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Doo Wop Love Songs (My Music)

Airs Saturday, September 15, 2012 at 1 p.m. on KPBS TV

Ben E. King, Charlie Thomas and Bill Pinkney, all lead singers of the origina...

Credit: Courtesy of 2007 TJL Ventures, LLC

Above: Ben E. King, Charlie Thomas and Bill Pinkney, all lead singers of the original "Drifters," reunite for this concert, one of Pinkney's last performances. He died in July 2007.

The MY MUSIC series returns to its record-breaking roots with "Doo Wop Love Songs," an all-new salute to heartfelt harmonies that spotlights legendary acts from the 1950s and 1960s, many of whom haven’t performed together in decades.

Headlining the romantic rhythms are the immortal Little Anthony & the Imperials with their timeless top-10 tune “Tears on My Pillow” and “Two People in the World.”

Among the doo-wop pioneers who reunite in this historic special are the Tokens with their pair of 1961 smashes “The Lion Sleeps Tonight” and “Tonight I Fell in Love.” Cleveland Still & the Dubs reprise their 1957 spine-tingler “Could This Be Magic,” and the Classics reminisce with the sweetly sentimental “Til Then.”

The Original Drifters, with founding singer Bill Pinkney, gather for the first time on public television to present the holiday favorite “White Christmas.” Sadly, this was among Pinkney’s final performances; he passed away on July 4, 2007.

Later group members, billed as Charlie Thomas’ Drifters, appear along with one of the group’s most famous singers, Ben E. King, for the iconic “Stand By Me.”

"Doo Wop Love Songs" also features musical memories from a beloved solo artist: Carol Connors, original lead singer for The Teddy Bears, wistfully sings the million-selling standard “To Know Him Is to Love Him” (1958).

Frankie Lymon’s Teenagers revive their most famous recording, “Why Do Fools Fall in Love,” along with “I Want You to Be My Girl.” The Students team with 13-year-old sensation Kid Kyle on “I’m So Young,” proving that doo wop isn’t just for baby boomers.

More ballads with a beat are heard from the Demensions, who offer the wistful evergreen “Over the Rainbow,” the Safaris with their evocative “Image of a Girl,” which charted top 10 in 1960, and the Mystics, who serenade softly with the lilting “Hushabye.”

"Doo Wop Love Songs" delivers a powerful punch of emotional, feel-good sounds from a simpler time and continues the intention of the MY MUSIC series to preserve vital American music legacies, exclusively on PBS.

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Preview: My Music: Doo Wop Love Songs

The 1950s and doo wop love songs go hand-in-hand, like two straws and a shake. America's favorite malt shop memories are back with this doo wop collection for lovers only. Hosts Jerry Butler and Cousin Brucie Morrow bring back the backseat ballads in this celebration of great vocal groups. Recorded at the Ritz Theatre in Elizabeth, New Jersey, the program features performances by the Tokens, Dubs, Little Anthony and the Imperials, Larry Chance and the Earls, and a reunion of the Original Drifters (Ben E. King, Charlie Thomas, Bobby Hendricks and Bill Pinkney).

Doo Wop Love Songs: The Cadillacs singing "Zoom"

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