Antedating of _doo(-)wop_

Wilson Gray hwgray at GMAIL.COM
Sun Feb 28 21:41:50 UTC 2010


doo-wop. 1969 In OED2 ...

Gribbin, Anthony J., PhD, and Matthew M. Schiff, MD. Doo-Wop. Iola, WI, c1992.

Quoting the Chicago Defender. March 18, 1961: "... A real doo-wop,
*like those of many years ago* [emphasis supplied], is making the
scene but big in Chi-town ..."

I've traced the actual syllables, _doo-wop_, to the song, "The Bells,"
by Billy Ward & The Dominoes, released in December, 1952. It's
unlikely that these syllables were ever written down anywhere as part
of the words of the song - assuming that the original manuscript could
ever be found. OTOH, there's a good chance that these syllables did
appear in the print version of the song, if there ever was one and a
copy of it could be found. That's not likely. But, of course,

Such sounds are said to be "nonsense syllables." But published and
unpublished work, as well as common sense, make it clear that these
syllables and other, similar features of black music, imitate the
sounds made by musical instruments, ranging from the violin through
the jug to the bouble-bass and even the banjo, guitar, and mandolin,
and aren't just instances of random, nigger-ish bullshit.


All say, How hard it is that we have to die!–How can anyone say that
who has had to live?
–Mark Twain

The American Dialect Society -

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