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Robert Fontenot

Earl Carroll of Doo-Wop pioneers The Cadillacs dies at 75

By November 28, 2012

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Earl "Speedo" Carroll, lead singer of pioneering doo-wop group The Cadillacs, died on Sunday in his native New York City at the age of 75 from the effects of a stroke and a longtime battle with diabetes. The Cadillacs had a major R&B hit in the mid-'50s with the glorious "Gloria," but Carroll's claim to fame came with their next smash, "Speedoo" (sic), a classic uptempo doo-wop number that came about when another band member compared Carroll's pointyish head to a torpedo at an armory. This being R&B, the name "Speedo" was soon altered to indicate the speed of his pick-up lines. "Mr. Earl" stayed with the group for awhile, then joined The Coasters in the early '60s; two decades later, when asked to reform the Cadillacs for a car commercial, he did, and led them around the world for another twenty years. Most remarkably, he did it while serving a weekday gig as custodian for PS 87 public school in Manhattan, a job he held and loved dearly from 1982 to 2005.

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