Passings: Curtis Lee (1939 - 2015)

Curtis Lee, who went to the top ten in 1961 with Pretty Little Angel Eyes, died on Thursday while visiting doctors in San Diego. The Yuma, Arizona resident was there for a consultation on the cancer that he had been battling for some time. He was 75.

Lee was born in Yuma to a musical family and was involved in singing in the church from an early age. It was while performing in a Tuscon, AZ club that he was seen by Ray Peterson (Tell Laura I Love Her) who signed him to his new label, Dunes Records.

While at Dunes, Lee met Tommy Boyce (later of Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart) and the two wrote Pretty Little Angel Eyes which, with the help of Phil Spector's production, became his third single for the label. It caught on with radio and went to number 7 in the U.S.

Lee's followup, Under the Moon of Love, fared worse, only going to 46. It was the last record of Curtis' that made the charts although he released five more singles on Dunes along with one each for Coda and Mira in 1967.

Lee soon left the music business and went home to Yuma where he became a very successful builder in the family business Lee Homes LLC. According to the Yuma Sun, he also was a former member of the Yuma Southwest Contractors Association and was instrumental in bringing Pop Warner football to the city along with other community activities.

Lee is survived by his wife, Lydia Lee, four children, five grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.


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