Produced by Dootsie Williamsit was released as their debut single in October on Dootone Records. The Penguins had formed the year prior and recorded the song as a demo in a garage in South Los Angeles.
The song's origins lie in multiple different sources, among them songs by Jesse BelvinPatti Pageand the Hollywood Flames. Its authorship was the subject of a bitter legal dispute with Williams in the years following its release.
Although the song was going to be overdubbed with additional instrumentation, the original demo version became an unexpected hit, quickly outstripping its A-side.
The song grew out of Southern California and Marvin berry earth angel across the United States over the winter of — A cover version by white vocal group the Crew-Cuts peaked higher on the pop charts, reaching number three. The Penguins' only hit, it eventually sold in excess of 10 million copies.
The original recording of the song remained an enduring hit single for much of the s, and it is now considered to be one of the definitive doo-wop songs.
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Init was one of 50 recordings chosen by the Library of Congress to be added to the National Recording Registrydeeming it "culturally, historically, or aesthetically important. The song echoes Marvin berry earth angel Angel" in its melodic refrain: Hodge later noted that the group lifted the bridge from that song for "Earth Angel". Duncan's vocal range spans from F 3 to G 4. Although it was an unfinished demo, "Earth Angel" began to see immediate success.
Williams carried a rough acetate dub with him to Dolphin's of Hollywood All Night Record Shop, a local record store, to gauge shop owner John Dolphin Marvin berry earth angel opinion.
The song has continued to sell multiple decades after its release;  infor example, Marvin berry earth angel was still selling thousands of copies per week around the world.
Group members later engaged in a dispute with Dootsie Williams regarding royalties. Ram had directed the group to Mercury, slyly using his power as a representative to get another L. A court decision found this contract was invalid as three of the four members of the group were minors at the time of their signing. Dootone countersued, claiming Mercury induced the group to break their Dootone contract and for taking the publishing rights of "Earth Angel".