Cleve Duncan of the Penguins Passes Away

by Norm Gregory on November 8, 2012

in Music

UPDATED November 10, 2012

Cleveland “Cleve” Duncan, the lead singer for the Penguins, passed away this week at the age of 77. Little information is available on his death with some sources saying it occurred on Tuesday while he was at a voting machine and others saying that he died on Wednesday.

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(I am going with the story that the last thing Cleve did was vote for Barack Obama.)

From my upcoming bio . . .

I point to early 1955 as the time I fell head over heels for Earth Angel by an East Los Angeles group called The Penguins. This was the point in my life when I became a life long fanatic for rock / R&B music. (Or as Bruce Springsteen puts it “a prisoner of rock ‘n roll”). I can not explain why a middle class white kid (who had never seen, let alone knew, an African Americans) was so captured. But something very serious happened to me. To this day some 57 years later I watch this video a couple times a week. I am listening to it again right now and had to stop typing until the song was over.

Lead Singer Of The Penguins, Famous For “Earth Angel,” Dies While Casting Vote
Cleveland “Cleve” Duncan, lead vocalist for the highly influential doo wop group The Penguins, passed away Tuesday in Los Angeles while in the process of casting his vote in the US Presidential Election. He was 77. ● More:

Cleve Duncan, lead singer of the Penguins, dead at 77
Cleve Duncan, whose smooth lead voice made the Penguins’s “Earth Angel” into one of the most memorable and romantic songs of early rock ‘n’ roll, died this week at the age of 77. ● More: New York Daily News

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

1 ned neltner November 9, 2012 at 12:23 pm

Will you be mine? Everything you say here is mirrored in this Yakima boy’s past. Moved to Spokane, and Bubblehead Bob Hough used to pass me the R&B records thru the window at KNEW, because he knew damn well they weren’t gonna play, oh, “The Gong Gong Song” by the Ikettes.

2 Rudy Wilson November 11, 2012 at 7:07 am

Hi, I am a former member of the 1965 Penguins, along with Vera Walker. I was in total disbelief when i got the news.we coverd a lot of towns and states together. I will never forget all the good times. We spent a gang of hours, days, nights weeks, months and years on the road. I enjoyed every moment! I would like to find his sister Francis? My sympathy goes out to his family and all who loved Cleve, R.I.P. Mr EARTH ANGEL. Rudy Wilson 215-492 1337 any time

3 leon holston November 12, 2012 at 3:15 pm

as a member of the medallions.ive had the pleasure of attending parties and other events with this great singer.

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