The Cadillacs were a "doo-wop" group that formed (as The Carnations) in New York City's Harlem area in 1953, with Earl Carroll as lead vocalist. The group almost immediately started going through personnel changes, a problem that would plague it for many years (at one time Teddy Pendergrass joined the group, eventually leaving to join Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes).

In 1955 they recorded their biggest hit, "Speedo", which was lead singer Carroll's nickname and was instrumental in attracting White audiences to Black rock and roll performers.