Antedating of _doo(-)wop_

Benjamin Zimmer bgzimmer at BABEL.LING.UPENN.EDU
Sun Feb 28 22:52:20 UTC 2010

On Sun, Feb 28, 2010 at 4:41 PM, Wilson Gray <hwgray at> wrote:
> 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 ..."

Very interesting. I can't seem to pull up the relevant article in the
Defender (I think the version of ProQuest I'm accessing only has the
national edition, not the local edition, for that date). But another
forum says this was by Chuck Davis, Jr. (who wrote the Defender's
"Platters" column), referring to "Blue Moon" by the Marcels. So
"doo-wop" here is evidently referring to a song, rather than the whole

The earliest cite I've found for "doo-wop" as a genre is also from the Defender:

1965 _Chicago Defender_ 13 Nov. 26A/3 People who hate rock and roll,
rhythm and blues, The Beatles, and doo~wop singing groups, go wild
about Ray Charles.

--Ben Zimmer

The American Dialect Society -

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