SINCE 1953: A Legacy In Motion
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Multiplatinum, Rock and Roll, Vocal Group and Grammy Halls of Fame member, The Platters, were originally comprised of founder and naming member Herb Reed, Tony Williams, Zola Taylor, Paul Robi, and David Lynch.
In 1955, the quintet crashed through the racial divide that existed in the United States paving the way for them to become one of the preeminent vocal groups of all time.
The Platters debut hit single “Only You (and You Alone)” that launched the vocal group as superstars on the world stage was actually done in error.
A popular US DJ named Alan Freed accidentally played their Mercury Records single on-air during a "prime" time that was traditionally reserved for "white artists."
The 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 thus igniting the sound of rock and roll as we know it today.
Soon after their debut at the top of the charts, The Platters released “The Great Pretender,” which propelled them to number one, providing the launch pad for their meteoric rise as crossover artists.
As a result, they became the first African American group to achieve international superstardom.
Both tracks have since been declared songs of the 21st century by the Grammy Music Hall of Fame.
With classics such as "The Great Pretender", "Only You" and their rendition of "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes", The Platters became one of the greatest vocal groups of the early rock and roll era.
Under the guidance of their producer Buck Ram, The Platters churned out hit after hit during the mid-late ’50s and ’60s, bridging the gap between more traditional vocal-group stylings and the popular R&B grooves of the early ’50s.
Their sound was unique, highlighted by lead singer Tony Williams' powerful vocals and the feminine touch of singer Zola Taylor.
With Ram's pop songwriting classics as their musical palette, the group quickly became a Pop and R&B success, eventually earning The Platters the distinction of being the first black act of the era to top the Pop charts.
Considered the most romantic of all the early rock and roll 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 the early rock and roll groups.
Although competing versions of so-called Platters groups confused the public for many years, the last in a series of contemporary U.S. federal court cases that began in 2010 resulted in a court order that Reed had superior rights above all others to the group's iconic name.
These actions solidified his ownership, performance and other intellectual property rights of The Platters trademark.
As a result, a list that once numbered in the hundreds of imposters or great pretenders that deceived the public by claiming to be or have an affiliation with the legendary group have finally been stopped.
The Platters vocal evolution continues to this day under the musical direction of Michael Larson.
The Platters' recently released LP, Back to Basics with The Platters® LIVE!, captures the blueprint of the sounds made famous by The Platters.
Today the group continues to open the hearts and minds of new generations of music consumers to the rich vocal and historical tradition that is The Platters making their timeless melodies relevant to all ages of worldwide fans.
- Frederick J. Balboni Jr.