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The Penguins

Best known for their hit single "Earth Angel," the doo wop quartet the Penguins were never able to replicate the success of their only Top 40 hit, but the song nevertheless became a rock & roll classic. The Penguins formed in 1954, when the group's members -- Cleveland Duncan (lead tenor vocal), Curtis Williams (bass-baritone vocal), Dexter Tisby (tenor vocal), and Bruce Tate (baritone vocal) -- were all attending Fremont High School in Los Angeles, CA.

Although he wasn't the lead singer, Williams was the leader of the group. He learned "Earth Angel" from vocalist Jesse Belvin -- some sources claim that Williams wrote the song alone, others say he co-wrote the song with Belvin, while others claim Gaynell Hodge, a member of the doo wop group the Turks, wrote the song with the duo (in fact, Hodge won a lawsuit filed in 1956 that gave him a co-writing credit) -- and had the Penguins sing the song.

Around 1954, the Penguins signed with the local Los Angeles independent label Dootone Records. The group's first single was going to be the uptempo "Hey Sinorita," and the ballad "Earth Angel" was going to be the B-side. Upon the release of the single in the latter half of 1954, Los Angeles radio stations were receiving more requests for "Earth Angel" than "Hey Sinorita," and the song soon became the record's A-side. By the beginning of 1955, the single had scaled the national charts, spending three weeks at the top of the R&B charts and peaking at number eight on the pop charts.

For the next few years, the Penguins continued to record singles for Dootone Records. Shortly after the success of "Earth Angel," Tate left the group and Randolph Jones became their baritone vocalist. Around 1956, the Penguins left Dootone Records and signed with Mercury Records. After cutting some sides for Mercury, the group moved to Atlantic Records, where they had their second and final hit, "Pledge of Love," which climbed to number 15 on the R&B charts in the summer of 1957. That same year, the group released its only album, The Cool, Cool Penguins.

By 1959, the Penguins had returned to their hometown of Los Angeles; shortly after their relocation, they broke up. Over the next four decades, Cleveland Duncan led various incarnations of the Penguins through reunion tours and re-recordings of their hits. In 1963, Duncan, Tisby, and two new members recorded "Memories of El Monte," a song future Mothers of Invention members Frank Zappa and Ray Collins wrote specifically for the group; the single failed to make any impact. Duncan went back to leading new incarnations of the Penguins, while Tisby briefly joined the Coasters. Tisby subsequently retired from music and the other three members of the Penguins have since died, Tate in 1973, Williams in 1979, and Duncan in 2012. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: Art Laboe's Memories Of El Monte

1. Memories Of El Monte

2. Earth Angel

3. Lo Mucho Que Te Quiero

5. Heaven And Paradise

6. Keeper Of Dreams

7. Chapel Of Love

8. To Be Loved

9. Thinking Of You

10. Cherry Pie

11. I Think You've Got Your Fools Mixed Up

12. Pachuko Hop

14. Reasons

16. Eighteen With A Bullet

17. Sitting In The Park

18. You're Still A Young Man

19. You Cheated

20. Love You So

x

Track List: Doo Wop Pops (Volume One)

