty Records in Rip It Up. The LA-based label pre-dated rock and roll with artists such as Roy Milton and Percy Mayfield, but is best known to fans of Pop, Rock & Doo Wopp music for Lloyd Price and Little Richard. As if Vera’s Grammy-winning way with words weren’t enough reason to snag this, the book gets an intro from the label’s visionary founder, 102-year-old Art Rupe.
Available online or for order in major retail bookstores.