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Platters

 

The Platters were a successful black vocal group of the early rock n roll era. Their distinctive sound was a bridge between the pre-rock n roll Tin Pan Alley tradition of the Ink Spots and the Mills Brothers and the explosion of teenage music in the mid 1950s. The most successful incarnation of the group comprised lead tenor Tony Williams, David Lynch, Paul Robi, Herb Reed, and Zola Taylor.

The Platters formed in Los Angeles, CA, USA in 1953 and were initially managed by Ralph Bass. They had a contract with Federal Records but experienced little record success until they met music entrepreneur and songwriter Buck Ram. He added lead vocalist Tony Williams (who gave the Platters their distinctive sound) and female vocalist Zola Taylor. Under Ram’s guidance, the Platters recorded seven singles for Federal in an R&B/gospel style, scoring minor regional hits on the West Coast. One song recorded at Federal, “Only You (And You Alone)”, originally written by Ram for the Ink Spots was deemed unreleasable by the label.

Despite lack of chart success, the Platters were a profitable touring group—so successful that The Penguins, fresh from their No. 2 single Earth Angel, asked Ram to manage them too. With the Penguins as a bargaining chip, Ram persuaded Mercury Records into a 2-for-1 deal. In order to sign the Penguins, he insisted, the label also take the Platters. Ironically, the Penguins never had a hit for the label

The Platters was one of the most successful vocal groups 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 several personnel changes, with the most successful incarnation comprising lead tenor Tony Williams, David Lynch, Paul Robi, Herb Reed, and Zola Taylor. The group had 40 charting singles on the Billboard Hot 100 chart between 1955 and 1967, including four no. 1 hits.

The Platters formed in Los Angeles in 1952 and were initially managed by Ralph Bass. The original group consisted of Alex Hodge, Cornell Gunter, David Lynch, Joe Jefferson, Gaynel Hodge and Herb Reed. Reed created the group's name.

In June 1953, Gunter was replaced by lead vocalist Tony Williams. The band then released two singles with Federal Records, under the management of Bass, but found little success. The band then met music entrepreneur and songwriter Buck Ram. Ram made some changes to the lineup, most notably the addition of female vocalist Zola Taylor; later, Hodge was replaced by Paul Robi. Under Ram's guidance, the Platters recorded eight songs for Federal in the R&B/gospel style, scoring a few minor regional hits on the West Coast, and backed Williams' sister, Linda Hayes. 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, though copies of this early version do exist.

Despite their lack of chart success, the Platters were a profitable touring group, successful enough that The Penguins, coming off their #8 single "Earth Angel," 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. To sign the Penguins, Ram insisted, Mercury also had to take the Platters. The Penguins would never have a hit for the label.

In 1990, the original Platters were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
The Platters ran into trouble in the summer of 1959. In Cincinnati, Ohio, four out of the five members were arrested for having sexual relations with four 19-year-old women, with three of the women being white. Even though the four members were found innocent, there was negative backlash in part to the media and various radio stations stopped playing their new singles.
The Platters were responsible for making one of the very first music videos ever with a promotional package of their fourth chart-topping single "Twilight Time," which was performed on "American Bandstand."
In the late 50's, The Platters had become such a international music sensation that they began a world tour. Mercury Records referred to the group as "international ambassadors of goodwill."
The Platters' first major record contract was with Mercury Records in 1954.
The Platters very first recordings were for Federal Records.
The original Platters consisted of Tony Williams, Alex Hodge, Herb Reed, and David Lynch. They were managed by Samuel Ram, who transformed the Platters into one of the biggest pop sensations of the 1950's decade.

 

50s, 60s Hits

Harbour Lights
Only You
Smoke Gets In Your Eyes
The Great Pretender
Twilight Time
You've Got The Magic Touch

Members of this Group


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