1. Sixty Minute Man

2. Money Honey

3. How Do You Kiss An Angel

4. The Glory Of Love

6. When You Dance

7. Lily Maebelle

8. Sh-Boom (Life Could Be A Dream)

9. Earth Angel (Will You Be Mine)

10. Gee

11. Count Every Star

12. Goodnite Sweetheart, Goodnite

x

Track List: Lowrider Oldies, Vol. 6

1. Darling Baby

2. Somebody Please

3. You Cheated

4. What's Your Name

5. Earth Angel

6. In The Rain

8. Color Him Father

9. I Guess That Dont Make Me A Loser

10. Where Lovers Go

11. Sixteen Candles

12. In The Still Of The Night

x

Track List: One Hit Wonders - A Group Effort

1. Earth Angel (Will You Be Mine)

2. Black Denim Trousers

3. Eddie My Love

4. Let The Good Times Roll

5. Peanuts

6. Buzz Buzz Buzz

7. Summertime, Summertime

8. I've Had It

9. So Fine

10. Mule Skinner Blues

11. Heart And Soul

12. Peanut Butter

13. A Little Bit Of Soap

14. I Need Your Lovin'

15. Pop Pop Pop Pie

16. Remember Then

17. The Cinnamon Cinder (It's A Very Nice Dance)

18. Rhythm Of The Rain

19. Sally Go Round The Roses

22. Who Do You Love

23. The Jerk

24. Cool Jerk

25. Psychotic Reaction

27. Next Plane To London

28. Lo Mucho Que Te Quiero

29. Gimme Gimme Good Lovin'

30. Morning Girl

x

Track List: The Best Of The Penguins: The Mercury Years

1. Earth Angel (Will You Be Mine) (Version #1)

2. Ookey Ook

3. Love Will Make Your Mind Go Wild

4. Hey Senorita

5. Don't Do It

6. It Only Happens With You

7. Walkin' Down Broadway

8. Be Mine Or Be A Fool

9. My Troubles Are Not At An End

10. Devil That I See

11. Promises, Promises, Promises

12. She's Gone, Gone

13. Dealer Of Dreams

14. Ice

15. Peace Of Mind

16. Cool Baby Cool

17. A Christmas Prayer

18. Jingle Jangle

19. Will You Be Mine

20. Earth Angel (Will You Be Mine) (Version #2)

21. The Sound Of Your Voice

x

Track List: The Golden Age Of American Rock 'N' Roll, Vol. 1

1. Denise

2. Sally Go Round the Roses

3. Mule Skinner Blues

4. Sixteen Candles

5. Pretty Little Angel Eyes

6. I Love How You Love Me

7. The Big Hurt

8. A Thousand Stars

9. Rockin' Robin

10. Earth Angel (Will You Be Mine)

11. Bongo Rock

12. Tossin' And Turnin'

13. My True Story

14. Stranded In The Jungle

15. Angel Baby

16. Party Lights

17. When We Get Married

18. Cindy's Birthday

19. Let's Dance

20. Who's That Knocking

21. Love You So

22. Cherry Pie

23. Since I Don't Have You

25. Since I Fell For You

26. Image Of A Girl

27. Smoky Places

29. A Little Bit Of Soap

30. Eddie My Love

x

Track List: The History Of Rhythm And Blues, Vol. 2

1. Hi-Yo-Silver

3. Don't Do It

4. Hey

5. Gotta Find My Baby

6. Later Baby

7. Baby, Let's Play House

8. Loving A Girl Like You

9. Go Back

10. Much Too Much

11. Boom, Boom

12. Lilly Maybelle

13. Fine As Wine

14. Honey From The Bee

15. Big Leg Mama

16. Salty Dog

17. Why Don't You Write Me

18. Hey Now

19. Angel Child

20. At My Front Door

21. I

22. The Last Of The Good Rocking Men

23. Red Hot

24. Bus

25. I'll Climb The Highest Mountain

x

Track List: Vocal Groups: Classic Doo Wop

Disc 1

2. Sweet Georgia Brown

3. Sweet And Slow

4. Swing Is The Thing

5. My Walking Stick

6. I'd Rather Drink Muddy Water

7. If I Didn't Care

9. Whispering Grass

11. That's The Rhythm

12. I Like Pie, I Like Cake

13. Milk Shake Stand

15. The Blues Can Jump

17. Hoe Cake, Hominy And Sassafras Tea

19. Wig Blues

20. Write Me A Letter

21. Around About Midnite

22. Ever Lovin' Slick

23. It's Too Soon To Know

24. Five O'Clock Blues

25. Jumping Jack

26. Rival Blues

Disc 2

1. Too Much Of A Little Bit

2. What's The Matter With You

3. Lemon Squeezing Daddy

4. Please Don't Leave Me

5. My Baby's Gone

6. How Could You

7. One More Time

8. Will You Be Mine

9. Sixty Minute Man

10. Make Me Thrill Again

11. Mary Jo

12. Ting-A-Ling

13. Stormy Weather

14. Eyesight To The Blind

15. The Glory Of Love

17. Good Googa Mooga

18. Just Walking In The Rain

19. I Wasn't Thinkin', I Was Drinkin'

20. Money Honey

21. Gee

22. I Found Out

23. A Sunday Kind Of Love

24. Get With It

Disc 3

1. Be Bop Wino

2. Feel So Good

3. Goodnite, Sweetheart, Goodnite

5. Tell Me

6. Big Leg Mama

8. Is It A Dream

11. Hearts Of Stone

12. Baby Let Me Bang Your Box

13. The Stars Are Out Tonight

15. Gloria

16. Riot In Cell Block No.9

17. Oop Shoop

18. Grief By Day, Grief By Night

19. What Do You Do

20. Mary Lee

23. Buick '59

24. Earth Angel (Will You Be Mine)

25. Newly Wed

Disc 4

1. Smokey Joe's Cafe

2. You Didn't Learn It At Home

3. Witchcraft

4. Chop Chop Boom

5. Rollin' Stone

6. No No Cherry

7. My Angel

8. I'm Leavin' (Clickity Clack)

9. The Door Is Still Open

10. That's Your Mistake

11. Baby Let's Play House

12. Be Bop Baby

14. Hug A Little, Kiss A Little

15. I Need You So

16. When You Dance

17. At My Front Door

18. Lonely Nights

19. Red Hots And Chili Mac

20. Bye Bye

21. A Story Untold

22. Don't Play No Mambo

23. Peace And Contentment

24. Nobody Knows

26. The Great Pretender

Comments

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THE DAY THE MUSIC DIED
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Love ritchie i feel bad for his death and his moms death one day i got a package and inside Was la bamba i saw the movie it Was so emotionial i even cryied at the end a few Days later i went where they buried him and his Mom Was buried next to him and right there i made a prayer for both of them
