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Encyclopedia > The Platters

The Platters were a successful vocal group of the early rock and roll era. Their distinctive sound was a bridge between the pre-rock Tin Pan Alley tradition, and the burgeoning new genre. The act went through many personnel changes, with the most successful incarnation comprising lead tenor Tony Williams, David Lynch, Paul Robi, Herb Reed, and Zola Taylor. Rock and roll (also spelled Rock n Roll, especially in its first decade), also called rock, is a form of popular music, usually featuring vocals (often with vocal harmony), electric guitars and a strong back beat; other instruments, such as the saxophone, are common in some styles. ... Tin Pan Alley was the name given to the collection of New York City-centered music publishers and songwriters who dominated the popular music of the United States in the late 19th century and early 20th century. ... Tony Williams (April 5, 1928–August 14, 1992) was the lead singer for The Platters from 1953 to 1960. ... Zola Taylor (born 1934 in Los Angeles, California) is an American singer. ...

Contents

Band formation and early years

The Platters formed in Los Angeles in 1953 and were initially managed by Ralph Bass. The group had a contract with Federal Records but had found little success before meeting music entrepreneur and songwriter Buck Ram. Ram made some changes to the lineup, most notably the addition of lead vocalist Tony Williams and female vocalist Zola Taylor. Under Ram's guidance, the Platters recorded seven singles for Federal in the R&B/gospel style, scoring a few minor regional hits on the West Coast. One song recorded during their Federal tenure, Only You (And You Alone), originally written by Ram for the Ink Spots was deemed unreleasable by the label.[1] Federal Records was a sister label to King Records. ... Buck Ram (November 21, 1907 - January 1, 1991) was an American songwriter and businessman. ... Tony Williams (April 5, 1928–August 14, 1992) was the lead singer for The Platters from 1953 to 1960. ... Zola Taylor (born 1934 in Los Angeles, California) is an American singer. ... This article is about the song Only You (And You Alone). ... The Ink Spots were an American vocal group that helped define the musical genre that eventually became known as doo-wop. ...


Despite their lack of chart success, the Platters were a profitable touring group--successful enough that The Penguins, coming off their #2 Earth Angel single, asked Ram to manage them as well. With the Penguins in hand, Ram was able to parlay Mercury Records' interest into a 2-for-1 deal. In order to sign the Penguins, Ram insisted, Mercury also had to take the Platters. Ironically, the Penguins would never have a hit for the label. The Penguins were an American Doo-Wop group of the 1950s and 60s, best remembered for their only top 40 hit, Earth Angel, which was one of the first rhythm and blues hits to cross over to the pop charts. ... Earth Angel (Will You Be Mine) was an American pop song, originally released by The Penguins in 1954, as the B-side to Hey Señorita. It quickly outstripped the A-side in popularity and reached #8 on the Billboard chart. ... Mercury Records was a record label founded in Chicago, Illinois in 1945 by Irving Green, Berle Adams and Arthur Talmadge. ...


Charting hits

Convinced by his business partner Jean Bennett and Tony Williams that "Only You" had potential, Ram had the Platters re-record the song during their first session for Mercury. Released in the summer of 1955, it became the group's first Top Ten hit on the pop charts, and topped the R&B charts for seven weeks. The follow-up, The Great Pretender, with lyrics written in the washroom of the Flamingo Hotel in Las Vegas, exceeded the success of their debut. It became the Platters' first national #1 hit. The Great Pretender was also the act's biggest R&B hit, with an eleven-week run atop that chart. In 1956, The Platters appeared in the first major motion picture based around rock and roll, Rock Around the Clock, and performed both "Only You" and "The Great Pretender". Year 1955 (MCMLV) was a common year starting on Saturday (link displays the 1955 Gregorian calendar). ... // A record chart, also known as a music chart, is a method of ranking music according to popularity during a given period of time. ... The Great Pretender was a popular song by The Platters. ... Dancers Earl Barton and Lisa Gaye take the stage in Rock Around the Clock as Bill Haley and His Comets play in the background. ...


The Platters' unique vocal style had touched a nerve in the music-buying public, and a string of hit singles followed, including three further Hot 100 number one hits. The Platters soon hit upon the successful formula of updating older standards, such as My Prayer, Twilight Time, Harbor Lights, To Each His Own, If I Didn't Care and Jerome Kern's Smoke Gets In Your Eyes. This latter release caused a small controversy after Kern's widow expressed concern that her late husband's composition would be turned into a "rock and roll" record. It topped both the American and British charts in a tasteful Platters-style arrangement. The Platters were also the first rock and roll group to have a Top Ten album in America. The Billboard Hot 100 is the main singles chart used by Billboard magazine. ... Twilight Time was a hit song by The Platters during the 1950s. ... Harbor Lights is a popular song. ... To Each His Own is a 1946 film which tells the story of an unwed mother, following World War I, who gives up her son for adoption and loves him from afar. ... If I Didnt Care is a song written by Jack Lawrence that was originally sung by The Ink Spots. ... Jerome David Kern (January 27, 1885 – November 11, 1945) was an American composer of popular music. ... Smoke Gets In Your Eyes is a song written by American composer Jerome Kern and lyricist Otto Harbach for their 1933 Broadway musical Roberta. ...


