1961 The Edsels – Rama Lama Ding Dong
In 1957, a doo-wop group was formed in Ohio that called itself the Essos. Their name was a shortened version of Standard Oil/SO, which was the original name for Exxon. Perhaps after seeing the success of several other groups had after naming themselves after cars, the group changed their name to the Edsels.
Dub Records, a small record label that only released nine singles, signed the Edsels. The group recorded Rama Lama Ding Dong for the company in 1957 and Dub released it the next year. The song was written by the lead vocalist, George “Wydell” Jones, Jr. The first label of the single showed the title of the song as Lama Rama Ding Dong (a later pressing corrected the mistake). When the song failed to chart nationally, the group drifted apart.
In 1961 the Marcels had a major doo-wop hit with the chart-topping song Blue Moon. Because the song was so similar to the doo-wop style of Rama Lama Ding Dong, an unnamed disc jockey in New York City began playing the two records back to back. Listeners helped boost the popularity of the song, and the Edsels’ record was re-released by Twin Records and got up to #21 nationally the second time around.
The group reformed and recorded a series of records for Capitol Records, but never reached the same level of success again. Their record continues to be popular and is a staple of radio stations that play music from the late fifties and early sixties. There is still a group performing as the Edsels that still includes James Reynolds, one of the original members of the group.