Monday, November 26, 2012

Earl "Speedo" Carroll of The Cadillacs Has Died

Earl "Speedo" Carroll (pictured second from right), lead singer with the Cadillacs and later a vocalist with the Coasters, passed away Sunday (November 25) in a New York nursing home at the age of 75. He had been in failing health battling a stroke an diabetes for the past year. 

Formed in Harlem as the Carnations in 1953, they named themselves after the luxury car before recording for New York's Josie Records in 1954. Their first recording, "Gloria," failed to chart that year but they reached #17 in 1956 with "Speedo," where Earl sang, "They often call me Speedo but my real name is Mr. Earl." Personnel problems led to two groups recording unsuccessfully for awhile before a re-formed Cadillacs charted with "Peek-A-Boo" (#28) in 1959. The follow-up, "Romeo," bubbled under at #105 later that year and the group never charted again. 

Earl left for awhile to form Speedo & the Pearls and left for good in 1961 to join the Coasters, apparently in time to sing "Little Egypt" (#23) with them. Even later he served as a custodian at a New York elementary school (retiring in 2005), but in later years sang with a re-formed Cadillacs on the oldies circuit. They were inducted into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 2004.