Streetlight Harmonies: The Lasting Legacy of Doo-Wop

Streetlight Harmonies - Straight No Chaser, Vito Picone, La La Brooks, Charlie Thomas (1)
Streetlight Harmonies: Straight No Chaser, Vito Picone, La La Brooks, Charlie Thomas. Photo Credit: Ley Line Entertainment

In the late 1950s, doo-wop music took America by storm. And its legacy lasts to this day in the music of such recording artists as Bruno Mars and Meghan Trainor. 

Award-winning director and producer Brent Wilson is shining a light on this genre of pop music. Using original interviews with doo-wop recording artists, and those they influenced, Brent’s documentary Streetlight Harmonies perfectly captures the zeitgeist of the 50s and early 60s. 

Doo-wop originated with African-American teenagers on the street corners of urban America – places like New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore and Detroit. With the rise of vocal harmony singing, teenagers started recording music for themselves for the first time in history. 

However, these teenagers had to face up to racism, predatory producers and the pressures of being in the spotlight. Looking back on their lives, they reveal a love and passion for their music that inspires us to this day.

“I wanted it to feel fresh, I wanted it to feel present. My goal was it would be seen by people who don’t like doo-wop music.”  – Brent Wilson

Time Stamps:

02:29 – The emergence of doo-wop and Brent’s aim of making doo-wop well-known again.
03:23 – Where Brent has been during the lockdown and what it’s been like for him.
04:22 – Where you can watch the documentary.
05:01 – What the film is about.
06:12 – Where the term ‘doo-wop’ came from.
07:21 – First clip showing the beginnings of doo-wop.
09:53 – The idea of singing on the street corner.
10:55 – The different places people used to sing.
11:59 – The origins of doo-wop.
13:31 – Second clip showing why people used to sing on the streets.
16:04 – What the motivation was for women singers.
18:07 – Other issues the film brings up, and how lots of children were duped.
22:22 – The issues of racism that many of these young artists had to face.
23:35 – Third clip showing the racism the performers encountered in the South.
26:53 – How some incredible songs were covered by whites, and butchered in the process.
28:53 – What the legacy of vocal harmony music is today.
31:05 – How Brent got involved with the film.
32:50 – The respect that doo-wop deserves.
37:36 – The difficulties involved with the production and release of the film.
42:25 – Brent’s documentary about Brian Wilson, and the Beach Boys.
48:36 – What makes doo-wop artists different to other modern artists. 

Resources:

Streetlight Harmonies (2020)
Pre-order Streetlight Harmonies Original Soundtrack ‘Classic Black Vinyl’
Streetlight Harmonies on Facebook
Streetlight Harmonies on Instagram
Alamo Pictures

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