The group was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1990 and into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in its inaugural year of 1998. The Platters were the only act to have three songs included on the "American Graffiti" soundtrack: "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes", "The Great Pretender" and "Only You (and You Alone)". The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame at sunset. ... Year 1990 (MCMXC) was a common year starting on Monday (link displays the 1990 Gregorian calendar). ... The Vocal Group Hall of Fame was organized to honor what they term the Greatest Vocal Groups in the World. The Hall of Fame is headquartered in Sharon, Pennsylvania, United States. ... Year 1998 (MCMXCVIII) was a common year starting on Thursday (link will display full 1998 Gregorian calendar). ... American Graffiti is a 1973 film directed by George Lucas. ... Smoke Gets In Your Eyes is a song written by American composer Jerome Kern and lyricist Otto Harbach for their 1933 Broadway musical Roberta. ... The Great Pretender was a popular song by The Platters. ... This article is about the song Only You (And You Alone). ...


Changing lineup

The group's lineup has changed many times. The original lineup in 1953 included lead vocalist Cornell Gunter, Herb Reed, Alex Hodge, Joe Jefferson, and David Lynch. This lineup changed when the group signed with Ram, who built the group around Tony Williams' voice and his ability to bring life to Ram's songs. Within a year, Hodge, Jefferson, and Gunter were out, and Paul Robi, Zola Taylor, and new lead Tony Williams were in. This lineup lasted until 1960. At that time Williams left for a solo career, and was replaced by Sonny Turner. Mercury refused to issue further Platters releases without Williams on lead vocals, provoking a lawsuit between the label and manager Ram. The label spent two years releasing old Williams-era material until the group's contract elapsed. Year 1953 (MCMLIII) was a common year starting on Thursday (link will display full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... Cornell Gunter (February 26, 1990–November 14, 1938) was an American rhythm and blues singer, most active in the 1950s and 1960s. ... Zola Taylor (born 1934 in Los Angeles, California) is an American singer. ... Tony Williams (April 5, 1928–August 14, 1992) was the lead singer for The Platters from 1953 to 1960. ... Year 1960 (MCMLX) was a leap year starting on Friday (link will display full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ...


As the group's lineup splintered further, endless wrangling over the lucrative "Platters" name began, with injunctions, non-compete clauses and multiple versions of the act touring at the same time. Williams would lead his own Platters group, as would Zola Taylor (who left in 1964) and Paul Robi (who departed in 1965). The Buck Ram Platters had the strongest contractual claim to the name, despite having only one original member (Herb Reed). Despite the confusion, "The Platters" lineup with lead vocalist Sonny Turner, Nate Nelson, David Lynch, Herb Reed and Sandra Dawn signed to Musicor Records and enjoyed a short chart renaissance in 1966-67, with the comeback singles I Love You 1000 Times ,With This Ring, and the Motown-influenced "Washed Ashore". Musicor Records was a New York City based record label, active during the 1960s and 1970s. ... With This Ring (January 21, 1951–March 11, 1951) was a prime-time panel show broadcast by the DuMont Television Network that featured engaged couples discussing marriage and marital problems. ...


Herb Reed, the final Platter, left in 1969. He would eventually lead an "official" Platters group under license from The Five Platters, Inc. Nelson filled Robi's vacancy in 1967 and stayed until suffering a fatal heart attack in 1984. Sonny Turner left in 1970 and was replaced by Monroe Powell. (Turner led his own Platters group starting in [[1970].) Powell remained a constant member from 1970 to 1995. That year, a dispute between Powell and owner/manager Jean Bennett (who had purchased Personality Productions, the booking/management arm of The Platters business, from Ram in 1966) led to the two parting ways. At the time, the group's lineup was in limbo, leaving one person, Kenn Johnson, as the only other group member. Powell and Johnson continued touring as The Platters, with Bennett hiring five new singers to be the "Buck Ram Platters," with lead Tyrone Sweet. Also: 1969 (Stargate SG-1) episode. ... 1970 (MCMLXX) was a common year starting on Thursday. ... Year 1995 (MCMXCV) was a common year starting on Sunday (link will display full 1995 Gregorian calendar). ...


A number of legal challenges have flown between the many groups of Platters. Monroe Powell was sued by Jean Bennett, and his group must now include his name in billing (e.g. The Platters feat. Monroe Powell). Those looking to hear the classic lineup of songs had their pick of approved, disputed, and ersatz Platters, such as Sonny Turner's, Zola Taylor's, Ritchie Jones' (member 1984-85), Milton Bullock's (member 1967-70), the late Paul Robi's (managed by his wife), Jean Bennett's "Buck Ram" Platters, Monroe Powell's , Herb Reed's, and several groups with no current ties to the original group (many had once contained former members, who were retired or deceased).


