Cleve Duncan, whose plaintive tenor captured th
e heartache of teen love in the enduring 1954 doo-wop hit “Earth Angel,” died Nov. 7 in Los Angeles. He was 78.
A spokeswoman for the Inglewood Park Cemetery Mortuary confirmed his death but could not provide the cause.
“Earth Angel,” which reached No. 1 on rhythm and blues charts, was the only hit for the doo-wop act that Duncan fronted, the Penguins. But what a hit. “Earth Angel” sold millions of copies through the decades, has been repeatedly covered by other bands and been used in movie soundtracks as a nostalgic evocation of post-World War II youth culture.
“Earth angel,/Earth angel/Will you be mine/My darling dear/Love you all the time/I’m just a fool,/A fool in love, with you”
“It was the first of the ultra-romantic ballads that hit the nerve of teens at the time — one of them being me,” said Steve Propes, an author and music historian. “It stood out because of the sincerity of the delivery.”
“Earth Angel” also had crossover appeal — it reached No. 8 on the Billboard pop chart, a sign of the significant role rhythm and blues was playing in the emergence of rock ‘n’ roll.
“It was one of the pioneering songs of its day,” said Tom Reed, a former disc jockey and music historian.
Bobby Brown pleads not guilty to DUI in L.A.
LOS ANGELES — A lawyer for Bobby Brown has entered not guilty pleas to drunken driving and other charges faced by the R&B singer after his arrest last month in Los Angeles.
City attorney’s spokesman Frank Mateljan (mah-TEHL’-jin) says the pleas were entered Friday. Brown’s case is scheduled for its next hearing on Dec. 13.
The 43-year-old is the former husband of Whitney Houston.
E-mails shed light on CIA scandal figure
TAMPA, Fla. — When Tampa radio personality Bubba the Love Sponge said he would “deep fat fry a Quran” in response to deadly protests against U.S. troops for the accidental burning of the Muslim holy book in Afghanistan, Jill Kelley was on it.
“I just got off the phone with Gen. Allen and Adm. Harward,” the Tampa socialite e-mailed the mayor of Tampa in March, referring to Gen. John R. Allen, commander of NATO forces in Afghanistan, and Vice Adm. Robert S. Harward, deputy commander of U.S. Central Command. Kelley wrote that Allen and David H. Petraeus, then-CIA director, were “emailing me about getting this dealt with.”
Kelley now is at the center of the scandal that forced Petraeus to resign and has threatened Allen’s career. Her eagerness to help resolve the Bubba the Love Sponge problem was another reflection of how close she had grown to top U.S. military officials at MacDill Air Force Base, and how she has used those connections to gain special privileges.
The case has veered from tragedy to farce, but it grew downright bizarre Friday when the White House acknowledged that Kelley had used her connections to arrange three visits to the White House complex in the past six weeks. The most recent was a tour for her family on Nov. 4, five days before Petraeus resigned as CIA director after admitting an extramarital affair with his biographer, Paula Broadwell. The affair came to light after Kelley told an FBI agent about harassing e-mails she’d received from Broadwell.