Saturday, August 7, 2010

The Platters - Happy Birthday Herb Reed

Today is Herb Reed's 82nd birthday. One of the founding members of The Platters, he has been singing with the group, in it's various incarnations, since 1953. Considered to be a classic doo-wop group, they first formed in Los Angeles with the following lineup; Alex Hodge, Herb Reed, Cornell Gunther, David Lynch, Joe Jefferson and Gaynel Hodge. Before hitting the charts in 1955 the group would be reconfigured and contain the following lineup; Tony Williams as lead tenor, David Lynch, Paul Robi, Herb Reed and Zola Taylor. This would be the main nexus of the group for the next 5 years, during which time they recorded some of their most well known hits.

In 1956 the group appeared in the film "Rock Around the Clock" with Bill Haley and the Comets, in which they performed "Only You" and "The Great Pretender." The group's vocal styling was patterned after the Ink Spots and the Mills Brothers and many consider their sound to be one of the bridges from "pop" to "rock and roll."

One of the first groups to incorporate, each member received a 20% share of the profits, a most unusual arrangement in a time that saw many artists being cheated out of their royalties. As each member left the group their share of the stock was purchased back by the groups manager Buck Ram. This would later become a part of a long legal fight over who really owned the rights to The Platters recordings, and more importantly, who could use the name on tour.

The group has been inducted into every Hall of Fame in the Music business, including the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1990. Herb Reed continues to perform as "Herb Reed's Platters", which is trademarked by Federal Records.

Although my favorite song by the group is undoubtedly "Harbor Lights", I have included here a link to The Platters performing one of their all time greatest hits, "The Great Pretender", live in the mid 1950's;

Happy Birthday Mr. Reed, and keep on singing!

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