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Passings / John E. Carter

R&B tenor was in Dells, Flamingos

August 24, 2009|Times Wire Reports

John E. Carter, R&B lead tenor and two-time inductee into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, died Friday at Ingalls Memorial Hospital in his hometown of Harvey, Ill. He was 75 and had lung cancer.

Carter, known for his falsetto, was the last surviving founding member of the doo-wop group the Flamingos, which gained fame with such hits as "Golden Teardrops" and their reworking of the pop classic "I Only Have Eyes for You."

Carter, who was born June 2, 1934, left the Flamingos the first time in 1957 to do military service and left permanently in 1960 to join the Dells, which had been formed in the early 1950s by some of his high school friends.

The Dells' 1954 breakout hit, "Oh What A Night," sold more than a million records when it was reissued in 1969 with Carter on falsetto lead. The Dells were used by Robert Townsend as a basis for his movie "The Five Heartbeats."

The Dells performed publicly for one of the last times in 2004, when they did an outdoor concert in downtown Chicago to celebrate their induction that year into the hall of fame.

The Flamingos were inducted in 2001.

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