If this were the 1950s or mid 60s, the performers getting ready to take the stage Saturday at Patchogue Theatre would be absolutely dominating the airwaves right now.
Take Vito Piccone & The Elegants.
Their “Little Star” was at the top of he charts for an entire year in 1958. (Keep scrolling down to read and listen, and for tickets.)
The Classics’ remake of “Till Then” (1963) was a Top 20 hit that reached No. 2 in the Tri-State area, where doo-wop ruled.
And Santo & Johnny’s’ “Sleepwalk” (1959) has been featured in commercials, movies and plays for decades. Just think of the signature bumper song from La Bamba.
The Happenings had five Top 10 hit songs in the mid-60s.
Their biggest hit was Got Rhythm.
All that and a headline performance from the hit cover band The Duprees goes down at the East Main Street theater starting 7:30 p.m. on Nov. 23, at WHLI’s 4th Annual Night of Doo Wop. [Click here for tickets.]
“The Duprees are known the world over for their romantic interpretations of some of the most beautiful love songs ever written,” the theater’s website reads. “They have made a career out of giving new life to old hits.”
The rest of the night will be dedicated to original hits.
And that’s what people want, the hits, songs they recognize, said Emil Stucchio of The Classics, who found fame at 16 years old as the lead vocalist on Till Then.
Stucchio, originally from Brooklyn but now in East Rockaway, said he and the other bands have been performing together and running in the same circles since they were all teenagers.
So every show feels like a high school reunion for them.
“We’re always having fun backstage, and then that carries over on stage to the people,” he said.
Stucchio hosts doo-wop shows across the country and beyond, though Saturday night’s host will be the show’s producer, Steve Dassa of Steve Dassa Productions.
As for the audience, Stucchio said the night in Patchogue, like all the doo-wop shows, will be all about nostalgia.
“What [the audience] always expects on that night is to relive some of the memories that we all experienced through the 50s and 60s,” he told GreaterPatchogue this week. “And it’ll be a fun journey.”
Stucchio, 75, who’s shared stages with known performers such as Frankie Valli, Chuck Berry and Jerry Lee Lewis, said his has been a storybook life.
“I have such great memories working with all of them” he said. “It’s been like living a dream. It’s beautiful that I still get a chance to do this at 75.”
He also said there’s typically plenty of young people in the audience, thanks not only in part to their parents’ and grandparents’ love of doo-wop, but also because of YouTube.
“I’ve gotten letters from [young people] from over the world, Spain, German, Italy, South America,” he said. “They ask for pictures, autographs. We’re not like some Hall of Fame group, like The Drifters, but these people are getting to know our music. The minute that YouTube opened up, the world opened up to a lot of people that liked this kind of music.”