For myself, hearing the first strains of the Bee Gees “Staying Alive” transports me back to my disco diva days of the ’70s when spandex was king.
But it was the tunes of decades earlier that I embraced last Saturday night at The Ultimate Doo-Wop Show at the Orange County Performing Arts Center.
It was a night of crushed velvet and sequins as artist after artist took the stage at Segerstrom Hall. My husband and I went to hear our friend and neighbor, Jan Detanna, perform on stage in the group Deke & the Blazers. They joined such greats as The Flamingos, The Pentagons and The Contours.
To be honest, these names didn’t mean a lot to me; it wasn’t until the music started and the groups came on that I remembered these great tunes. I was surprised at how many of the numbers I actually recognized. Some of the original members of the groups were up on stage, too, and man! Could some of these old guys sing! And it was apparent that they — some of them well into their 70s — were having as much fun as the audience.
David Somerville of The Diamonds looked dapper in his light pink jacket in honor of Valentine’s Day. The Diamonds gained number one status in the 1950s with a remake of “Little Darlin’,” but it was the dance craze, “The Stroll” that really launched them.
Reminiscent of the Temptations and other black groups of the era so beautifully choreographed, The Contours took the stage in shimmering blue jackets and black tuxedo slacks. They bopped, snapped and twirled in perfect harmony and when they exploded into their 1962 hit, “Do You Love Me?” I thought the audience was going to literally jump out of its seat to do the mashed potato.
One of my favorite groups of the night, though, was the elegant Flamingos.
Dressed in pink and red, this ensemble was billed as king of the crooning groups. Member Terry Johnson, who joined in 1956, performed one of his original compositions that still holds its appeal today: “I Only Have Eyes for You.”
What a gorgeous arrangement! If satin had a sound, I think this song would be it.