In 1952-53, bass singer Herb Reed, vocalists Joe Jefferson, Alex Hodge, and Cornell Gunter (who later formed The Coasters) got together in Los Angeles, California, to sing on the corner under the lamplight, a typical past time back in the day. Reed named the quartet “The Platters” after the turntable on the phonograph used to play vinyl records.
During 1954-55, Jefferson, Hodge, and Gunter left the group, leaving Reed as the only original group member. Tony Williams joined Paul Robi and David Lynch. In an early breakthrough of the gender divide, 15-year-old Zola Taylor was added into the all-male mix, making The Platters one of the first groups to make such a bold move. This line-up was signed to Mercury Records by their manager Buck Ram, leading the way for The Platter’s breakout debut on the national music charts with Only You (And You Alone).
Considered the most romantic of all the early rock & roll groups (that is, the ultimate in “make out music”), The Platters produced hit after hit. In a seemingly effortless manner, The Platters achieved domestic and international chart success with multiple tracks, including The Great Pretender, My Prayer, Twilight Time, Smoke Gets In Your Eyes, Harbor Lights, Ebb Tide, Red Sails in the Sunset, and many more. This success established The Platters as the classiest, groundbreaking vocal group of the early rock & roll era.
Tony Williams stopped making appearances and performing on-stage with The Platters in 1959 to pursue a solo career after being arrested with Robi and Lynch for violating the state’s “Jim Crow race laws” in Ohio. The three had their 18 and 19-year-old (the legal age back then was 21) “underage white girlfriends” in their hotel rooms after an appearance in the Buckeye state.
Williams was replaced “on-the-road” by vocalist Sonny Turner. Ram and Mercury Records decided to move The Platters to Europe as a result of the ensuing scandal. In what appears to be an act of poetic justice, The Platters’ relocation to Europe enabled them to become one of the first African-American vocal groups to become global superstars.
No longer touring with the vocal group, Williams continued to record with Reed, Robi, Lynch, and Taylor until 1963. Turner would later record lead vocals on the Musicor Label during The Platters measured resurgence with moderate hits such as Love You 1000 Times and With This Ring during the “Beach Music” years. Soon after, Sandra Dawn replaced Taylor, and Nate Nelson replaced Robi.
By 1970, Turner left the group. Reed fired manager Ram and continued performing as The Platters or Herb Reed and The Platters, with myriad vocalists cycling through the vocal group over the years.
The rich vocal and historical tradition of The Platters is unmistakable, making its timeless melodies relevant to fans worldwide. The Platters vocal evolution continues today through the
Your Dreams are Our Goals
crisp, vocal stylings of members Kingsley “Cousin Brian” McIntosh, “the Professor” Lance Bernard Bryant, Leslie “TEEF” Moné, and Omar “Scooby” Ross. They perform timeless hits and new music accompanied by Music Director Michael Larson.
The music that comprises the foundation of this vocal powerhouse is as relevant and unwavering today as it was in its inception. The classic hit Twilight Time plays a significant role in the Marvel Studios’ – Disney+ much-anticipated series WandaVision, effectively inaugurating The Platters as part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. This 2020 placement led to The Platters recording a new video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s0kprJ30_HU) and single available on your favorite music digital music store.
In December of 2019, Twilight Time played a prominent part in the Sony PlayStation Now® radio, TV, and online advertising campaign. Both motion placements serve as an introduction of The Platters to younger generations of music consumers.
America’s Rock & Roll, Vocal, and Grammy® Halls of Fame vocal groups timeless music appear on many classic and contemporary major motion pictures and television soundtracks. For example, the powerhouse ballad, My Prayer, was used in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, leading to its nomination for the coveted Oscar® as part of the motion pictures soundtrack. On television, The Great Pretender prominently appears in a pivotal scene on Disney® Television’s Golden Globe®, Emmy Award® hit drama “Empire.”
The Platters continue to open the hearts and minds of new generations of music lovers and are currently recording their first EP/LP in more than 50 years featuring new music scheduled for release in late 2021!
There’s something for everyone in their uplifting stage show that takes the audience back in time and into the future.