Thursday, May 24, 2012

Danny and the Juniors--At the Hop (1957/58)

      Danny Rapp, Frank Maffei, Joe Terranova, and Dave White  had been singing together since their teen years in Philadelphia in the early 50's. They did the usual high school dances (under the name Juvenairs) and such until they were heard by John Madera who had an interested in rock and roll from the management side. Madera was impressed and introduced them to Artie Singer who was a vocal teacher, and also head of Singular Records.
     Singer liked one of the songs that  White had written called, "At the Bop". The word bop had gone out of fashion by that time and Singer changed it to "Hop". Him and White rewrote parts of the song into the form we know it today. Singer also shortened the name of the group to The Juniors. After recording, it was taken to the Philly DJ's. During this time, Dick Clark heard the song and was impressed, but at the time had no openings for the group to play on his TV show, "American Bandstand".
     As luck would have it however, soon afterward, Little Anthony and the Imperials canceled out on a show, and Clark asked the Juniors to fill in. It became an immediate regional hit, and since the cash strapped Spector records couldn't afford nationwide distribution, it was leased out to ABC-Paramount who put it out across the country. The result was a number one hit for seven weeks in late 1957/early 1958.
     The group continues to tour today except for Rapp who passed away in 1983. Saxophonist Lennie Baker left the group in the 60's to form the nostalgia group, "Sha Na Na". You can see more about them here: 



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