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Song Stories

“In the Still of the Night”

The Five Satins | 1956

Not a smash hit upon first release -- it was actually a B side -- this doo-wop staple by a vocal group from New Haven, Connecticut, went on to become one of the style’s most iconic tunes. In fact, its nonsense refrain (“doo wop, doo wah”) is often cited as the origin of the term “doo-wop” itself. Written by lead singer Fred Parris while on Army guard duty, and recorded on the cheap in the basement of a hometown church, complete with a muffled rhythm section and off-key backing vocals, the song nevertheless went on to top New York oldies station WCBS’ countdown of all-time oldies favorites year in and year out.

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Song Stories

“Long Walk Home”

Bruce Springsteen | 2007

When the subject of this mournful song returns home, he hardly recognizes his town. Springsteen told Rolling Stone the alienation the man feels is a metaphor for life in a politically altered post-9/11 America. “Who would have ever thought we’d live in a country without habeas corpus?” he said. “That’s Orwellian. That’s what political hysteria is about and how effective it is. I felt it in myself. You get frightened for your family, for your home. And you realize how countries can move way off course, very far from democratic ideals.”

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