July 23, 1935 – November 7, 2012
Cleve Duncan was a founding member of popular 50’s doo-wop group, the Penguins. Formed with Curtis Williams, Dexter Tisby, and Bruce Tate while Duncan was still in high school, the group released its first record on Dootone Records in 1954. The single was “Hey Senorita” with the Duncan-sung “Earth Angel” sitting on its b-side. But when an unknown disc jockey flipped the 45 over and played “Earth Angel,” the phones lit up and other radio stations soon followed suit. In the early weeks of 1955, the record hit #1 on the pop charts and stayed there for three weeks. Years later, Frank Zappa had Duncan reprise the popular chorus on his record, “Memories Of El Monte.” The Penguins’ only other hit came with “Pledge of Love” in 1957. That record peaked at #15 on the R&B chart. The group broke up on in 1962, but Duncan continued on with various incarnations well into the 2000s. The Penguins were inducted into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 2004. On November 7, 2012, Cleve Duncan, 77, reportedly died unexpectedly while casting his vote in the Presidential Election Cause of death was not immediately release.
Thanks to Craig Rosen at Number 1 Albums for the assist.