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Dan Romanello

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INTERVIEW TRANSCRIPT SUMMARY
Dan Romanello

Interviewee: Dan Romanello
Interviewer: Mark Smith
No Date of Interview
Summarized by Rob Passaro
   
Dan Romanello compares Doo Wop music to Rhythm and Blues and says the birth of “New York City street corner harmony” sound can be traced back to the 1940s.  Some of the original groups from the 40s included the Ravens, the Orioles, the Four Tunes, the Sentimentalists and the Dominoes.  Romanello said many of the groups came together by meeting in high school or around the neighborhood.  The Melrose Projects, for example, produced the Decoys, Little Bobby, the Hemlocks and the Elite Teens.  The “music just brought everything together,” groups and students influenced one another and Doo Wop music spread on the radio, at neighborhood functions, and shows performed at community centers and dances.  Many students from DeWitt Clinton High School, Morris High School and James Monroe High School were also influential in spreading Doo-Wop.  Bronx based record labels contributed to the spread of the music as well.  Zell Sanders, for example, originally worked for a label called “the Time” before opening up her own labels, such as J&S, SCATT and Dice.

As Doo Wop grew, so too did the number of groups singing.  The Starlings and the Five Chimes were from Morrisania.  The Five Delights, the Movie Makers and the Supremes all came out of DeWitt Clinton H.S.  Romanello said that groups like the Chantels, the Chords, the Halos and the Wrens have all “stood the test of time,” and are still played on the radio today.  Female groups also formed in the Bronx.  Groups like the Hearts, the Crickettes, the Doll-ettes, the Chiffons and the Jaynettes were all Female Bronx based Doo Wop groups.  Even white groups like Norman Fox, the Rob Roys and Dion and the Belmonts existed, and the Heartbreakers were an African American group with a white lead singer named Paul Himmelstein.

Eventually Doo-Wop music slowed down as many of the groups broke up, got regular jobs or got married and had families.  In 1994 however, Arthur Crier created the Morrisania Review.  Some of the members included Sammy Fain, Dean Barlow, Lillian Leach, Eugene Tompkins and Bobby Mansfield and they put out a CD in the 90’s.


Keywords: Doo Wop, Melrose Projects, DeWitt Clinton High School, Morris High School, James Monroe High School, Zell Sanders, Morrisania, Arthur Crier, Morrisania Review, the Ravens, the Orioles, the Four Tunes, the Sentimentalists, the Dominoes, the Decoys, Little Bobby, the Hemlocks, the Elite Teens, the Five Delights, the Movie Makers, the Supremes, Chantels, the Chords, the Halos, the Wrens, the Hearts, the Crickettes, the Doll-ettes, the Chiffons and the Jaynettes, Norman Fox, the Rob Roys and Dion, the Belmonts, the Heartbreakers, Sammy Fain, Dean Barlow, Lillian Leach, Eugene Tompkins, Bobby Mansfield,  J&S, SCATT and Dice.




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© 2009 Bronx African-American History Project at Fordham University
 
   

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