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Curtis Lee Dies at 75

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We bring sad news from the early rock ‘n’ roll era, with the passing of Curtis Lee at 75. Best known for his 1961 Top 10 hit ‘Pretty Little Angel Eyes,’ Lee died on Thursday in San Diego after a long battle with cancer.

A resident of Yuma, Ariz., Lee was discovered at a Tuscon club by Ray Peterson of ‘Tell Laura I Love Her’ fame, who signed him to his own Dunes Records. Together with Tommy Boyce, later of Boyce and Hart, Lee wrote ‘Pretty Little Angel Eyes.’ The addition of Phil Spector‘s patented production sent the track to No. 7.

Lee would release five more singles on Dune, including the No. 46 charter ‘Under the Moon of Love,’ before leaving for Coda and Mira. He also toured with music legends like Jerry Lee Lewis, Jackie Wilson and Ricky Nelson before returning home to Yuma, where he met his future wife of 51 years, Lydia. Lee then joined his father’s home-building business.

He will be remembered “not only as a local boy who made it big but as a true family man who believed in the small-town values and roots,” Lee’s daughter Stephanie Lee-Howell told his hometown newspaper. “He was proud of Yuma and being part of the community.”

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