The Platters

With their classic mid-1950s hits Only You, The Great Pretender and My Prayer - blending R&B, doo-wop and gospel with a modern pop production style - The Platters were effectively forerunners of rock'n'roll. Originally formed in Los Angeles in 1953, they toured regularly with a variety of different line-ups without managing to come up with a hit record until Only You - a song their manager/arranger/producer Buck Ram initially wrote with the Ink Spots in mind - became a huge hit in 1955. The follow-up, the soaring The Great Pretender (supposedly written by Ram in the washroom of a Las Vegas hotel) was an even bigger success, topping America's R&B chart for 11 weeks. They hit on a tunefully dramatic niche which resulted in an impressive string of hits and specialised in updating old songs like My Prayer, Twilight Time, Harbor Lights, To Each His Own, If I Didn't Care and Smoke Gets In Your Eyes, which caused a mild furore when family and friends of the song's writer Jerome Kern objected to their rock'n'roll interpretation. They also performed in the landmark movie Rock Around The Clock but, by the 1960s, lead singer Tony Williams had left to launch a solo career and, although he was replaced by Sonny Turner, a rapid turnover of members followed. In time The Platters splintered into different line-ups, all using variations of The Platters name, including Monroe Powell, who replaced Sonny Turner as lead singer in 1970. A maze of legal cases followed as the different factions fought over ownership of the name and the matter remained unresolved after the death of the last surviving original member Herb Reed at the age of 83 in June, 2012.

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Stations Featuring The Platters

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