Gene Chandler

Duke of Earl

Composed by Bernie Williams / Earl Edwards / Eugene Dixon

Song Review by

"Duke of Earl" is either one of the last doo wop classics or a link between doo wop and early-'60s soul, depending upon how you look at it. Certainly Gene Chandler went on to do a lot more soul music than he did doo wop. Whatever the case, it was one of the most memorable and successful songs of 1962, reaching #1 on both the R&B and pop charts. Most listeners do remember it principally for the part of the song that's most doo woppish -- the unforgettable opening chant, in which a hoarse low voice repeats "Duke, Duke, Duke, Duke of Earl" in a classic descending doo wop melody. The voice almost sounds as if it's putting itself on, so quasi-dorky is its earnest repetition of a meaningless phrase. It's soon joined, however, by a whole chorus of singers harmonizing on the phrase. Those opening riffs are so strong, in fact, that they rather overwhelm the basic verses, in which Chandler croons like conceited royalty. Yet the chorus is almost as memorable as the opening riff, exploding into a jubilant yet haunting passage, ending with Chandler's exclamation "I'm the Duke of Earl." At that point, too, the bass singer counterpoints Chandler with some particularly appropriate stuttering "mum mum-mum"s. And so it goes for the rest of the song, but the several repetitions of the opening riff and chorus are classic enough to carry the day. Chandler does climb into some nice winding falsetto at some points too. Exactly who the Duke of Earl is isn't explained -- it's sufficient to note that he's a duke, and that nothing's going to stop him from making his girl his duchess. A classic fun if slightly silly song, the original arrangement of "Duke of Earl" is so distinctive that there haven't been many covers, although Curtis Mayfield and New Edition were among the more notable stars to try; oldies act Sha Na Na, unsurprisingly, also recorded it.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
The Duke of Earl [Vee Jay] 1962 Pazzazz 2:25
No Image 1976
Various Artists
MCA 2:11
Oldies But Goodies: Legendary Hits 1979
Various Artists
Original Sound Entertainment 2:23
Cruisin' 1962 1980
Various Artists
Increase Records 3:52
No Image 1984 Chess / MCA
Sock Hop [DCC] 1986
Various Artists
DCC Compact Classics 2:22
Giants of Rock 'N' Roll [Baur] 1987
Various Artists
Baur 2:30
Cruisin' Years 1988
Various Artists
6:48
American Rock 'N' Roll Classics, Vol. 6 1988
Various Artists
Roulette Records
No Image 1989
Various Artists
Rhino
Rock 'n' Roll Collection, Vol. 1 1989
Various Artists
OBJECT 2:30
History of Rock: The 60s, Pt. 3 1990
Various Artists
Collectables 2:25
Oldies But Goodies: 21 #1 Hits 1990
Various Artists
Original Sound Entertainment 2:19
Duke of Earl/Groovy Situation 1990 Collectables 2:31
Rock & Roll Originators 1990
Various Artists
JCI Associated Labels 2:16
Rhythm & Blues: 1962 1991
Various Artists
Time/Life Music
No Image 1992 Sound Solutions 2:26
Jukebox Giants: WCBS New York, Vol. 3 1992
Various Artists
Collectables 2:28
The Beach Music Anthology 1992
Various Artists
Ripete Records 2:22
Rock 'N' Roll Love Songs [Dino] 1993
Various Artists
Dino Entertainment 2:20
Vee-Jay: Celebrating 40 Years of Classic Hits 1953-1993 1993
Various Artists
Vee-Jay 2:27
Dick Clark's 21 All-Time Hits, Vol. 2 1994
Various Artists
Original Sound Entertainment
Greatest Hits 1994 Collectables 2:28
Nothing Can Stop Me: Gene Chandler's Greatest Hits 1994 Varèse Vintage / Varèse Sarabande 2:25
Fun Rock: Gold for the Road 1994
Various Artists
Compose Records 2:20
The R&B Box: 30 Years of Rhythm & Blues 1994
Various Artists
Rhino / Rhino/Warner Bros.
