Heaven on Earth was just one of the many songs sung by the Platters. And yesterday the last living member of that fabulous singing group, Herb Reed, died. Herb founded the Platters in the 1950′s – he was 83 years old when he passed away.
I always liked the song Heaven on Earth, however, it didn’t have a prayer (pun intended) to it’s flip-side phenomenal hit, My Prayer. For over a decade, the Platters produced 40 chart singles including 4 Number One hits. Among their repertoire were: The Great Pretender, Smoke Gets In Your Eyes, Only You (And You Alone), Twilight Time and (You’ve Got) The Magic Touch.
Headliners of Doo Wop era, their distinctive sound was a bridge between pre-rock Tin Pan Alley and the burgeoning new genre. Only You released in 1955 was their first Top Ten Hit and topped the R&B chart for 7 weeks.
The history of the group is checkered at best. Arrests and charges of drug and prostitution hurt their reputation even though no convictions ever took place. And over the years, the group splintered and several members started groups of their own, each one claiming the name The Platters, which led to lawsuits and injunctions. Finally in 2011, Herb Reed won the exclusive rights to the trademark name and the decision made Reed sole heir to the group’s tremendous legacy.
I’m at the tail end of the Baby Boomers who grew up on Rock & Roll, Doo Wop and the British Invasion. By the time the music of the day turned to Hard Rock, Acid Rock, and Heavy Metal, I was no longer listening to those radio stations. Doo Wop is probably my favorite genre and for me it encompasses Motown Sound, R & B, Bee Bop – just about all the music produced between 1950 and 1966.
KEEP THE MUSIC ALIVE!
- Letter: A Doo-Wop Fan, Still Going Strong (nytimes.com)