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In the '50s, high school dances in America were often referred to as "The Hop." Sometimes, these dances would be "Sock Hops" because school administrators would make the kids take off their shoes so they didn't scuff up the floor of the gymnasium, where the dance was usually held.
This was written by Dave White and John Madara, who were songwriter/producers based in Philadelphia - White was a member of Danny and the Juniors. Madara explained in an interview with Forgotten Hits
: "'At The Hop' originally was recorded by myself, with Danny and The Juniors (who at the time were called The Juvenairs) singing background. It was titled 'Do The Bop,' with the B Side, 'Sometimes,' also with me singing lead and Danny and The Juniors singing background. I was under contract at the time to Prep Records and had just had a record, 'Be My Girl,' which had made the national charts. Prep had me all set up to record again with a producer who was working with Paul Anka, Sid Feller, when I had the idea to write a song 'Do The Bop.' I wanted to do something that had a piano featured like 'Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On
.' So, off we go to the recording studio, with me singing lead, Danny and The Juniors singing background, and my 45 record 'A Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On' to set the tone of what I was shooting for. I paid for the session, sat in the control room, told the engineer what to do, played the Jerry Lee Lewis record for the musicians and that is how 'Do The Bop' was created. After the recording, we played the record for Prep. They didn't care for it. They still wanted me to record with Sid Feller. So we went back to Philadelphia where 'Do The Bop' was played for Dick Clark, who suggested that The Bop wasn't really happening around the country and why don't we change it to something about record hops. So with some additional lyric changes, and because I was under contract with Prep, we went back into the studio with Danny and The Juniors. Danny, who was their lead singer, sang lead, using a lot of the same phrasing that I did on 'Do The Bop.' Of course, the rest is Rock and Roll history."
Danny and the Juniors were the Philadelphia group of Danny Rapp, Dave White, Frank Maffei and Joe Terranova. At the time, they were known as The Juvenairs. They were on a street corner singing when a someone who worked at a recording studio heard them and brought them in to sing. The "Bah"'s go in this order of singers:
Bah 1, Terranova (also does the Oh, Baby)
Bah 2, Rapp (Lead Singer and choreographer. He committed suicide in 1983 in a Holiday Inn in Arizona with a shotgun, he owned a black 1958 Impala Convertible with a continental kit)
Bah 3, Maffei (First Tenor)
Bah 4, White (Second Tenor) (thanks, Ryan - Meadville, PA)
Danny and the Juniors hit the US Top 40 3 more times, including "Rock And Roll Is Here To Stay," but this was their only hit in England.
This was used in the 1973 film American Graffiti. (thanks, Edward Pearce - Ashford, Kent, England, for above 2)
This song stayed on the top of US charts for nearly 7 weeks and sold over 2 million copies worldwide. (thanks, Ryan - Meadville, PA)
Artie Singer also has a composer credit on this song. In the Forgotten Hits interview, Madara said: "Artie Singer, who had been my vocal coach, took all of the credit for the production (and production monies and all of the publishing), put his name on as a songwriter and publisher and has tried to take credit for producing 'At The Hop' all these years. I have read on many websites that Artie Singer went out and got Leon Huff to help with the production and play piano. This is totally, one hundred percent false. I discovered Leon Huff in 1963 playing with a band called'The Lavenders,' and at that time he was about 18 years old. He would have had to have been 12 years old to be involved with 'At The Hop.'"
Sha-Na-Na played this at Woodstock in 1969. They were relatively unknown at the time and performed covers of '50s hits and Doo-Wop songs. Their Woodstock performance, which preceded Jimi Hendrix, helped launch their career, which led to their own TV show in 1977.
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