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Earth Angel, one of the best from the Doo Wop Era!!!
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arrowdave6
The names they used to come up with back then just kills me. The Penguins. Really? Must be some kind of a joke.
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mike3345mike
love your sounds ... in the seventies and still....
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Fremont high 1988 to all the vatos de califas de la efetrece brilloso maloso
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Ok ....im ..gone .....
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I love this song. The best of the Penguins.
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My troubles will end when I'm with you
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This group looks ridiculous when they are walking, but man can they swim.
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Earth Angel, Earth Angel eill you be mine..My darling dear...
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iPhone red
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Always
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Earth angel has been my favorite since I was a little girl play it more often
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Please be mine.
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In my opinion,eart h angel is the #2 record of all time
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Earth angel never gets old play it more often
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A classic. Much enjoyed
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Orale. !!!
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earth angel and in the still of the night is my favorite so much soul u can feel the love and heart in those songs
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Earth angel ill love you forever
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I love doo wop marie
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I love oldies and I Love God
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This is the song from bo2 zombies town
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We are not old ! We started it all !
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This is one of the great ones
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dadsown744
Love this music keeps me young!!
Walker
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Memories
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This was my music when I was a teenager.
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hilofab
My youth relived
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mpgpaw
Manson
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mpgpaw
Manzo n
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mpgpaw
Cubby chav
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If you don't like the music, gotta love the name lol
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I love the Moonglows, but this selection is not my favorite.
Why can't I pick the selection, instead of the group?
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I like to pick my music because I have found that cry baby, broken heart music brings my mood down. I was there once, but prefer not to be reminded of those dark days. Now I am in a strong, positive relationship with the woman of my dreams, and am in now mood to hear crybaby songs.


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I don't like the fact that when I punch in a selection, such as Earth Angel, Pandora comes out with another song which is supposed to be similar, but to me is not. I don't like that I can only choose a group, but not a song. There is no group that I like all of their songs. When you pick a song a machine called a Genome decides which music you will hear. I prefer to pick my own music, thank you. CDs are far superior to Pandora because you can hear WHAT you want to hear.
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Such great music
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Same background melody as Earth Angel.
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The 50s. And 60s.bring it back please.
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Got too be the fifties music.
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alvatex
My all-time 50s dance tune
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A true Doo Wop classic
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Love this song.
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Need a bio please.
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Love that Doo Wop!
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Of course 'Earth Ange'l is their seminal doo-wop anthem,the second most popular song (to 'In the Still of the Night by the 5 Satins) 'The great Penguins,had many good songs,althou g h only a few hits.'My troubles not at an end' is my favorite by them.Check out Amazon.com,a s they have a few excellent CD`S available featuring many of their great songs.
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The earth angel to be clear
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My mom use to sing me this song
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marvins39
r.i.p. cleve duncan
Show more

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