Rolling Stone recently asked 50 different rock/pop musicians to select their personal top-10 favorites songs by a specific artist or in a specific genre. For example, Bono of U2 picked his favorite David Bowie songs. Also in the article, current pop star Bruno Mars was asked to list the doo-wop songs on his personal top-10 list.
We decided to one-up Rolling Stone, so we enlisted the expert opinion of Ken Held, who has been spinning doo-wop records in South Florida for the better part of 30 years, most recently on Sundays (from 4 to 7 p.m.) for WLVJ (1040-AM). You can read more about Held in the February issue of Boca Raton. But for now, here is what the Doo-Wop King had to say about the greatest vocal harmony songs of all-time. We've added the top-10 list of Bruno Mars below Held's selections so you can compare the two.
"Bruno Mars has great taste, though all of his selections are the most popular recordings of the genre and therefore are the songs I play most on my radio show," Held says. "My broadcasting gig requires me to dig deeper into doo-wop and R&B group harmony ... some of these songs are less than 10 or 15 years old. It really doesn't matter when they were recorded, it's the 'feeling' that the vocal harmony of the love songs and the driving beat that the up-tempo songs [imparts]."
Here are Ken Held's (ever-evolving) top-10 favorite doo-wop songs:
1. "My Memories of You" by The Harptones (1954)
2. "For All We Know" by Sonny Til & The Orioles (1956)
3. "Have You No Heart?" by The Calvanes (1989)
4. "Here Am I, Brokenhearted" by The Four Js (1963)
5. "Honey Babe" by The Solitaires (1963)
6. "Shu-Bop" by Dion & Group (2000)
7. "It's Too Soon To Know" by The Flamingos (1963)
8. "Church Bells May Ring" by The Willows (1956) - "featuring a then-unknown high school kid named Neil Sedaka playing the chimes; Sedaka was at Melba Records' studio in New York City to sing lead on HIS first song with his new group, The Tokens. He listened to various takes of 'Bells' and suggested they put chimes on the record. They said OK, and Neil played 'em."
9. "Waiting For Your Call" by The Fi-Tones (1956)
10. "Can't We Be Sweethearts" by The Cleftones (1956) - "This is the first record I ever bought to start my collection - and a broadcast career. My mom paid 79 cents for it in Brooklyn!"
Here are Bruno Mars' top-10 favorite doo-wop songs:
1. "Please Say You Want Me" by The Schooboys
2. "Speedo" by The Cadillacs
3. "I Only Have Eyes for You" by The Flamingos
4. "There's a Moon Out Tonight" by The Capris
5. "Sh-Boom" by The Chords
6. "Let it Please You" by The Desires
7. "Maybe" by The Chantels
8. "I'm So Young" by The Students
9. "Tears on My Pillow" by Little Anthony and the Imperials
10. "Angle Baby" by Rosie and the Originals