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Fred Parris of The Five Satins: RIP

The incomparable Fred Parris of The Five Satins left us in the still of the night on January 13th. Can his memory trigger a new interest in doo-wop music?

The Five Satins Sing In the Still of the Night Lead by Fred Parris

When I read that Fred Parris died on January 13, 2022 it opened a floodgate of memories. Fred was the lead singer of the 1950’s doo-wop group, The Five Satins.

Fred wrote In the Still of the Night, considered by many as the #1 all-time hit of the doo-wop era. The memories came back, not only about The Five Satins, but about all the Doo Wop groups and songs which are etched in the memory of all those who came of age in the 1950’s.

I would venture a guess that those doo-wop fans who grew up in the 1950’s knew almost every word of every song that they heard, and I’m not exaggerating. I don’t think you can say that about the popular music of today.

Not only do we still know the words, but most of us can remember who we were with, and where we were, when we hear a particular song from the 50’s.

The doo-wop era, spanned the 1950’s until the early 1960’s, when that popular genre was replaced by the “British Invasion” led by The Beatles three appearances on The Ed Sullivan Show in February, 1964.

At that point it was basically over. The Beatles, the hippie movement, and the Vietnam War all converged leading to the end of doo-wop as we knew it. I don’t remember many new doo-wop groups who sang original doo-wop songs after 1964.

I thought that Those Oldies, But Goodies may have been written post 1964 because of the name, but it was published in 1961. Maybe the song was foreshadowing the end of doo-wop? The video brings back a lot of memories

The movie American Graffiti in 1973 with a doo-wop soundtrack gave new life to the genre to a younger audience, but only for a short time.

After 1964 only a few new doo-wop songs come to mind including, Kenny Vance’s 1975 release “Looking For an Echo,” and Ronnie Milsap’s “Lost In The Fifties Tonight,” which includes portions of “In the Still of the Night.”

My hope is that the death of Fred Parris will generate an interest in doo-wop music among a younger audience. The genre has not gone away. It’s all over YouTube, but it seems the viewers and commenters all grew up in the doo-wop era.  

Vinyl records are making a comeback as evidenced by the number of articles on that topic on eCoustics. What better time than to tie in the eCoustics audience to doo wop music which was born on vinyl records and popularized on the “45s.”

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The 5 Satins Sing Album Cover

You can watch a video of the original recording of The Five Satins hit being played on an old 45 rpm record to get the feel of how those songs sounded back then.

Scroll down to the middle of the page to see the video. 

In closing, I want to ask the eCoustics audience if it is possible for doo-wop music to make a comeback and find a younger audience, and could audiophiles be the catalyst for this change?

Fred Parris 2017-02
Fred Parris performing in February 2017

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Mollie Flamm

    January 29, 2022 at 5:26 am

    What a refreshing article!
    Brings back so many memories!

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