In 1953, bass player Herb Reed assembled four men and created the now legendary group The Platters. Reed was inspired to name the group based on hearing a disc jockey refer to records as platters. In the very beginning, the group consisted of Reed, Joe Jefferson, Cornell Gunther and Alex Hodge. The group would enter amateur shows for fun and always won first prize with Reed singing the lead. The first TV appearance for The Platters was on a show called Ebony Showcase. Gunther sang lead on a swing version of “Old McDonald Had a Farm.”
Months later, David Lynch replaced Joe Jefferson, and Tony Williams replaced Cornell Gunther. While at an amateur show, Ralph Bass from Federal Records saw the group perform with Reed singing lead. Bass signed the group to its first recording contract.
Late in 1953, Hodge brought a songwriter from Chicago to meet the band. The songwriter happened to be Buck Ram. The group soon after signed a management contract with Ram.
Early in 1954, Ram thought it would be a good idea to add a female to the group and as luck would have it, Zola Taylor was rehearsing at Hodge’s house with Gunther’s sister Shirley (a group called “The Queens”). Shortly after meeting The Platters, Zola joined the group. In August of 1954, Paul Robi replaced Hodge.
In 1955, The Platters signed a recording contract with Mercury Records. The group ended up putting Mercury on the International map.
2014 marks the 60th Anniversary of The Platters launching on the International music scene with “Only You (and You Alone)”.
The Platters recorded just under 400 songs, have sold over well 100 million records, performed in more than 91 countries and received more than 250 awards from all over the world.
The group appeared in 27 movies including: “Rock Around The Clock,” “The Girl Can’t Help It” (Jane Mansfield), “Europe By Night,” “Girls Town” (Paul Anka), “Carnival Rock” and 22 more in Mexico, Spain, France, Italy, Japan and Israel.
The Platters were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1990, the Vocal Group Hall of Fame 1998 and The Grammy Hall of Fame in 1999 (Only You (and You Alone) and 2002 (The Great Pretender).
In June of 2012, the Federal District Court in Las Vegas, Nev., restored the exclusive right to the mark “The Platters” back to Reed. After many years of having the band identity stolen, the name was finally returned solely to its creator. Your Dreams are Our Goals
Today, Reed’s legacy lives on exclusively through The Platters consisting of Wayne Miller, Valerie Victoria, Frank Pizarro and Cheo Bourne. Michael Larson is the music director for the group. This is the only authorized Platters Vocal Group performing around the world today.
The evolution of this historical vocal group continues to this day. The Platters are working on their first new single in decades to be released in late 2014 with a new LP to be released in early 2015. Follow the progress of the group via Facebook
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