Doo-wop revival

for The Brooklyn Paper
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Fifty years ago, a teenage Kenny Vance was in attendance when Alan Freed brought his rock ’n’ roll show to the Paramount Theater in Downtown Brooklyn, where he grew up. It was right there that Vance knew that he would be forever dedicated to the genre he fell in love with that night.

Vance has since become an underground legend in the national rock scene, beginning with Jay and The Americans in the early ’60s, who opened for both the Beatles and the Stones. Later, he served as a record producer and musical director for films like 1977’s “American Hot Wax” (a fictionalized biography of Freed), “Animal House” and the cult classic “Eddie & The Cruisers.”

Despite a current lack of radio support, the interest in doo-wop and classic rock has not decreased; at a recent performance at the St. George Theater on Staten Island, the Planotones (which Vance created for “Hot Wax”) drew a considerable crowd of different ages and backgrounds who sang along with the band as they tore through favorites such as “You Cheated” and “Angel Baby.”

At 64, Vance soldiers on. He’s celebrating 50 years in the business on Feb. 29 with a performance with his Planotones at the equally legendary Gargiulo’s Restaurant in Coney Island.

“That is the genre I’m in, and I’m truthful to it,” he told GO Brooklyn. “I know I’m not a kid anymore, but while I am healthy, I’m able to do this and carry on.”

Kenny Vance and the Planotones will perform at 10:30 pm on Feb. 29 at Gargiulo’s Restaurant (2911 W. 15th St. at Mermaid Avenue in Coney Island). For 7:30 pm dinner reservations and more information, call (718) 266-4891. Tickets are $125 (includes dinner and cocktails).

Updated 4:01 pm, November 10, 2010
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Reasonable discourse

JIM from PARK SLOPE says:
Feb. 29, 2008, 3:57 pm
John Arbeeny from Cobble Hill says:
Hey Bro:

Keep on rockin! I grew up on Amity Street and Court Street and have been playing Doowop since the early-mid 1950's...piano and vocals. Still rockin it here where I retired in Tacoma, WA. Put together a group...Rockin Relics...all of us over 60 and we have played venues like the Lions Club, civic events, Eagles Club, etc. to the over 60 audience and they were electrified by it. Really, doowop was "invented" by the prewar boomers just took it over and ruined it in the 1960's. But there are still true believers out there like me and you and a whole generation that started shakin to this new music over 50 years ago. Hope to stop by on my next trip to NY.

Johnny "Crash" Arbeeny
Rockin Relics
Nov. 1, 2008, 12:21 pm
John Arbeeny from Cobble Hill says:
In planning is a doowop/rock and roll open air concert in Carroll Street Park on 1 August 2010. Bands will be a reunion of 1960's era alumni of John Jay High School band members. Many went on to musical careers. Excitement is high as the best and brightest of the 1960's classes get together almost 50 years later to celebrate the music of their youth.

You ought to be there!

Johnny "Crash" Arbeeny
March 10, 2010, 11:17 pm
Judy from Cobble Hill says:
It would be fantastic to have a doo wop revival in the New York metro area, particularly Brooklyn. If there's any interest, e-mail me at
March 27, 2010, 1:29 pm
Jim Ervin from Vancouver, B.C. says:
Hi Johnny "Crash" Arbeeny.
I'd sure like to start a Doo-Wop group in my area but I sure can't generate any interest on Craig's List. Maybe I should come down and hear your group some time. Can you give me your email address? I'm at
Oct. 16, 2012, 1:11 am

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