Neo Doo Wop
A golden oldie from the early 1960s is “Denise” by Randy & the Rainbows. By 1961 it appeared that doo wop might have run its course. However, in 1962 it came roaring back. This period, for those who are finely attuned to musical genre categories, is known as “neo doo wop” and was kicked off with songs that included “Imagination” by The Quotations and “Remember Then” by The Earls. “Denise” was among the last of this period and peaked a few months before America met The Beatles and the music changed. In the following years, other records certainly showcased elements of doo-wop, but it wasn’t their primary signature sound.
Randy & The Rainbows formed in 1962 in Queens. Group members for this track were Dominick Safuto, Frank Safuto, Mike Zero, Sal Zero, and Ken Arcipowski. Earlier in 1960, the Safuto brothers had recorded as The Dialtones. They then formed a quintet and called themselves Junior & The Counts. An affionado of doo wop music (and former Director of A&R at EMI special markets) Bob Hyde wrote: “When ‘Denise’ was placed with independent label Laurie Records, some genius renamed them Randy & The Rainbows, though no one in the group was named Randy; of such things is the legacy of pop music built.” They recorded with the producers of The Tokens and released the single “Denise” in 1963. The song went to #10 on the Billboard Hot 100. Neil Levenson wrote “Denise” with his childhood friend Denice Lefrak in mind. The song later became a European hit for Blondie, titled “Denis.”