Wordless Chorus

"Wordless chorus" means a [usually] female voice or voices singing nonsense syllables, humming, or otherwise ululating. This so-called background instrument was popular in the 1960s, when the advertising wisdom "sex sells" applied to everything. What better way to show off the new hi-fi stereo than the sound of an idle young woman's voice bouncing from channel to channel? Later 1960s television commercials used this technique extensively, for instance in some versions of "Music to Watch Girls By."

King of the wordless chorus was Esquivel, whose astounding "zu-zu-zu-zu" and "pow!" choruses run throughout most of his work. Second to him is Bob Thompson, "the poor man's Esquivel" and an arranger with advertising in his blood (although adding the chorus in Thompson's case was an RCA producer's idea).

There are hundreds of albums with wordless chorus, and many exotic albums use eerie, abstract, female voice as a "sirenish" touch. It's just fun, trivial music for swingin' playboys.

Wordless Chorus LPs

7Russ Garcia & his Vocal Choir & Orchestra: Sounds in the Night; Bethlehem BCP-5006; 1957
5Leroy Holmes: Hawaii with a Bongo Beat!; MGM SE-3874
4Ray Martin: Dynamica; RCA Victor Stereo Action LSA-2287; 1961
4Teddy Phillips & Colleen Lovett: Five Men Plus Girl!; Carlton STLP-12/131
6Jean-Michel Riff: Paris in Rhythm; Columbia/Epic/Perfect PS-14034
5The Creed Taylor Orchestra (w/Kenyon Hopkins): Ping Pang Pong the Swinging Ball; ABC-Paramount ABCS-325; 1960
5Keith Textor: Sounds Terrific!; RCA Victor Stereo Action LSA-2365; 1961
3Keith Textor: Sounds Sensational!; RCA Victor Stereo Action LSA-2425; 1962
6Bob Thompson, his Orchestra & Chorus: Just for Kicks; RCA Victor LSP-2027; 1959/1958
6Bob Thompson, his Orchestra & Chorus: Mmm, Nice!; RCA Victor LSP-2117; 1960/1959
7Bob Thompson, his Chorus & Orchestra: On the Rocks; RCA Victor LSP-2145; 1960/1959
4Bob Thompson, his Orchestra & Chorus: Music from Wildcat; RCA Victor LSP-2357; 1961

Partly Wordless-Chorus LPs

7The Frank Barber Percussion: Deep Percussion; Polydor 24-4508; 1970
8George Braith: Musart; Prestige PRST-7515; 1967 ("Del's Theme")
6Christy Minstrels: East Meets West; Karan AW-14304; 1979 ("South American Getaway")
6Leo Diamond: Skin Diver Suite & Other Selections (w/Murray Kellner); RCA Victor LPM-1165; 1956
6Bill Faith (w/Frank Hunter): A Guitar to Remember; Chancellor CHLS-5007 (rare Philadelphia LP)
7Mel Henke: Dynamic Adventures in Sound; Warner Bros. Workshop Series WB-1447; 1962
7Ole Jensen & his Music; Chappell LPC-1044; 1971 (production/mod/funky rock/wordless chorus "Buttoned-Up")
7Quincy Jones: The Hot Rock ST; Atlantic/Prophesy SD-6055; 1972 ("Hot Rock Theme"--funky!)
6Alex O. Kulaks: [no title]; Sam Fox SF-1027; 1973 (production; mexicali/mod/wordless chorus)
7Gary McFarland: The In Sound; Verve V6-8632; 1965
-[Hugo Montenegro]
7Bill Page: The Sonic Sounds of the Sixties; Capitol/Tower ST-5084
7The Dave Pell Singers: Mah-Na-Mah-Na; Liberty LST-7631
4Larry Page: Taking Care of Business; Calla CS-1102
6The Joe Rene Complex: Music to Read the Pretenders By; Philips PHS-600-327; 1969 (mod/funky rock/wordless chorus/Mexicali; soundtrack to a book!)
6Pete Rugolo: The Sweet Ride ST; 20th Century Fox S-4198; 1968
7Dan Terry Orchestra & Chorus: Lonely Place; Happy Tiger HT-1005 (mod/chorus)
7Armando Trovajoli: Seven Golden Men ST; United Artists UAL-?/UAS-5193 (mono-only recording; crime/spy/wordless chorus/mod/whistling/drums)
3Billy Vaughn: The Windmills of Your Mind ("Traces"); Dot DLP-25937
8Johnny Williams: Not With My Wife You Don't ST; Warner Bros. WS-1668 (mod/mod-organ-breakbeat "Trumpet Discotheque"/mod jazz "Main Title (Big Beautiful Ball"/wordless chorus "Hey Julietta"/guitar "Hungarian Jungle Music")
4Various: Stereo Action Unlimited; RCA Victor LSA 2489; 1961

Wordless Chorus 45s

8Giorgio Moroder/Marks/Arabella: Mah-Na Mah-Na/Doo-Bee-Doo-Bee-Doo; Gema/Ariola 14431
4Bob Thompson: Angeltown/Carissima! (Darling)
8Pierre Umiliani: Mah-Na-Mah-Na/You Tried to Warn Me; Musicor/Ariel AR-500 (hit version of "Mah-Na-Mah-Na" not on LP)

Hyp Records is a 3-part guide:

Shop Hip Wax

Some items above may be available at
Hip Wax

Hyp Records Guide © 1996 Hip Wax