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OF THE 1940'S & 50'S






The Platters   The Platters, circa 1954

The Platters, the group that put Mercury Records on the map, were one of the most mellow, harmonizing groups of the 1950's.  Even today, in one form or another, the Platters are still performing in one group or another, some with original members, others just want-to-be's.  How did the Platters form and become one of the most recorded groups in history, you might ask?  Well here you go:

In January of 1953, four men went to Los Angeles to form a group that would compete in local amateur shows and perform around the L. A. Area. This early group consisted of Cornell Gunther, Alex Hodge, Herb Reed, and Joe Jefferson.   Their name was taken for the popular term of the day DJs had for records, hence, The Platters.

With both Reed and Gunther switching on and off lead vocals, the group won several amateur contests and appeared on The Ebony Showcase, a television program. Soon, David Lynch replaced Joe Jefferson, and Tony Williams replaced Cornell Gunther. At this point, Ralph Bass of Federal Records signed the group to their first recording contract.

The PlattersThat same year, the group signed a management contract with Chicago songwriter Buck Ram.  In early 1954 Ram decided a female would be a good addition to the group, and Zola Taylor, who was in the female group The Queens at that time, was added to The Platters fold.  Later that year Paul Robi replaced Alex Hodge.

The Platters got their really big break while Ram was negotiating a deal with Mercury Records for another of his groups, The Penguins. The Penguins' song, "Earth Angel", was at the top of the charts in the United States and Ram was negotiating a contract with Mercury for The Penguins.  Ram decided to add The Platters to the deal.  Mercury wanted The Penguins, but not necessarily The Platters.  In a bold move, Buck Ram insisted they take both groups or none!  The Platters signed a recording contract with Mercury Records in 1955, which resulted in hits such as, "Only You," "Smoke Gets In Your Eyes," "My Prayer," "The Great Pretender," and "The Magic Touch" just to name a few.

The Platters have recorded nearly 400 songs, have sold over 80 million copies of those songs, and have performed throughout the world, winning many awards and an induction into the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame along the way. In addition, The Platters over the years have appeared in 27 movies.  In 1990 The Platters inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Associated Links:

The Official Platters Website

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame


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