Dennis M. Spinella, Ph.D.- AKA, Dr. Doo Wop–I began listening to music and collecting records while in sixth grade. Though “Pop” music was my first interest, I managed to get hooked on the sounds played by the legendary Porky Chedwick, who was playing great R&B on WAMO in Pittsburgh. In early high school, I began collecting “Porky Music” while many of my friends continued to be attached to the pop tunes of Frankie Avalon, Bobby Rydell, etc. My music evolved from Buddy Holly’s “Peggy Sue” to Hank Ballard’s “Let’s Go, Let’s Go, Let’s Go”.
Throughout my high school years, I continued collecting 45’s, as well as record albums. When a local record store opened in Scottdale, “Brown’s Record Center”, I used this shop as a springboard and went from collecting music to becoming a DJ. So, with the school’s turntable, and my records, I spread the music throughout the high school at Friday night dances. The students then were afforded the opportunity to listen to this new “non-pop” music, as well as some pop standards.
Following my high school stint, I continued my involvement in record collecting and DJ work at California University of Pennsylvania, while also searching for the Oldies DJs on the radio – Johnny Barbero, Zeke Jackson, Bob Livorio, Terry Lee and of course the great Porky Chedwick! In the 1970s, I found myself going to the “Wooden Keg” in Oakland while Pork the Tork spun his famous records down in the basement of this restaurant. Throughout my music life I attended dances all around the Pittsburgh area – The Grove, Red Rooster, Harry’s Danceland in Latrobe, The White Elephant, Ligonier Valley Beach, the Solvak Club in S. Connellsville and even the skating arena in Washington, PA were Saturday night destinations.
During the mid-1990s, I joined WIXZ 1360 Radio as a DJ’s and soon partnered up with Suzy Q. Together we were known as the “Doo-Wop Classics”! Our roles soon expanded, as the Classics went on to do weddings, reunions, parties, and several regular night club DJ gigs such as “Rip’s” in the North Hills and “Hambone’s” in Lawrenceville. My interest in the “Root’s” music never declined and now I can be found on 770KFB every Saturday morning for a three hour “Library of Golden Oldies” radio show with Ms. Shoo-Bop, my new DJ partner. We are even considering doing “mobile” DJ work, for once that fabulous doo-wop and R&B music is “in your veins”, it is there forever!
Ms. Shoo-Bop – Becky L. Spinella – I began my admiration of the “Oldies” while attending Saturday night dances. The dances were held in a skating rink that was transformed into a romantic palace by the infamous psychedelic, illuminated ball!
.The dances at the Tarena in Tarentum,PA were the destination for many of the Alle-Kiski teens that followed the music played by Porky Chedwick and the late Mad Mike.
On Saturday mornings, my girlfriend and I set out on a weekly walking trip (yes, we walked places back then) to a neighboring town, only to arrive at National Record Mart. There we spent the afternoon looking for that ‘very precious oldie” to purchase and add to our collection.
My love for the oldies was also strengthened when the late Terry Lee began playing his “Music for Young Lovers” on WIXZ radio back in the mid sixties, which opened up a passage way to the beautiful soul ballad. Living in a suburb of Pittsburgh, PA I have had the pleasure of attending the Roots of Rock & Roll concert, hosted by HJD Enterprises which is now in its 40th year, as well as the PBS Doo-Wop concerts produced by TJ Lubinsky.
When I heard that Dr. Doo-Wop was going to be “keeping the 45s alive”, I joined him as Ms. Shoo-Bop and together we doo-wop–shoo-bop on Saturday mornings in the library from 9:00 AM-12 Noon. Hopefully, you can join us and we can put some “DOO WOP in your Soul”!!