Only Rock 'N Roll 1960-1964: 20 Pop Hits 1995
Various Artists
Rhino / Essex / JCI Associated Labels 2:25
No Image 1995
Various Artists
JCI Associated Labels
Born to Be Wild, Vol. 4 [Madacy] 1995
Various Artists
Madacy Distribution / Madacy 2:20
CBS-FM Oldies 93: History of Rock, Vol. 2 1995
Various Artists
Collectables 2:24
Platinum Pop [Platinum Pop] 1995
Various Artists
Platinum Pop 2:19
Rock & Roll Party [K-Tel] 1995
Various Artists
Dominion / Guest Star 2:36
The Duke of Earl [Prime Cuts] 1995 Prime Cuts 2:18
The Golden Age of American Rock 'n' Roll, Vol. 5 1995
Various Artists
Ace 2:23
Tossin' & Turnin' 1996
Various Artists
K-Tel Distribution 2:35
Sixties Groovy Hits [1996] 1996
Various Artists
St. Clair / Boxsets 2:30
World of Rock N Roll 1996
Various Artists
ZYX Music 2:19
Rock & Roll: 60s Fever 1996
Various Artists
Madacy Distribution / Madacy 2:34
The Doo Wop Box, Vol. 2 1996
Various Artists
Rhino 2:29
I Love Beach Music, Vol. 1 & 2 1996
Various Artists
Ripete Records 2:22
No Image 1996
Various Artists
Out Of Control Records
Pop History: 1962 1996
Various Artists
ZYX Music 2:30
Sixties Generation: 1962 1997
Various Artists
St. Clair / Sixties Generation 2:20
Shape Fitness Music: Walk, Vol. 1: 60s Hits 1997
Various Artists
Power Records (Fitness/Dance) 5:06
20th Century Rocks, Vol. 6: '60s Rock N Roll - Tossin' and Turnin' 1997
Various Artists
K-Tel Distribution 2:23
Sun Jammin' 1997
Various Artists
Madacy 2:25
Greatest Rock & Roll Party, Vol. 2 1997
Various Artists
Great Hits 2:20
Rock n' Roll Reunion: Class of 62 1997
Various Artists
Madacy Distribution / Madacy 2:25
Brand New Bag: #1 60's Soul Hits, Vol. 3 1997
Various Artists
Relativity 2:27
Best Sellers of the 60's & 70's 1997
Various Artists
Best Music International 2:20
Whole Lotta Rock: 1960-1961 1997
Various Artists
BCI-Eclipse Distribution
Rock 'N Roll Relix: 1960-1969 1997
Various Artists
Eclipse Music Group 2:25
No Image 1997
Various Artists
Crimson Productions
The Greatest Rock & Roll Party Ever 1997
Various Artists
Disky 2:23
Greatest Hits of the 60's: 1962 1998
Various Artists
Eclipse Music Group 2:23
Great Voice of Soul [Rivie're Int'l] 1998
Various Artists
Riviere International Records
The Great Voice of Soul [Cleopatra] 1998
Various Artists
Cleopatra 2:19
#1 Hits: The 60's Decade 1998
Various Artists
Retro Music 2:20
East Side Story, Vol. 7 1998
Various Artists
East Side Records 2:25
60's Greatest Rock & Roll Hits 1998
Various Artists
Madacy Distribution / Madacy 2:25
Blue Moon: 26 Doo Wop Classics 1998
Various Artists
Crimson Productions 2:19
A Child's Celebration of Dance Music 1998
Various Artists
Rhino 2:27
Rock 'N' Roll Reunion 1998
Various Artists
Madacy 2:27
Greatest Hits of the 60's, Vol. 2 [Platinum Disc #2] 1999
Various Artists
Platinum Disc 2:20
60's Decade #1 Hits 1999
Various Artists
St. Clair / Boxsets 2:17
40 Hits: 1960-1964 1999
Various Artists
Millennium Hits (Netherlands) 2:20
The 60's Ultimate Collection, Vol. 2  [Box Set] 1999
Various Artists
Collectables
The Great Soul Classics 1999
Various Artists
Dressed To Kill 2:19
The Millennium's Greatest Hits, Vol. 1 1999
Various Artists
Collectables 2:34
Millennium Party Madness 1999
Various Artists
K-Tel Distribution 2:22
Rock N' Roll of the 60's, Vol. 1 1999
Various Artists
Madacy 2:25
Greatest Hits of the 60's, Vol. 5 2000
Various Artists
Platinum Disc Corp. / Platinum Disc 2:20
The Millennium's Greatest Hits, Vols. 1-2 2000
Various Artists
Collectables 2:34
Hot Hits: Rock N' Roll of the 60's 2000
Various Artists
Madacy Distribution / Madacy 2:25
The Official American Bandstand Library of Rock & Roll 2000
Various Artists
Atlantic 2:24
Oldies But Goodies, Vol. 2 [2000] 2000
Various Artists
Original Sound Entertainment 2:19
