Clyde McPhatter

Clyde McPhatter, who died aged 39 in 1972, was an American singer whose gospel-styled approach to rhythm and blues made him one of the definitive voices of the 1950s. His influence on rock & roll was profound and he was the first artist to be inducted twice into the Rock and Roll of Fame, first as a solo artist and then as a member of the singing group the Drifters. Born in North Carolina, the son of a preacher, he started singing in a gospel choir as a child and after his family moved to New York , he formed the Mount Lebanon Singers. After he won first prize in the famous Amateur Night at the Apollo Theatre in Harlem in 1950, he joined Billy Ward & The Dominoes and made several recordings before he quit to be succeeded by Jackie Wilson. Atlantic Records founder Ahmet Ertegin signed McPhatter and formed a group for him called the Drifters. After the line-up was confirmed, the group released hit singles including 'Money Honey', 'Such a Night', 'Honey Love' and 'Whatcha Gonna Do'. Following military service, he made his solo debut on the hit single 'Love Has Joined Us Together' and released a series of hits. 'A Lover's Question' went to number six on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1959 and 'Lover Please' reached number seven in 1962. As other artists including Sam Cooke, Ben E. King and Smokey Robinson rose to prominence in the '60s, McPhatter's star began to fade. He worked in England for a few years but he suffered from alcoholism and depression. He died of a heart attack in New York in 1972.

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