These are my top thirty "Doo-Wop" records from 1954 - 1959, presented in chronological order.
title artist highest ranking week debuted
Goodnight Sweetheart, Goodnight The Spaniels 5 1954 3 14
Sh-Boom The Chords 9 1954 6 19
Earth Angel The Penguins 8 1954 12 25
The Great Pretender The Platters 1 1955 12 24
Devil or Angel The Clovers
1956 1 7
Speedo The Cadillacs 17 1956 2 4
Why Do Fools Fall in Love Frankie Lymon & the Teenagers 6 1956 2 18
Ivory Tower Otis Williams & The Charms 11 1956 4 14
My Prayer The Platters 1 1956 7 7
Oh What a Night The Dells
1956 9 8
I'll Remember (In the Still of the Night) The Five Satins 24 1956 9 29
Come Go With Me The Dell-Vikings 4 1957 3 2
Little Darlin' The Diamonds 2 1957 3 16
Little Bitty Pretty One Thurston Harris 6 1957 10 28
Could This Be Magic The Dubs 23 1957 11 18
Get a Job The Silhouettes 1 1958 1 20
Maybe The Chantels 15 1958 1 27
Twilight Time The Platters 1 1958 4 7
I Wonder Why Dion & the Belmonts 22 1958 5 26
Yakety Yak The Coasters 1 1958 6 9
One Summer Night The Danleers 7 1958 6 30
Little Star The Elegants 1 1958 7 28
Tears on My Pillow Little Anthony & the Imperials 4 1958 8 18
You Cheated The Shields 12 1958 9 15
Sixteen Candles The Crests 2 1958 12 22
Since I Don't Have You The Skyliners 12 1959 3 23
A Teenager in Love Dion & the Belmonts 5 1959 4 27
I Only Have Eyes for You The Flamingos 11 1959 6 8
Hushabye The Mystics 20 1959 6 15
There Goes My Baby The Drifters 2 1959 6 29

For the doo-wop songs from 1960 - 1963, click on the button to the right:

Doo-Wop music flourished during the Elvis Era.  The style was derived from the earlier vocal harmonies of groups such as the Ink Spots and the Mills Brothers.  Those harmonies were adopted by rhythm and blues artists such as the Orioles, the Penguins, and the Moonglows.  Many teens in the mid 1950's were attracted to the new sound of rock and roll, but many did not have access to the necessary instruments.  The doo-wop sound came to rely more heavily on the background vocals.  The name "doo-wop" reflected the often meaningless words chanted as background to the lead vocals.  In some cases, the nonsense syllables were a prominent aspect of the record, such as "Come Go With Me" by The Dell-Vikings.  In others, such as "Since I Don't Have You" by The Skyliners, the emphasis is more on the "ooo's and ahhhh's."   Another common characteristic of the sound was its heavy dose of echo.  Many of the genre's artists got their start singing in school hallways, and bathrooms where a heavy echo could be produced.  Most of the groups had four or five members and were identified as a group (The Clovers, "Devil or Angel") but sometimes a group leader was recognized (Frankie Lymon & The Teenagers, "Why Do Fools Fall in Love").  Eventually, the genre included solo performers where the backup group vocals went uncredited (Gene Chandler, "Duke of Earl").  In the case of Dion & The Belmonts, Dion eventually split with his group, but his solo efforts ("Runaround Sue") had backing vocals sounding just like The Belmonts – in this case, an uncredited group, The Del Satins.

With its close relationship to rhythm and blues, most of the doo-wop groups were black (The Platters), but some were white (The Diamonds), and some were racially mixed (The Dell-Vikings).  Many of the early white doo-wop groups were the product of "cover" versions frequently produced during the era to capitalize on a promising r & b record by cleaning up the vocals and making the production (and the group itself) more attractive to a white audience (and thus making more money).  The Crew Cuts ("Sh-Boom"), The McGuire Sisters ("Sincerely"), and The Diamonds ("Church Bells May Ring") are prime examples of white covers. 

While early doo-wop records such as Otis Williams & The Charms' "Ivory Tower" were almost devoid of instrumentation, the genre evolved to eventually include full orchestras, such as The Drifters' "Up on the Roof."  As stated before, early on the genre was almost exclusively made up of black groups, but later such all white groups as Dion & The Belmonts and The Four Seasons had great success.

