Monday, March 28, 2016


Doo-wopp is a unique genre of music that was first labelled in 1961 as  four part harmony swing time, often a cappella, with specific sounds that mimicked musical instruments.  its popularity is still felt today and Torrington’s Warner Theatre will be welcoming those happy harmonies for one night only, Saturday, April 16 at 8 p.m. and you’re invited to bop on over courtesy of Praia Entertainment when  "Pop, Rock and Doo-wopp Live ” comes to call.  Six super groups  who created the monumental music will be featured.

A great sound from Atlantic Records, the Drifters bridged the transition from rhythm and blues to soul and are still a force to be reckoned with in the music stratosphere, the precursors of rock and roll. The Drifters started as a back up for Clyde McPhatter of Billy Ward and the Dominoes in 1953 and went through a number of reinventions over the years, becoming part of the Vocal Group Hall of Fame twice.  The tune “Money Honey” brought them to the spotlight.  Numerous problems from inadequate compensation, member turnover and death affected the group as if it were a revolving door.  The Drifters truly “drifted,” but along the way their honeyed sounds produced hits like “Stand By Me,” “There Goes My Baby,” “This Magic Moment” and “Under the Boardwalk.”

Spanning over five decades in the music world of rhythm and blues and rock and roll, Gary U.S. Bonds is a prolific songwriter as well as a singer.  His first publicity stunt, sending promotional copies of his debut hit “New Orleans” to radio stations wrapped in a cover encouraging “Buy U.S. Bonds,” led at only age 19 to make Gary Anderson known as Gary U.S. Bonds.  His sound was considered revolutionary and was followed quickly by his next hit “Quarter to Three.”  An inspiration for future artists like Bruce Springsteen and John Lennon, he will be honored this month for Lifetime Achievement at the Lehigh Valley Music Awards.  His book “By U.S. Bonds: That’s My Story” reveals his influence as one of the early “seedlings “ of rock and roll.

Originally all from Paterson, New Jersey, the 1960’s saw this quartet emerge as a pop music group, as a cover band, taking a proven song hit and making it their own.  Meet Bob Miranda and the Happenings.  Hits like “See You in September,”  “I Got Rhythm” and “Go Away Little Girl” cemented their place at the top of the charts.  “See You in September” has been listed by Entertainment Magazine as one of the top 100 summer songs of all time and with lead singer Bob Miranda still at the helm it continues to please.  Recognized internationally, Bob Miranda and the Happenings bring nostalgia and the incredible sounds of the 60’s back to the Main Stage.

Vito Picone and the Elegants are sure to croon their biggest hit “Little Star,” a tune Picone co-wrote with Arthur Venosa, an original doo-wopp group number.  Hailing from Staten Island, New York, these teens saw success early, touring with legends like Buddy Holly, Chuck Berry, Jerry Lee Lewis and Dion and the Belmonts.  Known for performing golden oldies, the group has never been able to duplicate the wild success of “Little Star” but still performs all over the country, especially at the San Gennaro Festival in Little Italy every September.

Bensonhurst, Brooklyn saw the beginnings of Emil Stucchio and the Classics, a trio that is still intact and performing today. They first sang together in high school,  Over the years they crooned pop standards of the 1920’s and 1930’s, concentrating on ballads, with their biggest hits being “Cinderella,” “Angel Angela,” “Life is But a Dream” and their most successful, “Till Then.”  With lead singer Emil Stucchio, harmonizing with Al Contrera and Teresa McClean, the Classics have an enduring sound and style that led them to be named the sixth most popular group out of 500 in a recent radio survey.

Lead vocalist of the 60’s girl group “The Toys,” Barbara Harris began her career as a church singer at the young age of six.  As part of The Toys, they popularized a Bach minuet, put a Motown spin on it and created “A Lover’s Concerto.”  Other hits to follow include “Attack!,” ”Baby Toys,” “Silver Spoon,” “Sealed with a Kiss” and “How Gentle is the Rain.”  Their manager gave them their name “because you girls are like kids.  You’re like toys.”  Harris credits the group’s happy spirit for their success.

Put on your pink poodle skirts and black leather jackets for the big show.  For tickets ($34-75), call the Warner Theatre in Torrington at 860-489-7180  or online at Ask about the limited number of tickets for the  Meet and Greet post show with the stars.

Get nostalgic and conjure up the great old days and nights of dancing and singing with these wonderful groups that have never faded away from your heart or your memory  See you hopping and bopping at the Warner as you literally watch the live juke box on stage explode with magic.


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