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May 12, 2004

Rudy Maugeri, co-founder of the 1950s doo-wop group The Crew-Cuts and co-writer of the hit "Crazy 'Bout Ya Baby," has died. He was 73. Magueri, who sang lead vocals on the band's hit cover of "Earth Angel," died Friday of cancer at his home in Las Vegas, said longtime band manager George Brown.

The Crew-Cuts band was formed in the early 1950s by a group of friends who grew up together in Toronto, Canada. "Crazy 'Bout Ya Baby" was released in 1954 and quickly climbed the charts. The song is immortalized in the Broadway show "Forever Plaid." After signing with Mercury Records, The Crew-Cuts recorded a series of rock 'n' roll versions of R&B songs. While the practice of white artists covering songs by black artists would draw criticism in later years, the group's version of the Chords' "Sh-Boom" began a string of Top 10 hits.

"We were taking black music and giving it that white twist," said group member John Perkins, 72. The rest of the group included Perkins' brother, Ray, and Pat Barrett. The group's "Earth Angel" was a cover of The Penguins' song and also reached the top of the charts. Other hits included "Gumdrop," "Angels in the Sky" and "Ko-Ko-Mo (I Love You So)." The group performed in the United States, Canada, Europe and Asia. After the band broke up in 1964, Maugeri worked in broadcasting with radio stations in New York and Los Angeles. Maugeri and his wife of 43 years, Marilyn, moved to Las Vegas about 25 years ago.

Posted by acapnews at May 12, 2004 8:18 AM

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