Adorable Doo-wop

doo-wop3

Adorable was a major hit in 1955, beginning its popularity in the Rhythm and Blues genre of music. The song was written by Buck Ram, born Samuel Ram. Ram was a talent manager with his own firm, Personality Productions, and an A&R (Artists and repertoire) man when Tony Williams, the brother of singer Linda Hayes, auditioned for him. Ram was looking for a group to sing the songs he wrote and found the voice he was looking for in Williams. He transformed the Platters and changed their rhythm and blues style, building around Williams’ voice to make them sound like the Mills Brothers and the Ink Spots. He is best known for his long association with The Platters and also wrote, produced and arranged for the Penguins, the Coasters, the Drifters, Ike and Tina Turner, Ike Cole, Duke Ellington, Glenn Miller, Ella Fitzgerald, and many others. In addition to Adorable, Ram also wrote Only You (And You Alone), The Great Pretender, Magic Touch, and Twilight Time.

Adorable was the perfect doo-wop song, containing all the necessary elements: melody, voice, and emotion. It first reached the Billboard charts in the rhythm and blues category by The Colts, followed with a cover version by The Drifters. On the pop charts, the song was covered by The Fontane Sisters, who originally sang as back-up singers with Perry Como.

The song speaks of a young man’s dream girl. To him, she is not only adorable, but also lovable, kissable, huggable, and excitable. In the lyrics of the song, she is “all that I hoped my love would ever be.”

Here are the complete lyrics of the song.

THE LYRICS
Adorable
Words and music by Buck Ram

Adorable, dorable, dorable, dorable baby
You’re adorable, sweet as can be
You’re adorable, a dream girl to me
You’re all that I hoped my love would ever be

(Adorable, dorable, dorable, dorable baby)
You’re so lovable, when you’re in my arms
You’re so kissable, when I hold your charms
You’re mine, you are so divine, my adorable one, dorable one
You must have come from heaven
Because you thrill me so
My heaven starts at seven sharp
You start my heart to glow, glow, glow
(You start my heart)

You’re so huggable, so clinging, so nice
You’re excitable when kissed once or twice
And soon you’ll be mine alone, you adorable one
(Adorable, dorable, dorable, dorable baby)

You must have come from heaven
Because you thrill me so
My heaven starts at seven sharp
You start my heart to glow
(You start my heart)

So lovable, so clinging, so nice
You’re excitable when kissed once or twice
And soon you’ll be mine alone, you adorable one
(Adorable, dorable, dorable, dorable baby)

Adorable, dorable, dorable, dorable baby
Adorable, dorable, dorable, dorable baby
Adorable, dorable, dorable, dorable baby

As mentioned above, this song was the perfect doo-wop song. For the uninitiated, Doo-wop is a style of vocal-based rhythm and blues music developed in the African American communities in the 1940s, and achieved mainstream popularity in the 1950s and early 1960s. It emerged from New York City, Philadelphia, Chicago, Baltimore, Newark, New Jersey, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Detroit, Washington, D.C., and areas of greater Los Angeles, including El Monte and Compton. Built upon vocal harmony, doo-wop was one of the most mainstream, pop-oriented R&B styles of the time. Singer Bill Kenny, one-time lead singer of the Ink Spots, is often noted as the “Godfather of Doo-wop” for his introduction of the “top & bottom” format used by many doo-wop groups. This format features a high tenor lead with a “talking bass” in the song’s middle. (I have included an example of this style here)

From the outset, singers gathered on street corners, and in subways, generally in groups of three to six. They sang a cappella arrangements, and mimicked instruments since instruments were little used: the bass singing “bom-bom-bom,” a guitar rendered as “shang-a-lang,” and brass riffs as “dooooo -wop-wop,” This art dates back to The Mills Brothers, who first came to fame in the 1930s with their mimicking of instrumental music.

There is general acknowledgement the first hit record to use the syllables “doo-wop” in the refrain was the 1955 hit, When You Dance by The Turbans. Previously, the scat backing vocal “doo-wop” is heard in The Clovers’ 1953 release Good Lovin’ and in the chorus of Carlyle Dundee & The Dundees’ 1954 song Never. Other early uses include the 1955 song Mary Lee by The Rainbows, which contains the background “do wop de wadda,” and the 1956 smash In The Still Of The Night by The Five Satins, which features a plaintive “doo-wop, doo-wah” refrain in the bridge. After some time, the term “doo-wop” finally caught on as both a description and category for R&B vocal group harmony. The definition expanded backward to include rhythm and blues groups from the mid-1950s, then cascaded even further back to include groups from the 1940s.

(To listen to a song, just click on the arrow.)

THE CHARTED RECORDINGS
The Colts
The Drifters
The Fontane Sisters

THE 1950s DOO-WOP SOUND
When You Dance (The Turbans)
Good Lovin’ (The Clovers)
Never (Carlyle Dundee and the Dundees)
Mary Lee (The Rainbows)
Will You Be Mine (The Swallows)
In The Still Of The Night (The Five Satins)
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THE 1940s DOO-WOP SOUND
Tiger Rag (Mills Brothers – example of the group mimicking instruments)
Write Me A Letter (The Ravens)
It’s Too Soon To Know (The Orioles)
Coffee, Cigarettes And Tears (The Larks)
Oop Bop Sh’Bam (Dizzy Gillespie – part of what might be considered “nonsense lyrics” as pertaining to doo-wop were influenced by songs such as this 1947 rendition by Dizzy Gillespie, which may have led to later groups that utilized such things as “oop shoop,” “bip bam,” and “sh-boom.”)
It Don’t Mean A Thing (Duke Ellington – the horn section makes sounds that tend to simulate “boo-wop, boo-wop, boo-wop.”)
doo-wop

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