This very question has been asked since 1961, when songwriter Barry Mann (with help from The Halos and songwriter Gerry Goffin) released his hit song "Who Put the Bomp (in the Bomp, Bomp, Bomp)" which is also commonly known as "Who Put the Bop in the Bop" and other variants. The song was since covered, adapted, and referenced by dozens of other recording artists.
In the song, Barry asks who put the bomp -- in other words, who originated the doo-wop style of music? The lyrics go on to say that doo-wop made his girl fall in love with him, so he'd like to thank the progenitor of this prolific pop music genre.
This is pure speculation and personal opinion, but I imagine Barry Mann was asking a rhetorical question that he hoped would make his song memorable. Mann also worked as an advertising jingle writer, and probably had a knack for creating catchy pop-culture memes.
Identifying the first artist to use this style is a tough one -- doo-wop ruled the U.S. airwaves from the mid-1950s until about 1964, and new singles were released constantly. And, like many artistic movements, it's possible that several different singers and groups hit upon the style at around the same time.
That said, if you insist on finding the person who put the bomp/bop, there are a few candidates:
(1.) Later in 1961, following the success of Barry Mann and The Halos, Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers released "I Put the Bomp," which clearly established that Frankie Lymon was, indeed, the originator of the Bomp (or Bop, as you may prefer). To my knowledge, Frankie was never challenged on this matter.
Their claim is not groundless -- Frankie Lymon and the Teenager's first hit, "Why Do Fools Fall in Love," was released in 1956, and the group had been together for at least a year by then. (However, purists might argue that The Teenagers' material was not really doo-wop because they used rock-and-roll instrumentation, whereas many doo-wop groups either recorded a cappella or relied more heavily on vocal arrangements.)
(2.) 1950s expert Jena Redwanski cites two groups that might reasonably be the original doo-wop artists: The Turbans, who released "When You Dance" in 1955; and The Five Satins, whose 1956 hit "In the Still of the Night" has become one of the best-known standards from the early doo-wop era.
Both songs include the words "doo-wop" as part of the vocal arrangement, and were released within a few months of each other. (Jena's full article about doo-wop can be found here: http://www.loti.com/fifties_music/Doo-Wop.htm)
Posted 4044 day ago