The Phono Project

Exploring the history of the groove

“Earth angel (will you be mine)” by the penguins

“Earth Angel (Will You Be Mine)” is a beloved 50s classic known to many, even if the band behind it isn’t.  The Penguins, comprised of members Cleveland Duncan, Curtis Williams, Dexter Tisby, and Bruce Tate, released the track as a B-side in 1954 and it took off, getting more requests for radio play than the A-side that shared the same record.  It skyrocketed the band’s career, taking them from recording in a garage to multiple record deals.    

Although The Penguins were the ones who brought the hit to life, there’s controversy as to who actually wrote the song.  Some say Curtis Williams was the sole contributor to the tune, while others say he learned it from Jesse Belvin, or that the two co-wrote it. In another instance, Gaynell Hodge may have helped the duo.  Regardless of its origins, the song was a hit, and even if they could never replicate “Earth Angel’s” success, this was the song that cemented The Penguins in rock and roll history. 

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