‘The Book of Love,’ The Monotones

Monotones

The cover of a Monotones compilation album.

There must have been a million doo-wop bands in Newark, Jersey City, Camden and New Jersey’s other urban areas in the late 1950s. One of the few who broke through, though, was the poorly named but great-sounding sextet The Monotones, who formed in Newark’s Baxter Terrace housing project and got their start singing in New Hope Baptist Church, along with Cissy Houston and Dionne Warwick.

Their buoyant “The Book of Love” — which asks the eternal question, “Who wrote the book of love?” — made the Top 10 in 1958, and remains one of the most indelible hits of the Doo-Wop Era.

Their success was short-lived. They never had another hit, and disbanded in 1962. Various comebacks brought new versions of the group to the oldies circuit, though, into the 1990s.

“The Book of Love” was sung by Warren Davis, Charles Patrick, George Malone, Frankie Smith and the brothers John and Warren Ryanes. There was also a seventh original Monotones member, Patrick’s brother James, but he left before “The Book of Love” became a hit.

Below is a great clip of the band lip-synching the song on the ABC television show,”Dick Clark’s Saturday Night Beechnut Show.”

New Jersey celebratedits 350th birthday in 2014. And in the 350 Jersey Songs series, we markedthe occasion by posting 350 songs — one a day, from September 2014 to September 2015 — that have something to do with the state, its musical history, or both. To see the entire list, clickhere.

5 thoughts on “‘The Book of Love,’ The Monotones

    • I wrote this three and a half years ago, so I’m not sure why I wrote that, but I can find no evidence now that he has died, so I have changed copy to reflect that. Thanks for bringing this to my attention.

  1. I am the daughter of Warren Ryanes of the Monotones. I remember a camera crew coming out and interviewing several members of the group as a young child. I have been desperately searching for the tape with no success. Please help!!!

    • Hi Nina,

      I am the niece of Warren Davis and would love to interview for something I am writing. My daughter is also working on a documentary which will expand. I have some memorabilia from The Monotones at Baxter Terrace. I would love to connect. Perhaps the website owner can connect us?

      Adrienne

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