Many rock and roll records of the Elvis Era owed their success to the influence of doo-wop.  Neil Sedaka had great success in the early 1960's with records which included doo-wop lyrics, such as his #1 hit, "Breaking Up Is Hard To Do" ("Down dooby doo down down").  Roy Orbison's early successes, such as "Only The Lonely" employed doo-wop ("dum dum dum, dumdy doo dwah").  In 1961, Barry Mann had a #7 hit with a song that payed homage to the genre, "Who Put The Bomp (in the Bomp, Bomp, Bomp)".  Jan & Dean also showed a heavy doo-wop influence in their initial hit recording "Baby Talk."

Categorizing records as "doo-wop" has a grey area.  For this list, sometimes a record that has doo-wop sound isn't included because it comes up a little short on some of the criteria.  For example, "Eddie My Love" by The Teen Queens has a doo-wop kind of sound, but it’s a duet, not a vocal group, and it lacks the backing vocals and bass commonly associated with the genre.  At the same time, "Lollipop" by The Chordettes is included as it certainly has the harmony, a four member group (all female), and the requisite nonsense syllables ("pop, ba boom boom").  The Four Seasons are included as their music is east-coast r & b influenced, with emphasis on the nonsense syllables, Frankie Valli's falsetto, and Bob Gaudio's bass ("Sherry" – "Why don't you come out?")  Their contemporaries, The Beach Boys are not listed as their sound was more closely identified with the west coast surf guitar driven sound, although they certainly employed the close harmony and backing vocals (but these vocals were more commonly repeated phrases rather than nonsense syllables ("Fun, Fun, Fun" – "fun, fun, fun, now that daddy took her T-Bird away"). The girl groups of the early 1960's present a categorization dilemma.  While many are obviously doo-wop influenced, the increased instrumental role, less use of harmony,  and the use of more responsive lyrics from the backup vocals and less nonsense syllables make many of them borderline.  Most of The Shirelles records seem to qualify ("Will You Love Me Tomorrow") but The Marvelettes ("Playboy") doesn't.

 All of this, of course, is debatable.  However flawed it might be, below is my list of the doo-wop sounds of The Elvis Era, 1954 - 1959

ABC's of Love by Frankie Lymon & The Teenagers 10/20/1956 #
Angels in the Sky by The Crew-Cuts 12/17/1955 #11
At the Hop by Danny & the Juniors 12/9/1957 #1
Book of Love by The Monotones 4/7/1958 #5
Buzz-Buzz-Buzz by The Hollywood Flames 12/2/1957 #11
Charlie Brown by The Coasters 2/9/1959 #2
Come Go With Me by The Dell-Vikings 3/2/1957 #4
Come Softly to Me by The Fleetwoods 3/16/1959 #1
Could This Be Magic by The Dubs 11/18/1957 #23
Dance with Me by The Drifters 11/2/1959 #15
Devil or Angel by The Clovers 1/7/1956 #
Down The Aisle Of Love by The Quin-Tones 9/8/1958 #18
Earth Angel by The Crew-Cuts 1/15/1955 #8
Earth Angel by The Penguins 12/25/1954 #8
Enchanted by The Platters 4/6/1959 #12
For Your Precious Love by Jerry Butler & the Impressions 6/16/1958 #11
Gee by The Crows 3/27/1954 #18
Get a Job by The Silhouettes 1/20/1958 #1
Goodnight Sweetheart, Goodnight by The Spaniels 3/14/1954 #5
Goody Goody by Frankie Lymon 8/26/1957 #20
The Great Pretender by The Platters 12/24/1955 #1
Happy, Happy Birthday Baby by The Tune Weavers 9/23/1957 #5
Hearts of Stone by The Charms 11/27/1954 #15
Honey Love by The Drifters 5/10/1954 #21
Hushabye by The Mystics 6/15/1959 #20
I Want You to Be My Girl by Frankie Lymon & the Teenagers 5/12/1956 #13
I'll Remember (In the Still of the Night) by The Five Satins 9/29/1956 #24
I'm Not A Juvenile Delinquent by Frankie Lymon & The Teenagers 11/5/1956 #
I'm Sorry by The Platters 3/23/1957 #11
I've Had It by The Bell Notes 2/9/1959 #6
I Only Have Eyes for You by The Flamingos 6/8/1959 #11
Ivory Tower by Otis Williams & The Charms 4/14/1956 #11
I Wonder Why by Dion & the Belmonts 5/26/1958 #22Jo Ann by The Playmates 1/27/1958 #19
Just Between You & Me by The Chordettes 9/16/1957 #8
Lavender Blue by Sammy Turner 7/6/1959 #3
Little Girl of Mine by The Cleftones 3/1/1956 #57
Little Bitty Pretty One by Thurston Harris 10/28/1957 #6
Little Darlin' by The Diamonds 3/16/1957 #2
Little Star by The Elegants 7/28/1958 #1
Lollipop by The Chordettes 3/10/1958 #2
Love Potion No. 9 by The Clovers 11/2/1959 #23
A Lover's Question by Clyde McPhatter 10/20/1958 #6
A Lover's Question by Clyde McPhatter 10/20/1958 #6

