We start 1958 with one of the true classics of rock and roll. Danny and the Juniors started out singing together in high school, calling themselves the Juvenairs. They did the usual high school events, singing at dances, parties, and local clubs. This was in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania where they all grew up together. Danny Rapp was the lead singer and the other guys were Dave White (first tenor,) Frank Maffei (second tenor,) and Joe Terranova (baritone.)
It was also the time of street-corner singers and it was there that they were noticed by a small local record producer, John Madera who introduced them to Artie Singer who co-owned Singular Records, a small local record label. He thought they sounded good and he signed them to record for him. Dave White, Singer and songwriter John Medora got together and wrote a song called “Do the Bop.” The Bop was a popular dance in Philly at the time and they thought it could be a hit. You may remember that Philadelphia was also known for American bandstand and Dick Clark.
Singer took the record “Do the Bop” to Dick Clark and asked him to listen to it. Dick told them it was a pretty good song, but the Bop was on its way out and by the time they could get the record into the hands of the public, the dance would just be a memory and no one would buy the record. Dick Clark suggested changing the name from Bop to Hop. He told them that while dance crazes came and went, record hops would be around for a long time. Dick Clark also suggested that they change the name of the group shorting the name Juvenairs to Juniors. So, they became Danny and the Juniors.
So, the boys returned to the drawing board and rewrote the song a little, changing the name of the song to “At the Hop.” If you like “At the Hop,” you should look up “Do the Bop” on YouTube. The music is exactly the same, just the words have been changed. Singer then took the new song to Dick Clark to see what he thought and Dick said “You boys have a hit.” And he was right.
Danny and the Juniors were never able to repeat that initial success. They recorded “Rock and Roll is Here To Stay,” which is another cool song, bu it only reached number nineteen. They charted a couple more times in 1960 and then faded from sight. The group, with personnel changes continued to tour for the next twenty years, but could never reclaim the magic. Danny Rapp, the lead singer, committed suicide in 1983.
“At the Hop” became the first number one of 1958. It hit number one on January 7, 1958 and stayed there for seven weeks.
This video, I believe is from American Bandstand. Since Dick Clark had so much to do with this song, it’s only right that he should feature it on the show.
Next: “Don’t” – Elvis Presley