Saturday, July 23, 2011

The Penguins--Earth Angel (1954)

    Tenor Cleveland Duncan turns 76 today....

    The Penguins only had one hit on the pop charts, but what a song it was. Written by Jessie Belvin and Curtis Williams (who was a bass/baritone with the group), the group reached No. 8 on the charts (#1 on R&B). As was a common practice because of segregated radio, The Crew Cuts did their version and reached #1 in 1955. They signed a contract with Mercury (who wanted The Penguins)  as a 2 for 1 deal where the company received The Penguins and The Platters which were managed by the same guy. Ironically enough, The Platters did well, while after one top 20 R&B hit, never charted again. The group saw turnover through the years, but Cleveland Duncan was a constant and as of 2001 were still touring.  Interesting note: They named themselves after Willie the Penguin which was the cartoon advertising character for Kool cigarettes. (get it, the group is cool??).


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