Multiplatinum, Rock and Roll, Vocal Group and Grammy Halls of Fame member, The Platters, were originally comprised of founder and naming member Herb Reed, Tony Williams, Paul Robi, Zola Taylor and David Lynch. In 1955, the quintet crashed through the racial divide that existed in the United States paving the way for them to become one of the preeminent vocal groups of all time.
The Platters debut hit single “Only You (and You Alone)” launched the vocal group as superstars on the world stage. Soon after their debut at the top of the charts, The Platters released “The Great Pretender,” which propelled them to number one, providing the launch pad for their meteoric rise as crossover artists. As a result, they became the first African American group to achieve international superstardom. Both tracks have since been declared songs of the 21st century by the Grammy Music Hall of Fame.
With classics such as “The Great Pretender,” “Only You” and their rendition of “Smoke Gets in Your Eyes,” The Platters became one of the greatest vocal groups of the early rock and roll era. Under the guidance of their producer Buck Ram, The Platters churned out hit after hit during the mid-late ’50s and ’60s, bridging the gap between more traditional vocal-group stylings and the popular R&B grooves of the early ’50s. Their sound was unique, highlighted by lead singer Tony Williams’ powerful vocals and the feminine touch of singer Zola Taylor.
With Ram’s pop songwriting classics as their musical palette, the group quickly became a pop and R&B success, eventually earning The Platters the distinction of being the first black act of the era to top the Pop charts. Considered the most romantic of all the early rock and roll groups (that is, the ultimate in “make out music”), hit after hit came tumbling forth in a seemingly effortless manner: “Only You,” “The Great Pretender,” “My Prayer,” “Twilight Time,” “Smoke Gets in Your Eyes,” “Harbor Lights,” all of them establishing The Platters as the classiest of all the early rock and roll groups.
The Platters vocal evolution continues to this day through the crisp, vocal stylings of members Wayne Miller, DD Martin, Cheo Bourne, Kenny Williams in concert with our Music Director Michael Larson.
The Platters’ recently released LP, Back to Basics with The Platters LIVE! captures the blueprint of the sounds made famous by The Platters. Today the group continues to open the hearts and minds of new generations of music consumers to the rich vocal and historical tradition that is The Platters, making their timeless melodies relevant to all ages of worldwide fans.