They began singing on Philadelphia street corners in the mid-1950s. They were just young kids at the time — 14 and 15 years old, attending John Bartram High School. They were a foursome: Danny Rapp, Dave White, Frank Maffei, and Joe Terranova.
Dave White had helped form the group early on. He was the son of a show business couple who did an acrobatic routine. Dave had hung out with some black kids in the area who were then singing a new kind of harmony. "I knew church music, and I knew how to read music," White would later recount to the Los Angles Times. "They taught me the R&B and rock 'n' roll element. I was so excited about it that I went around and found guys in my neighborhood who could sing."
The four boys sang at school parties and other local functions. They practiced whenever they found time -- in their cars, in the school hallways, wherever. One night they decided to go to a street corner where a local record producer named John Madara lived. After telling the boys to "get lost" a few times, Madara finally went downstairs for a listen. The boys weren't bad, he thought to himself. In fact, they were good enough for an introduction to local disc jockey, Larry Brown, and his partner, Artie Singer, who had a record label, Singular Records. It was 1957.
At the time, the boys called themselves the Juvenaires, and they had come up with a couple of songs. One was a ballad titled "Sometimes." Another was a dance tune titled "Do the Bop," written by group member Dave White. Artie Singer liked "Do the Bop," and had the group soon cut a demo for him to test with local DJs. Singer took the record to a friend for an opinion -- a friend who happened to be Dick Clark of the new Philadelphia TV dance show, American Bandstand.
Clark, in addition to hosting Bandstand, was also a radio DJ. Danny and the Juniors' member Joe Terranova, who later renamed himself Joe Terri, recalled that the Philadelphia record business at that time was pretty hot. Producers were turning out new recordings by the dozens. And when the local DJs would give them air time, "they would sell 50,000-60,000 copies," said Terri. "They really didn't care if it was a national hit or not. They were making money doing it that way."
The first recording of "At The Hop" in 1957 was on the Singular Records label of Philadelphia. Dick Clark liked what he heard in the music that Artie Singer had brough him, but he offered two suggestions: that the boys shorten the name of their group from the Juvenairs to the Juniors, and that they change the term "bop," used in "Do The Bop," to something else. Clark explained that the kids on Bandstand were then doing a dance called the Bop. "But these dances come and go quickly," said Clark, suggesting that the group change the word "bop" to "hop." Record hops, said Clark, "are gonna be around for a long, long time." In fact, part of Dick Clark's lucrative career in the 1950s and 1960s involved sponsoring record hops, or "sock hops" as they were sometimes called. In any case, with Clark's advice, the Juniors' song was renamed "At The Hop." It was then re-recorded and the group also changed their name to Danny & The Juniors. Producer Artie Singer put the record out on his Singular Records label.
After Danny & the Juniors appeared on 'Bandstand' in Dec 1957, ABC's Paramount record label acquired the rights to "At The Hop," which became a No.1 hit, selling 2 million copies.