The Platters were an R&B/doo-wop group formed in Los Angeles and are considered to be one of the top vocal ensembles of the early rock and roll era. They originally began in 1952 as a sextet consisting of Alex Hodge, Cornell Gunter (November 14, 1936 - February 26, 1990), David Lynch (d. Jan. 2, 1981), Joe Jefferson, Gaynel Hodge and Herb Reed (August 7, 1928 - June 4, 2012). The classic lineup responsible for the group's top hits was a quintet made up of Lynch, Reed, Paul Robi (d. February 4, 1989), Zola Taylor (March 17, 1938 - April 30, 2007), and lead singer Tony Williams (April 5, 1928 - August 14, 1992). Their distinctive sound was due in large part to Williams resonant, soaring tenor and Taylor's contribution of female vocals to this mostly-male ensemble.
Over the years, The Platters had many changes in their lineup. Williams left the group in 1960 to pursue a solo career and was replaced by Sonny Turner. Throughout the rest of the decade, the group underwent many other personnel changes until 1970 when the group disbanded, with various former members forming their own competing versions of The Platters. Newer incarnations of the group continued to surface until the last surviving original member, Herb Reed, finally won a lengthy series of legal battles in 2011 and the sole right to the use of The Platters name.
The Platters' best known songs include "Only You (And You Alone)" (1955), "The Great Pretender" (1955), "(You've Got) The Magic Touch" (1956), "My Prayer" (1956), "Twilight Time" (1958), "Smoke Gets In Your Eyes" (1958), and "Harbor Lights" (1960). Their long string of hits, which continued through the late 1960s on both the R&B and Pop/Rock charts, also include "I Love You 1000 Times" (1966) and "With This Ring" (1967). Their signature songs, "Only You (And You Alone)" and "The Great Pretender," were both written by Buck Ram, The Platters' manager, producer, and vocal coach, who was instrumental to the group's huge success.
The Platters' many honors and accolades include being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1990 and the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 1998.
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- Harbor Lights 1960
- I Love You 1000 Times 1966
- Red Sails In The Sunset 1960
(This song was previously a hit for Tab Hunter (1957) and later also became a hit for Fats Domino (1963).)
- With This Ring 1967
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