Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Street Corner Soul: songs of love and lust and hopes and dreams

Since I started living by myself, I've got really bad about sending myself to sleep: there's always another pretty thing to look at on the internet, something to tidy away, another chapter to read. Sometimes the bleary eyes and dark circles the next day are well worth it, as with the case of Street Corner Soul.


It's a four part series on early doo-wop bands narrated by the mighty Ronnie Spector, which 6 Music put out at midnight each night last week (though I think it was on Radio 2 before then). Please be quick and catch it on iPlayer.


Utterly fascinating stuff, these songs from the 1940s and 50s have remained with us thanks to their use on films (thanks Dirty Dancing), TV shows and countless covers, though the names of the bands that originally sang them have largely slipped out of public knowledge. And what names they have! The Flamingos, The Zodiacs, The Cadillacs...


The stories behind the songs are no less evocative, with descriptions of how Alan Freed's groundbreaking radio show use to blare out of windows in a scorching New York summer. Or Ronnie herself coming face-to-face with her teen idol Frankie Lymon (of 'Why Do Fools Fall in Love?' fame) only to discover he stank of booze. There's also more than a fair share of tragedy and heartbreak that goes on too.


There's no playlists given on the 6 Music site so I had a go at compiling my own on Spotify here. Let me know any important omissions and mistakes. And enjoy. As Ronnie says, these bands were singing songs of "love and lust and hopes and dreams". What more could you possibly want?


  1. I'm listening now , what a find. Thank you :)

    1. Ah, excellent. I'm very happy to share it - I love documentaries like this!


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