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25 Segments




Integrating the Pop Charts

Rock historian Ed Ward considers the impact the Orioles, one of the first black doo wop groups to achieve mainstream popularity.


A Pop Singer Returns, Older and Wiser

Singer Dion, from Dion and the Belmonts, is making a comeback singing Christian songs. He joins Fresh Air's Terry Gross to talk about his early career, growing older, and getting sober.


The Chantels, Girl-Group Pioneers.

Rock historian Ed Ward will look back at the Chantels, a 50s group of five New York teenagers whose exquisite harmonies drew comparisons with classical youth choirs.


The Last Gasp of A Cappella Singing.

Rock historian Ed Ward profiles the brief regional revival of a cappella singing in the mid-60s. Some of the groups included The Five Fashions from Stanford, Conn., The Q-Tones from Philadelphia, and the Zircons from the Bronx.


Ben E. King: The Fresh Air Interview

The hit songwriter sang bass with the doo-wop group The Crowns; he switched to lead vocals when they became The Drifters. King got his start at Harlem's Apollo Theater before finding national fame. As a solo performer, he had hits with original songs like "Stand by Me" and "Spanish Harlem."


A Harmony Group Ruined by Success.

Rock historian Ed Ward has a retrospective on the Five Keys, a black harmony group that turned out a number of pop and R&B hits in the early 1950's. Their hits included "The Glory of Love," "Ling Ting Tong," and "Close Your Eyes."


The Roots of Doo-Wop.

Rock and roll historian Ed Ward explores the roots of doo-wop from jazz harmonists the Cats and the Fiddle to groups such as the Ravens and the Orioles.


The Birth of Music for Teens.

Rock historian Ed Ward profiles the Gee and End record labels. They were the first to produce vocal-group records for teenagers by groups like Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers, the Cleftones, and Arlene Smith and the Chantels.


Doo-Wop's History of Racial Integration

Rock historian Ed Ward looks at some of the early integrated doo-wop groups. He says unlike today's white acts which appropriate black styles, those early groups truly mixed black and white performers and black and white musical styles.


The American Cities that Gave Us Rock and Roll: Los Angeles.

Rock historian Ed Ward begins a special series on the contribution of various cities to rock and roll. He begins with Los Angeles. Artists discussed Roy Milton, Johnny Otis, Esther Phillips, Richie Valens, Eddie Cochran, Beach Boys, Phil Spector, The Ronettes, and The Byrds.


A Record that Changed the Course of Pop Music.

Cultural critic Greil Marcus. He is the author of "The Dustbin of History" (Harvard University Press) about the history embedded in cultural moments. He'll talk with Terry about one of the essays in the book about the song, "Too Soon to Tell," written by Deborah Chessler and recorded by the Orioles in 1948.


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