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The leading R&B vocal group of the 1950s, whose silken, heartfelt vocals helped them become a major crossover act.
On April 5, 1928 was born Tony Williams of The Platters, He passed away on August 14, 1992.
On August 7, 1928, was born Herb Reed (August 7, 1928 - June 4, 2012), bass singer with American doo-wop group The Platters who had four No.1s in the late 50's: The Great Pretender, My Prayer, Twilight Time and Smoke Gets in Your Eyes. The Platters were a leading R&B vocal group of the 1950s, whose silken, heartfelt vocals helped them become a major crossover act.
On July 3, 1929, was born David Lynch of The Platters, (1959 UK & US No.1 single 'Smoke Gets In Your Eyes'). Lynch died of cancer on 2nd January 1981.
On August 20, 1931, was born Paul Robi of The Platters. He died of cancer on February 1, 1989.
On January 19, 1959, The Platters' song, 'Smoke Gets In Your Eyes', started a three week run at No.1 on the US singles chart. The Platters were a leading R&B vocal group of the 1950s, whose silken, heartfelt vocals helped them become a major crossover act.
On August 14, 1992, dies Tony Williams, lead singer with The Platters, in his sleep of emphysema aged 64. He sang most of the group's hits up until 1961 when he was replaced by Sonny Turner. Had the 1959 UK & US No.1 single 'Smoke Gets In Your Eyes'.
On June 4, 2012, dies Herb Reed, bass singer and founder member with American doo-wop group The Platters at age 83. The Platters scored four No.1's in the late 50's: The Great Pretender, My Prayer, Twilight Time and Smoke Gets in Your Eyes. Reed is credited with coming up with the group's name - inspired by disc jockeys who referred to their records as "platters".
The Platters started out as a Los Angeles-based doo wop group with little identity of their own to make them stand out from the pack. They made their first records for Federal, a subsidiary of Cincinnati's King Records. These early sides don't sound anything like the better-known sides that would eventually emerge from this group, instead merely aping the current R&B trends and styles of the day. What changed their fortunes can be reduced down to one very important name: their mentor, manager, producer, songwriter, and vocal coach, Buck Ram. Ram took what many would say were a run-of-the-mill R&B doo wop vocal group and turned them into stars and one of the most enduring and lucrative groups of all time. By 1954, Ram was already running a talent agency in Los Angeles, writing and arranging for publisher Mills Music, managing the Three Suns -- a pop group with some success -- and working with his protégés, the Penguins. The Platters seemed like a good addition to his stable.
After getting them out of their Federal contract, Ram placed them with the burgeoning national independent label Mercury Records (at the same time he brought over the Penguins following their success with "Earth Angel"), automatically getting them into pop markets through the label's distribution contacts alone. Then Ram started honing in on the group's strengths and weaknesses. The first thing he did was put the lead vocal status squarely on the shoulders of lead tenor Tony Williams. Williams' emoting power was turned up full blast with the group (now augmented with Zola Taylor from Shirley Gunter & the Queens) working as very well-structured vocal support framing his every note. With Ram's pop songwriting classics as their musical palette, the group quickly became a pop and R&B success, eventually earning the distinction of being the first black act of the era to top the pop charts. Considered the most romantic of all the doo wop groups (that is, the ultimate in "make out music"), hit after hit came tumbling forth in a seemingly effortless manner: "Only You," "The Great Pretender," "My Prayer," "Twilight Time," "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes," "Harbor Lights," all of them establishing The Platters as the classiest of all.
Williams struck out on his own in 1961 and, by the decade's end, the group had disbanded with various members starting up their own version of The Platters. This bit of franchising now extends into the present day, with an estimated 125 sanctioned versions of "the original Platters" out on the oldies show circuit.
"Honor the past, don't just remember it." Dizzie Gillespie
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