Recent history and consolidation

Shortly before Paul Robi succumbed to pancreatic cancer on February 1, 1989, he won a long court battle against Ram's estate and was awarded compensation and exclusive rights to the "Platters" name. In turn, those rights were later stripped from Robi's widow in 1997, and the exclusive right to tour as "The Platters" was awarded to Herb Reed. In 2002, Herb Reed's exclusive trademark rights were legally rescinded. A member of the 1954-69 lineup, his group still tours as Herb Reed's Platters. In 2007, he discussed the abundance of touring Platters groups: "I have to laugh because when you ask me how I feel about it, I'm irate, I'm infuriated... I've lost 25 weeks of work a year."


In January 2006, Jean Bennett, owner of Five Platters Inc., and Personality Productions since 1966, entered into an agreement to sell all of her Platters-related assets and intellectual property rights to the Las Vegas-based company G.E.M. Group, Inc. There was immediate disagreement between G.E.M. and Bennett, and a lawsuit was filed. In June 2006, G.E.M. Group entered into an agreement with Sonny Turner, former lead singer of The Platters, to be licensed as another of the "official" Platters groups. Turner, who had not been able to bill himself as Sonny Turner of The Platters since 1972 due to a legal injunction, became the leader of "The Platters starring the legendary Sonny Turner". He performs internationally under the management wing of G.E.M.


Hit singles

Release date Title Chart Positions
US Charts US R&B chart UK Charts Australia
7/55 "Only You" #5 #1 #5
11/55 "The Great Pretender" #1 #1 #5
2/56 "The Magic Touch" #4 #4
6/56 "My Prayer" #1 #1 #4
6/56 "Heaven on Earth" #39 #13
8/56 "You'll Never Never Know" #11 #9 #23
8/56 "It Isn't Right" #13 #10 #23
11/56 "On My Word of Honor" #20 #7
11/56 "One in a Million" #20 #7
2/57 "I'm Sorry" #11 #15 #18
2/57 "He's Mine" #23 #5
4/57 "My Dream" #24 #7
4/57 "I Wanna" #24
8/57 "Only Because" #65
12/57 "Helpless" #56
4/58 "Twilight Time" #1 #1 #3 #1
6/58 "You're Making a Mistake" #51
9/58 "I Wish" #42
9/58 "It's Raining Outside" #93
10/58 "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes" #1 #3 #1 #1
2/59 "Enchanted" #12 #9
5/59 "Remember When" #41 #25
9/59 "Where" #44
9/59 "Wish It Were Me" #61
1/60 "Harbor Lights" #8 #15 #11
1/60 "Sleepy Lagoon" #65
5/60 "Ebb Tide" #56
8/60 "Red Sails in the Sunset" #36
10/60 "To Each His Own" #21
1/61 "If I Didn't Care" #30
1961 "Trees" #62
7/61 "I'll Never Smile Again" #25 #17
1/62 "It's Magic" #91
4/66 "I Love You 1000 Times" #31 #6
11/66 "I'll Be Home" #97
2/67 "With This Ring" #14 #12
6/67 "Washed Ashore" #56 #29
10/67 "Sweet, Sweet Lovin'" #70 #32

The Billboard Hot 100 is the United States music industry standard singles popularity chart issued weekly by Billboard magazine. ... The UK Singles Chart is currently compiled by The Official UK Charts Company (OCC) on behalf of the British record industry. ... This article is about the song Only You (And You Alone). ... The Great Pretender was a popular song by The Platters. ... My Prayer is a popular song. ... Twilight Time was a hit song by The Platters during the 1950s. ... Smoke Gets In Your Eyes is a song written by American composer Jerome Kern and lyricist Otto Harbach for their 1933 Broadway musical Roberta. ... Harbor Lights is a popular song. ... Ebb Tide is a popular song, written in 1953 by lyricist Carl Sigman and composer Robert Maxwell. ... Red Sails in the Sunset is a popular song. ... If I Didnt Care is a song written by Jack Lawrence that was originally sung by The Ink Spots. ... Its magic Written by Pilot-Sung by ELO(electric light Orchestra) Oh, Oh, Oh, Its magic, you know Never believe its not so Its magic, you know Never believe, its not so Never been awake Never seen a day break Leaning on my pillow in...

External links


  Results from FactBites:
 
The Platters - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (626 words)
The Platters were a very successful doo wop group, formed in 1953.
The Platters are still known as one of the most romantic doo wop groups.
Taylor was replaced in 1964; she would later lead a Platters group as well.
The Platters (984 words)
The Platters were founded Los Angeles, California in 1953, the same year original members Tony Williams, David Lynch, Alex Hodge, and Herb Reed were signed by manager Buck Ram to Federal Records.
Taylor led a colorful life, but the world wasn't prepared for her 1984 confession that she had an affair with the thirteen year old Frankie Lymon beginning in 1956 while the Platters and the Teenagers were on tour together.
The Platters were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1990.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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