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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: Earth Angel The Best Of The Penguins

1. Earth Angel

2. Hey Senorita

3. Ookey Ook

4. Do Not Pretend

5. Kiss A Fool Goodbye

6. Lover Or Fool

7. I Ain't Gonna Cry No More

8. Butterball

9. Baby Let's Make Some Love

10. Love Will Make Your Mind Go Wild

11. No There Ain't No News Today

12. Be My Lovin' Baby

13. If You're Mine

14. Cold Heart

15. Sweet Love

16. Let Me Make Up Your Mind

17. Money Talks

18. Heart Of A Fool

19. Want Me

20. That's How Much I Need You

21. You're An Angel

x

Track List: Doo Wop Legends: The Penguins

1. Dealer Of Dreams

2. Money Talks

3. Promises, Promises, Promises

4. I Ain't Gonna Cry No More

5. Let Me Make Up Your Mind

6. Cold Heart

7. If You're Mine

8. Jingle Jangle

9. That's How Much I Need You

10. The Sound Of Your Voice

11. I Knew I'd Fall In Love

12. Want Me

13. Butterball

14. She's Gone, Gone

15. Do Not Pretend

16. Ice

17. Love Will Make Your Mind Go Wild

18. My Troubles Are Not At An End

19. Don't Do It

20. A Christmas Prayer

21. Peace Of Mind

22. Heart Of A Fool

23. Pledge Of Love

24. Be My Loving Baby

25. Devil That I See

27. Be Mine Or Be A Fool

28. Baby Let's Make Some Love

29. It Only Happens With You

30. Cool Baby Cool

31. Hey Senorita

32. You're An Angel

33. Sweet Love

34. Walkin' Down Broadway

35. Lover Or Fool

36. Kiss A Fool Goodbye

37. Ookey Ook

Comments

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Will you.
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fiel225
Earth Angel reminds me of my dad
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The best song they did.love the way John did it .But the Penguins did it best
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My troubles will be at end when the time comes
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Great song by the Penguins
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Me M lunch aimed melody
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No Jersey
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wschmidt88
Hey, Somers. . Did you ever live inthe Mt. Union area and go to the VFWpost near Ft. Slocum area on a Friday night. If so,give me a hey.
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Trying with my Direct TV for Pandora (Golden oldies Glenn Miller etc
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Game starts at 7:00 I believe
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Have u had ur dinner
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BRIAN !! YES!! YES! NO CHOICE! DESTINY!! SEE I COULD SPELL ""YES"" I COULDN'T SPELL "KNOW !!
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Bring it on !!
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I WOULD YOU THINK I WOULD LEAVE YOU MIKE !! KISS! KISS!!
I AM COMING RIGHT OVER BABY !!HAVE THE DOOR OPEN !!
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il be waiting if your coming baby Mike love mimi
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I'm in love with you always be yours please don't leave me lonely baby Mike and mimi
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Amazing what one song can do It brings back memories some that you wish you could live over again. Other's late at night and you think of her or him.and you know that you made a mistake or the right move. I made the mistake
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Graet song
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I will always be yours we won't let anyone will interfere with our business Mimi mike
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?
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Wait... You knew the great Ritchie Valens
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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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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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