Sixties Generation: 1962-1963 2000
Various Artists
Boxsets 2:20
70 Ounces of Gold: Party Gold 2000
Various Artists
Compose Records 2:23
Teen Angel 2000
Various Artists
Direct Source 2:32
Rock Revival: Juke Box Jive 2000
Various Artists
Direct Source 2:33
Reverb Oldies 2000
Various Artists
Thump Records 2:22
Groovy Hits of the Sixties 2000
Various Artists
Direct Source 2:34
The Dawn of Rock N' Roll 2000
Various Artists
Direct Source 2:32
The 60's [K-Tel] 2000
Various Artists
Dominion / K-Tel Distribution 2:22
New Millennium Doo Wop Party 2000
Various Artists
Rhino 2:27
Rock 'n' Roll Great 2000
Various Artists
Dog 'n Roll 2:31
Vee Jay Rhythm & Blues: The Soul Era, Pt. 2 2000
Various Artists
Collectables 2:33
Forever Gold: The 60's Groovy Hits 2000
Various Artists
St. Clair 2:30
Life Under the Street Lamp 2000
Various Artists
Vital Sounds Entertainment/2K / 2K Sounds 2:19
Solid Gold Soul [Castle] 2000
Various Artists
Union Square Music 2:18
No Image 2000
Various Artists
Collectables
Duke of Earl (And All the Rest) 2001 Neon Records 2:17
Doo Wop Greats 2001
Various Artists
Goldies 2:18
Forever Gold: Doo Wop 2001
Various Artists
Castle Music Ltd. 2:19
Doo Wop, Vol. 3 [DW] 2001
Various Artists
Dw
60's Rock 2001
Various Artists
Madacy Distribution / Madacy 2:23
The Classic Rhythm & Blues Collection, Vol. 5: The Sixties 2001
Various Artists
Time/Life Music 2:22
20th Century Rocks: '60s Rock 'n Roll - Tossin' and Turnin' 2001
Various Artists
K-Tel Distribution 2:22
Soul Love, Vol. 2 [Dressed to Kill] 2001
Various Artists
Dressed To Kill 2:19
Then: Totally Oldies, Vol. 2 2001
Various Artists
Varèse Sarabande / Varese 2:28
Lowrider Oldies, Vols. 1-9: Cruisin' Chrome Series 2001
Various Artists
Thump Records 2:24
Three Decades of Soul 2001
Various Artists
Madacy Distribution / Madacy 2:25
The Sixties Groovy Hits [2002] 2002
Various Artists
Deuce Boxed Sets 2:30
Happy Days 50's & 60's 2002
Various Artists
Madacy Distribution 2:19
Jukebox Hits 1962 [Madacy] 2002
Various Artists
Madacy Distribution 2:23
Rock N' Roll Hits: Golden 1962 2002
Various Artists
Madacy 2:24
East Side Story, Vol. 1-12 2002
Various Artists
East Side Records 2:25
Golden Oldies, Vol. 9 [Original Sound 2002] 2002
Various Artists
Original Sound Entertainment 2:23
Rock and Roll Party [K-Tel] 2002
Various Artists
K-Tel / K-Tel Distribution 2:37
Vee-Jay: The Very Best of R&B 2002
Various Artists
Collectables 2:33
History of Rock, Vol. 1-10 2003
Various Artists
Collectables 2:35
Midnight Soul [Madacy] 2003
Various Artists
Madacy Distribution / Madacy 2:24
History of Rock Box 2003
Various Artists
Collectables 2:21
Lowrider Oldies, Vol. 1-3: Cruisin' Chrome Series 2003
Various Artists
Thump Records 2:24
60s Rock n' Roll 2003
Various Artists
Madacy 2:30
Old School Oldies 2003
Various Artists
Thump Records 2:22
Rock 'N' Roll Greatest Hits of the 60's 2003
Various Artists
Platinum Disc 2:20
Jukebox Rock [Direct Source] 2003
Various Artists
Direct Source 2:28
Billboard #1 Hits of the '60s 2003
Various Artists
Flashback Records / Rhino Flashback 2:25
All Your Rhythm & Blues Favorites [16 Tracks] 2003
Various Artists
K-Tel Distribution 2:24
Capital Gold: Rock & Roll Legends 2003
Various Artists
Virgin 2:21
Rock and Roll at Fifty: A Galaxy of Hits from Rock's First Decade 2003
Various Artists
Shout! Factory 2:31
Triple Value: Sixties 2003
Various Artists
Red X
Box of Rock 2003
Various Artists
Red X
Rock N' Roll Hits Of The 60s [Disc 1] 2003
Various Artists
Madacy 2:30
I Love Rock & Roll, Vol. 2 2004
Various Artists
Collectables 2:34
Doo Wop Favorites [Box Set] 2004
Various Artists
Madacy 2:28
Golden Era of Rock 'n' Roll: 1954-1963 2004
Various Artists
Hip-O 2:26
Happy Days of Rock 'n' Roll 60s [Bonus DVD] 2004
