Curtis Williams was a member of vocal group The Hollywood Flames formed in Watts, Los Angeles in 1949. However, in late 1953 he decided to form a new group called The Penguins – one of a number of doo-wop groups named after birds.
Their first single Hey Senorita (1954), was flipped by DJs and it was the B-side Earth Angel that became a hit. It topped the R&B chart for three weeks early in 1955 and peaked at #8 on the pop chart.
As was common at the time, a white vocal group The Crew-Cuts covered Earth Angel and their version went to #3.
After the success of Earth Angel, The Penguins approached talent promoter Buck Ram to become their manager. He was primarily interested in managing The Platters who had not yet hit the charts, but with The Penguins he could offer Mercury Records a 2-for-1 deal.
However, the Penguins never repeated their success on the charts and broke up in 1962.
Soon former member Cleveland Duncan put together a new group he called The Penguins and toured. At times called The Fabulous Penguins, the group continued to tour with various line-ups until 2012 when Cleveland Duncan died at the age of 77.