Joe Terry, of Philly music legend Danny and the Juniors, dead at 78

David Madden
April 16, 2019 - 2:12 pm
Frank Maffei and Joe Terry

Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia

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WASHINGTON TWP, N.J. (KYW Newsradio) — Another piece of Philadelphia’s musical legacy is gone with the passing of Joe Terry, a founding member of the '50s and '60s rock group Danny and the Juniors. Terry passed away in his South Jersey home at the age of 78.

He was Joe Terranova when he joined the group and they recorded "At the Hop," their first major hit in 1957.

By that time, broadcast legend Jerry Blavat had pivoted from his American Bandstand days to become the group’s road manager.

"We did the Alan Freed Show at the Paramount, and then we went on the road with Buddy Holly, Paul Anka, the Everly Brothers," the Geator said. "And imagine four kids and a guy like me. And I was younger than they were handling all of their business."

And retired WOGL music director Tommy McCarthy, a friend of Terry, remembered how that first hit came to be.

"'At the Hop' was originally called 'Do the Bop,'" McCarthy said. "And when they recorded that and they brought it to Dick Clark and he listened to it, he said, 'Well, you know the Bop is really starting to fade as a dance.' He says, 'I think you should change it to "At the Hop," because all the kids go to record hops.'"

The group’s national tour led to their second hit, "Rock and Roll is Here to Stay," considered an anthem of sorts of that era.

Terry took over lead singing duties in 1983 when Danny Rapp passed away. The group, with different members, continued performing off and on.

Ironically, Blavat says a concert next month with the Philly Pops will highlight the city’s music from back in the day. He had asked Terry to take part, but his declining health prevented that.

Funeral arrangements have not been announced.

The Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia recorded an interview with Terry and colleague Frank Maffei in 2016.