THE Platters History
The year is 1953, the place Los Angeles, California. It is here a recently discharged young Army veteran named Herb Reed recruited Cornell Gunther, Joe Jefferson and Alex Hodge to form a vocal quartet he would eventually name The Platters. The name came from the metal disk, or “platters,” that rotate vinyl records and facilitate the playing of recordings on the turntable of a phonograph. These four men were The “original” Platters.
HERB REED - CORNELL GUNTHER - ALEX HODGE - JOE JEFFERSON
After a failed attempt at recording Only You (and You Alone) on Federal Records in 1954, Jefferson, Gunther and Hodge left the group and were immediately replaced by Tony Williams, David Lynch and Paul Robi. That same year, Zola Taylor joined becoming the first female vocalist to break through the gender divide as part of an all-male vocal group. This second lineup of the newly formed quintet is often mistakenly referred to as the “original Platters.”
L to R: HERB REED - DAVID LYNCH - TONY WILLIAMS - ZOLA TAYLOR - PAUL ROBI
That same year, The Platters worked with music producer, acclaimed song writer and artist manager Buck Ram to sign a major deal with Mercury Records. It was then that the trendsetting group re-recorded Only You (and You Alone), launching them onto the national stage, but it was reportedly done in error.
As the story goes, a popular U.S. DJ of the time named Alan Freed accidentally played the single on air during a "prime" time that was traditionally reserved for only "white artists.” The romantic ballad, based on the then groundbreaking Tin Pan Alley sound, became an instant hit with the public and would eventually reach number five on the pop charts, pioneering the “new sound” of rock ’n’ roll as we know it today.
The follow-up single, The Great Pretender, propelled The Platters to the number one position on the pop charts, providing the launch pad for their meteoric rise as crossover artists. As a result, The Platters became the first African-American group to achieve international superstardom. Through their recordings and performances, Reed and the other members made The Platters famous and of major importance in the music industry. They were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1990 and the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 1998.
Only You (and You Alone) and The Great Pretender were later named songs of the century and entered in the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1999 and 2002 respectively. The Platters enjoyed great success, charting several number one hits during the 1950s and 1960s.
Litigation involving The Platters trademark has been ongoing for more than half a century, due to the proliferation of fake “Platters” groups and individuals falsely claiming to be “Platters.” This paved the way for a plethora of legal battles over control of the name and rights to the iconic quintet. Competing versions of so-called “Platters” groups sprang up worldwide with unscrupulous identity thieves trying to cash in on The Platters historical success.
The public was consistently deceived and misled for years until 2010 when Reed and his manager, Frederick J. Balboni, Jr., hired Eric Sommers, an East Coast intellectual property litigator, to stop the myriad identity thieves from preying on the public.
Producer - Manager - Trademark Holder