1962 Rivingtons – Papa-Oom-Mow-Mow / The Bird’s The Word
The Rivingtons were a four-man doo-wop group that got its start in a Los Angeles high school in the forties. The group recorded under several name and changed its lineup a few times as well. Thurston Harris joined the group briefly, but left for a solo career. The band later sang backup vocals on several of Thurston’s recordings, including his #6 single Little Bitty Pretty One in 1957.
They also sang on recordings by Paul Anka and Duane Eddy.
In 1962, the band finally wrote and recorded their own hit record. Liberty Records released their single Papa-Oom-Mow-Mow and it reached #48 on the Hot 100.
The band recorded an album entitled Doin’ The Bird. The album included their next two singles, Kickapoo Joy Juice and Mama-Oom-Mow-Mow (The Bird), but neither one reached the Hot 100.
Their next record after that was another song the band wrote themselves, The Bird’s The Word. The single peaked at #52 on the Hot 100 in early 1963.
The band never charted again. They broke up in the mid-sixties. They later reformed in the early seventies and performed on the oldies circuit for a few decades.
We might have completely forgotten about the Rivingtons had it not been for the Trashmen,a surf rock group formed in Minnesota in 1962. The band claims they never heard the Rivington’s singles but heard they Sorensen Brothers playing The Bird’s The Word and began playing the song themselves. Somehow, they also connected Papa-Oom-Mow-Mow to the end of their performances, and in 1963 they recorded Surfin’ Bird. The single flew up to #4 on the Hot 100 in 1963.
Of course, its use on Family Guy has immortalized the song.
The Trashmen’s single listed drummer/singer Steve Wahrer as the writer of the song, but it didn’t take long for the threat of legal action to change that to the four members of the Rivingtons.
The Trashmen reached #30 on the Hot 100 with Bird Dance Beat in 1964, but that was their last visit to the chart. The band retired from performing in 2015.
I have collected older articles about Lost or Forgotten Oldies in my books.
Please visit my author page on Amazon where I sell my paperbacks, eBooks, and audiobooks.
You can even read the books for free if you have Kindle Unlimited!