People & Places

DAVE WHITE

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A Brief History

Born to a show business family, Dave White toured the country as a child performing with his parents in a hand-balancing act.  While in high school, Dave formed a group called "The Juvenaires."  After singer/songwriter Johnny Madara discovered them singing on a street corner, Dave and John began their collaboration together. 

  

John and Dave wrote a song called “Do The Bop.” On the advice of Dick Clark, who had just gone national with American Bandstand, the title and the lyrics were changed to “At The Hop."  Dave and his renamed group, “Danny and the Juniors,” recorded it and by Christmas of 1957, it has reached the top of the charts. 

What followed “At The Hop’s” enormous success were years of other hit songs that would be recognized not just for their meteoric rise in the charts, but also via inclusion in many feature films and TV shows and through the performances and recordings of other artists and celebrities. Among the many mega-hits contributing to more than 200 million in sales of Madara & White records have been “Rock and Roll Is Here To Stay” (Danny and The Juniors), “The Fly” (Chubby Checker), “1-2-3” (Len Barry) and “You Don’t Own Me” (Lesley Gore).

 

Madara & White songs have appeared on some of the biggest grossing soundtrack albums ever in such feature films as “American Graffiti,” “Grease,” “Dirty Dancing,” “Hairspray,” “Woodstock," “Mr. Holland’s Opus" and “The First Wives Club."  "The First Wives Club" paid the ultimate tribute by featuring "You Don't Own Me" as the theme of the movie.

John's Memories

When I met Dave White I was 19 years old and he was 16 years old.  We hit it off right away.  We used to sing hit songs together, getting to know each other musically and what we liked. We were two young boys with fertile minds.  Dave was like a younger brother to me.  I think he respected that fact that I had a hit record out.  When I was married, he would come over to our house, hang out, and have dinner with us.  I remember that Dave always needed shoes. I figured he was poor, but he never talked about it. 

 

After Danny and the Juniors' success, Dave went on the road for two years.  I opened up a record shop in the black section of town.  I would go out to promote records at local record hops, which is where Dave and I met up again.  Dave was tired of going on the road and wanted to stay put for a while.  He began coming to my record shop and we started to write songs together.  I had a piano in the back room.  I would bring artists in and Dave and I would write songs for them.  This is where we met Maureen Gray.  There was a group called Carl and the Commanders, who was our house band.  They did back-up for Maureen and also played on many of our other songs.

  

Dave and I wrote over 280 songs together.  We complimented each other and respected each others individual talents and contributions.  Although our careers would go in different directions, Dave and I continued to keep in touch.  It's impossible to express my deep affection and respect that I have for Dave.  We could never have had the success we had without each other.  I am grateful for that and proud to call him my friend.

What Happened Next?

In 1967, Dave White joined a local band called "The Crystal Mansion" and later recorded a solo album for Bell

Records.  


In 1992, as an original member of Danny and The Juniors, Dave was inducted into the Hall of Fame and the Walk of

Fame in his hometown by the Philadelphia Music Alliance.   In 2003 Danny and The Juniors was inducted into the

Vocal Group Hall of Fame.  Dave's piano, on which he wrote some of his hit songs, was donated to the Rock and

Roll Hall of Fame and Museum located in Cleveland, Ohio. 

 

In October of 2013, Madara & White were inducted into The Philadelphia Walk of Fame by The Philadelphia Music Alliance.  "You Don't Own Me" was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in October of 2017. 

 

Dave continued to work with young artists. Dave and John Madara, along with screenwriter Michael Killeen, wrote a feature film, "AtThe Hop," as well as "At The Hop -- a musical featuring the songs of Madara &White."  

 

Dave passed away on March 19, 2019.  He was 79 years old.