Do Wah Diddy Diddy

Album: Original Hits (1964)
Charted: 1 1
Play Video

Songfacts®:

  • This was written by the songwriting team of Jeff Barry and Ellie Greenwich, who were looking to recreate the gibberish gold they struck on The Crystals hit "Da Doo Ron Ron." They stumbled upon "Do Doo Ron Ron," but found that creating a nonsense phrase on purpose was not easy, as it had to sound good and sing well. They settled on "Do Wah Diddy," and pictured it as another girl group hit. It was first recorded (as "Do-Wah-Diddy") in 1963 by The Exciters, who were coming off their hit song "Tell Him."

    This female version ("There he was, just walking down the street...") topped out at #78, but got the attention of the British group Manfred Mann, who started performing it at their shows. Since The Beatles had some success covering songs by American girl groups (The Shirelles "Boys" and The Marvelettes "Please Mr. Postman"), Manfred Mann decided to give it a shot and recorded "Do-Wah-Diddy," adding their extra Diddy to make it "Do Wah Diddy Diddy."

    In the UK, where Manfred Mann was established with the hits "5-4-3-2-1" (#5) and "Hubble Bubble (Toil And Trouble)" (#11), the song topped the chart in July 1964. In America, it took a little longer, but in October they had the #1 hit for two weeks, joining the British Invasion.
  • The original Exciters version of this song was a rare miss for Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, who produced the track. When it tanked, they started working with the song's writers, Jeff Barry and Ellie Greenwich, who were going to record it themselves as The Raindrops. When they started recording it, they got word that Manfred Mann's version was on its way from England, which made their version pointless. At first, Greenwich was put off by her song getting transformed by a male group, but she quickly came around. "We thought, 'With the British Invasion, maybe this is a lucky charm, and it sure was," she said.
  • A brief history of "Diddy" on the US charts:

    1963:
    "Hum Diddy Doo" by Fats Domino (#124)

    1966:
    "Diddy Wah Diddy" by The Remains (#129)

    When Puff Daddy changed his name to P. Diddy, he hit #66 with a song called "Diddy" in 2001.
  • This was featured on a 1980 episode of The Muppet Show, where it was performed by a group of elderly rock 'n rollers known as Geri and the Atrics.
  • In the season 4 Full House episode "A Fish Called Martin," Jesse and his band perform this with Michelle.

Comments: 19

  • Adam from South AfricaThe good days. A playback from wayback!
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn November 18th 1964, Manfred Mann performed "Sha La La" on the ABC-TV program 'Shindig!'...
    At the time the song was at #47 on Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart; and eight weeks later on January 3rd, 1965 it peaked at #12 {for 1 week}...
    It entered the Top 100 at #71 on Nov. 8th, 1964; and that same week their debut record, "Do Wah Diddy Diddy", was at #7.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn December 9th, 1964, Manfred Mann performed "Do Wah Diddy Diddy" on the ABC-TV program 'Shindig!'...
    Four months earlier on August 30th it entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart; and on October 11th it peaked at #1 (for 2 weeks) and spent 13 weeks on the Top 100...
    And on August 13th it reached #1 (for 2 weeks) on the United Kingdom's Singles chart...
    It was originally recorded by the Exciters, and their version entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 on December 29th, 1963 and it peaked at #78...
    R.I.P. Jimmy O'Neil (Shindig's host, 1940 - 2013).
  • Teresa from Mechelen, Belgium"Do Wah Diddy Diddy", always a joy to hear this wonderful song. One of those written by Ellie Greenwich and Jeff Barry. Ellie Greenwich died on August 26 2009 but her songs will last 4 ever.
  • Pat from Albuquerque, NmI was in the US Army in the early 70s. By that time, Do Wah Diddy Diddy was a regularly used marching song. Thanks, Bill Murray and Harold Ramis for using this song in Stripes! This was one of the flicks that kept me sane until I finished my term of service.
  • Howard from St. Louis Park, MnI remember hearing the song in two movies. The first was "My Girl" with Dan Aykroyd, Jamie Lee Curtis and Anna Chlumsky who sang the song in the movie. The second and most remembered was "Stripes" with Bill Murray as he sang it during an Army march scene that was hilarious.
  • Lester from New York City, NyManny Lubowitz is still out there making music with The Earth Band. I named a cat Manny after Manfred.
  • Jamie from Seaside, OrClarke: You don't have to be a certain age. I'm 20 years old, and I know this song by heart!
  • Pete from Nowra, Australiaahhhhhhh your right Ron...buy ya a beer next time i see you
  • Clarke from Pittsburgh, PaIf you're of a certain age, I think it must be physically impossible NOT to sing along with this song.
  • Caitlin from Binghamton, NyIt's Doo wah diddy diddy down diddy do
  • Neil from MiddlesbroughThe Blue Melons did a Ragga/Dance version in 1996
  • Annabelle from Eugene, OrIs Manfred Mann the same as Manfred Mann's Earth Band?
  • Chrissy from Westmont, Ilthis song is odd
  • Teresa from Mechelen, Belgium"Do Wah Diddy Diddy", just love it. Thank you Ellie Greenwich and Jeff Barry, you're just great.
    I also love the songs you wrote with Phil Spector for the Crystals, the Ronettes ...and specially
    the fabulous "River deep, mountain high" that can be considered as the masterpiece of Phil Spector.
  • Ron from Senatobia, MsActually, Pete, Harold's character teaches the class "Da Doo Ron Ron". "Do Wah Diddy Diddy" comes later in the film during a march.
  • Mark from Hereford, EnglandManfed Mann came from South Africa in the early 60's and joined in the R&B (Not that modern sh*t) movement that was going on around the London clubs. He was last heard of as Professor of Popular Music at some college - Reading , I think. He discovered a whole raft of musicians, most of whom still tour as the Manfreds. But they also spawned Gallagher & Lyle, McGuinness Flint and some other bands. Far from being has beens, they do a really good show, and the back catalogue of songs is outstanding. Go see.
  • Doug from Lake Mary, FlManfred Mann supposedly hated the production of this record, which ironically made them world-famous. If you've listened to many of their album cuts (blues/jazz-influenced and more musically sophisticated), it does make sense that they thought this song was a "puff-piece".
  • Pete from Nowra, Australiain the movie Stripes ,which starred Bill Murray anfd Harold Ramis, Harold's character taught a learn to speak english class, in one scene he had the class give an example of what they had learnt...so they sang this song
see more comments

Editor's Picks

Stan Ridgway

Stan RidgwaySongwriter Interviews

Go beyond the Wall of Voodoo with this cinematic songwriter.

Lori McKenna

Lori McKennaSongwriter Interviews

Lori's songs have been recorded by Faith Hill and Sara Evans. She's performed on the CMAs and on Oprah. She also has five kids.

Todd Rundgren

Todd RundgrenSongwriter Interviews

Todd Rundgren explains why he avoids "Hello It's Me," and what it was like producing Meat Loaf's Bat Out of Hell album.

Cy Curnin of The Fixx

Cy Curnin of The FixxSongwriter Interviews

The man who brought us "Red Skies" and "Saved By Zero" is now an organic farmer in France.

Female Singers Of The 90s

Female Singers Of The 90sMusic Quiz

The ladies who ruled the '90s in this quiz.

Julian Lennon

Julian LennonSongwriter Interviews

Julian tells the stories behind his hits "Valotte" and "Too Late for Goodbyes," and fills us in on his many non-musical pursuits. Also: what MTV meant to his career.