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Fred Johnson, The Founding Member Of The Marcels, Dies At 80

By: KDKA-TV News Staff

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) - The founding member of the historic doo-wop group The Marcels, Fred Johnson, has died.

According to his publicist, Johnson died on March 31, surrounded by his family and friends.

Johnson founded the band in 1959 along with Cornelius Harp, Gene Bricker, Ron Mundy, and Richard Knauss here in Pittsburgh.

Sixty-one years ago, on April 3, 1961, the group released the song "Blue Moon" which overtook Elvis's "Surrender" on the top spot of the Billboard charts.


Since its release, the song has received several accolades including being featured in the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame's 500 Songs That Shaped Rock And Roll.

Johnson is survived by his sister, his seven children, several grandchildren, and one great-grandchild.

He was 80-years-old.

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