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Encyclopedia > The Penguins

The Penguins were an American Doo-Wop group of the 1950s and 60s, best remembered for their only top 40 hit, "Earth Angel", which was one of the first rhythm and blues hits to cross over to the pop charts. They were one of a number of Doo-Wop groups of the period named after birds (such as The Orioles, The Flamingos, and The Crows). Singers Cleveland Duncan, Curtis Williams, Dexter Tisby, and Bruce Tate, all students at Fremont High in Los Angeles, CA, formed the quartet in 1954. They broke up in 1959. Doo-wop is a style of vocal-based rhythm and blues music popular in the mid-1950s to the early 1960s in America. ... Earth Angel (Will You Be Mine) was a song that was the only top 40 hit for The Penguins. ... Rhythm and blues (or R&B) was coined as a musical marketing term introduced in the United States in the late 1940s by Jerry Wexler at Billboard magazine, used to designate upbeat popular music performed by African American artists that combined jazz and blues. ... The Orioles were an American R&B and doo-wop group, one of the earliest such vocal bands. ... The Flamingos were a doo wop group, popular in the mid to late 1950s. ... The Crows were one of the first doo wop groups in American history, and their one major hit, Gee (1953) was an important early rock and roll hit. ... This article is about the largest city in California. ... 1954 (MCMLIV) was a common year starting on Friday of the Gregorian calendar. ... 1959 (MCMLIX) was a common year starting on Thursday of the Gregorian calendar. ...


Cleve Duncan sang lead on "Earth Angel" and reprised his performance on Frank Zappa's "Memories of El Monte," (1964) an elegiac song in which he suddenly breaks into "Earth Angel" as one of the songs remembered. Frank Vincent Zappa (December 21, 1940 – December 4, 1993) was an American composer, guitarist, singer, film director, and satirist. ... Elegiac refers either to those compositions that are like elegies or to a specific poetic meter used in Classical elegies. ...


The Penguins released "Earth Angel", also done by the "white" group The Crewcuts in 1955 on Doo-Tone records. It was a cross between rhythm and blues and the new rock and roll played by white performers and enjoyed by teenagers. Cleve Duncan, the lead singer, made popular El Monte in the city near Los Angeles, which also featured performers like The 5 Satins, Tony Allan, Marvin and Johnny, The Shields and the Penguins. In early '60s, the group did a tribute to "(Memories of) El Monte". Those groups were emulated by the Penguins as part of the tribute to early days of rock and roll. The song "Hey Senorita" was released as the hit side but a radio dejay flipped the record over and the "B" side played "Earth Angel", which became popular. Also, the Penguins did the less popular "Love Will Make Your Mind Go Wild". The Crew-Cuts were a Canadian vocal quartet that made a number of popular records that charted in the United States of America. ... El Monte is a city located in Los Angeles County, California, United States. ...


External links

  • Biography of the Penguins

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