Magic Touch by The Platters 3/31/1956 #4
Maybe by The Chantels 1/27/1958 #15
Mister Sandman by The Chordettes 10/10/1954 #1
Mr. Lee by The Bobbettes 8/12/1957 #6
My Prayer by The Platters 7/7/1956 #1
No One Knows by Dion & The Belmonts 9/15/1958 #19
Oh Julie by The Crescendos 1/20/1958 #5
Oh What a Night by The Dells 9/8/1956 #
One Summer Night by The Danleers 6/30/1958 #7
Only You by The Platters 10/1/1955 #5
Out of Sight, Out of Mind by The Five Keys 10/6/1956 #23
Over the Mountain, Across the Sea by Johnnie & Joe 5/27/1957 #8
Poison Ivy by The Coasters 9/7/1959 #7
Searchin' by The Coasters 5/20/1957 #3
Seven Days by The Crew-Cuts 2/18/1956 #18
Sh-Boom by The Chords 6/19/1954 #9
Sh-Boom by The Crew-Cuts 6/5/1954 #1
Silhouettes by The Rays 10/21/1957 #3
Since I Don't Have You by The Skyliners 3/23/1959 #12
Sincerely by The Moonglows 11/24/1954 #20
Sixteen Candles by The Crests 12/22/1958 #2
Smoke Gets in Your Eyes by The Platters 12/1/1958 #1
So Fine by The Fiestas 4/27/1959 #11
Sorry (I Ran All the Way Home) by The Impalas 4/13/1959 #2
Speedo by The Cadillacs 2/4/1956 #17
The Stroll by The Diamonds 1/6/1958 #4
Such a Night by Clyde McPhatter 1/6/1954 #16
Tears on My Pillow by Little Anthony & the Imperials 8/18/1958 #4
A Teenager in Love by Dion & the Belmonts 4/27/1959 #5
Ten Commandments of Love by Harvey & the Moonglows 10/20/1958 #22
The Angels Listened In by The Crests 9/14/1959 #22
The Church Bells May Ring by The Diamonds 5/12/1956 #14
There Goes My Baby by The Drifters 6/29/1959 #2
Tonite Tonite by The Mello Kings 7/1/1957 #77
Tragedy by Thomas Wayne 2/16/1959 #5
Treasure of Love by Clyde McPhatter 6/9/1956 #16
Twilight Time by The Platters 4/7/1958 #1
When You Dance by The Turbans 1/14/1956 #33
Whispering Bells by The Dell-Vikings 7/15/1957 #9
Why Do Fools Fall in Love by The Diamonds 3/17/1956 #12
Why Do Fools Fall in Love by Frankie Lymon & the Teenagers 2/18/1956 #6
Without Love (There is Nothing) by Clyde McPhatter 2/23/1957 #19
Yakety Yak by The Coasters 6/9/1958 #1
You Were Mine by The Fireflies 9/28/1959 #21
You'll Never Never Know by The Platters 10/6/1956 #11
You're So Fine by The Falcons 6/8/1959 #17
You Cheated by The Shields 9/15/1958 #12
Young Blood by The Coasters 5/20/1957 #8