Various Artists
Madacy 2:28
Rock & Roll: The First 50 Years - The Early 60's 2004
Various Artists
Varèse Sarabande / Varese 2:27
Very Best of Platters and Doo-Woop 2004
Various Artists
Retro Music 2:20
No. 1 Love Songs of the 60's 2004
Various Artists
Pegasus (Pinnacle) 2:25
Rock & Roll's Greatest Hits, Vol. 1 2004
Various Artists
Collectables 2:34
60's Soul Sessions 2004
Various Artists
Union Square Music 2:24
Happy Days of Rock 'n' Roll 60s - Disc 1 2004
Various Artists
Madacy 2:28
The Only Doo-Wop Collection You'll Ever Need 2005
Various Artists
Shout! Factory 2:25
Smash Hits of the 60's 2005
Various Artists
K-Tel Distribution 2:25
Duke of Earl: The Very Best of the Vee-Jay Years 2005 Charly Records / Snapper 2:25
The 60's Pop Classics [Legacy] 2005
Various Artists
Legacy 2:22
The Best of Jukebox 2005
Various Artists
Disky / Disky Communications
Doo Wop, Vol. 3 [Platinum] 2005
Various Artists
Platinum Disc 2:24
#1 Hits of the 60's [K-Tel] 2005
Various Artists
K-Tel Distribution 2:22
Hit Radio Flashback, Vol. 1 2005
Various Artists
United Multi License 2:24
1960's Happy Days [2005 #3] 2005
Various Artists
Madacy Distribution / Madacy 2:27
Rock'n Roll Legends 2005
Various Artists
ZYX Music 2:24
Best of the 60's: Oh! What a Night/Love... 2005
Various Artists
BCI-Eclipse Distribution / Brentwood Records 2:24
Simply Rock 'N' Roll 2005
Various Artists
Union Square Music 2:26
Rock Around the Clock: 36 All Time Rock and Roll C 2005
Various Artists
Union Square Music 2:27
The Very Best of Sixties Soul 2005
Various Artists
K-Tel Distribution 2:25
K-Tel Presents: #1 Grooves of the '60s 2005
Various Artists
K-Tel Distribution 2:24
Oldies Forever 2005
Various Artists
Thump Records 2:22
Nothing But Number 1's of the USA 2005
Various Artists
K-Tel Distribution 2:23
Duke of Earl [P-Vine Japan] 2006 P-Vine Records
Golden Legends: Doo Wop Legends 2006
Various Artists
Madacy 2:27
Old School Oldies Set 2006
Various Artists
Thump Records 2:22
Collectables Classics [Box Set] 2006 Collectables 2:27
K-Tel Presents: In the Summertime 2006
Various Artists
K-Tel Distribution 2:24
30 Top Doo Wop Songs 2006
Various Artists
Direct Source 2:22
All #1 Hits '60s 2006
Various Artists
Madacy 2:25
100 Golden Oldies of the 50s, 60s & 70s 2006
Various Artists
Deja Vu 2:21
#1 Hits of the 50s and 60s [Madacy] 2006
Various Artists
Madacy 2:27
#1 Hits of the 50's and 60's [Madacy CD 2] 2006
Various Artists
Madacy 2:27
Greatest Doo Wop Hits 2007
Various Artists
Direct Source 2:23
Malt Shop Memories, Vol. 5 2007
Various Artists
Time/Life Music 2:32
Vee-Jay: The Definitive Collection 2007
Various Artists
Shout! Factory 2:27
Greatest #1 R&B Hits 2007
Various Artists
Direct Source 2:23
#1 Classic Hits of the 60s 1960-1964 2007
Various Artists
Madacy 2:24
Ultimate Collection: Hits of the 60s 2007
Various Artists
Direct Source Special 2:23
No Image 2007 Synergy Distribution 2:19
Doo Wop Love Songs 2008
Various Artists
Shout! Factory 2:29
Sweet Soul Music: 28 Scorching Classics From 1962 2008
Various Artists
Bear Family Records 2:32
Groovin' 60's [TGG] 2008
Various Artists
TGG 2:35
Rock 'N' Roll [Intro] 2008
Various Artists
Intro 2:25
No Image 2008
Various Artists
CMC Records 2:25
100 Hits of the 50s [Tring]
Various Artists
Tring 2:31
No Image
Various Artists
Arc Music
25 Rock 'N' Roll Hits, Vol. 2
Various Artists
Tring 2:19
Box of Rock [Disc 9]
Various Artists
Rajon Entertainment Pty Ltd. 2:35
De Pre Historie: 1961, Vol. 2
Various Artists
Eva 2:24
On the Charts: 1948 to 1972 - Blues, Soul, R&B and Rock 'n Roll
Various Artists
AMC
No Image
Various Artists
Warwick
No Image
Various Artists
SMG
Stand by Me Charly Records
No Image
Various Artists
Audio Fidelity
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