Aired on Treasure Island OldiesMar 24, 2024

In 2023, an intimate music documentary, Heart and Soul: A Love Story, was released. It goes from heartbreak to harmony, inside the close-knit community of the early, unsung heroes of Rock & Roll. The distinctive voices of these performers united a generation, bridged cultures, and shaped the music that endures today.

The documentary is directed by a singer/songwriter and music producer who “lived it.” Born in Brooklyn, New York in 1943, he co-founded Jay & The Americans. His smooth tenor vocals and creative arrangements played a pivotal role in shaping the group’s sound and cementing their place in music history.

He would go on to become the music supervisor for the movies Animal House (1978), American Hot Wax (1978) and Eddie and the Cruisers (1983).


But he never lost his passion for street corner harmony and R&B.

Street corner harmony for the most part was an urban phenomenon. Today, it is often associated with the term “Doo Wop.” However, truth be known, the term “Doo Wop” was not originally coined until the 70s, evolving from the meaningless background sounds and lyrics sung by vocal groups during the 50s and early 60s.

The goal for these acapella groups was to create a unique sound and be discovered so they could make a record that would be played on the radio one day. The fact that girls would take notice of them was an added bonus for the predominantly male groups.

In 1992, the singer/songwriter started his own Doo Wop group, bringing to life a fictional group introduced to us in American Hot Wax.

That group was reformed as Kenny Vance and The Planotones.

Kenny Vance was inducted into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame as a member of Jay and the Americans in 2002, and into the Long Island Music Hall of Fame in 2008.

As to Vance’s voice, Dion DiMucci probably summed it up best when he told Elmore Magazine in 2008, “Kenny Vance…sings like there’s a 19-year-old angel inside of him. … Kenny Vance expresses the heart and soul of Doo Wop.”

Supporting that quote is Kenny Vance and The Planotones’ rendition of a song that Vance originally recorded on Atlantic Records in 1975, a song that sums up the aspirations of every street corner harmony group out there who were “Looking For An Echo,” this week’s Tom Locke moment in time.

YouTube video of this song:

This “Moments In Time” story is yet another example of a “golden oldie” or forgotten favorite that earned its place in the evolution of Rock & Roll.