In just about every way you can count, The Platters were one of the most successful groups of the early part of the Rock N' Roll era, with forty songs that made it on the charts, and four incredible #1 hits. While the group did change members over the almost 20 years of togetherness, the must successful line up featured Tony Williams, David Lynch, Paul Robi, Herb Reed and Zola Taylor. The group was formed in 1952 in Los Angeles, with Lynch and Reed being two of the original members from the group above. In 1953, Buck Ram took over management of the group, and also saw the addition of lead vocalist Tony Williams, and Zola Taylor, the first female member. The Platters certainly had a distinctive sound, one that is hard to forget.
The group was by no means an overnight success, as it took two years before they had their first hit. "Only You (And You Alone)" summer of 1955, became the groups first Top 10 hit. The song was written by Buck Ram, who was also the manager and producer for The Platters, and Ande Rand. He also played the piano in the studio, the only time he did so for the group. Here are The Platters with "Only You (And You Alone)".
There are reports Ram sat in a bathroom of the Flamingo Hotel and wrote their next song in 20 minutes, eager to have something to follow up with the success of "Only You (And You Alone)". "The Great Pretender" became the group's first #1 hit in 1955. The song was written by Buck Ram, who also produced the recording. It accentuated the brilliant vibrato of Williams, whose voice easily sailed to amazing heights. This is The Platters singing "The Great Pretender".
The next song was first made popular in the 1940s as an instrumental, before Jimmy Dorsey released a version with vocals by Teddy Walters in 1945. In 1958, The Platters released their version of "Twilight Time", and the record quickly went to #1, both in the United States and Australia. It also scored a #3 in Great Britain. The song has music by Morty Nevins, Al Nevins, and Artie Dunn, but later had lyrics by the prolific Buck Ram. This is The Platters singing "Twilight Time".
"Smoke Gets In Your Eyes" with music by Jerome Kern and lyrics by Otto Harbach from the Broadway score of the 1933 musical, 'Roberta'. The song scored a #1 spot in both the United States and England in the Fall of 1958. There was a bit of a stir when the widow of Jerome Kern was concerned the song was being turned into a "rock and roll record", although after the release, it is said Mr. Harbach congratulated Mr. Buck and the group for "reviving his song with taste." They certainly brought to song to iconic levels. This is The Platters singing "Smoke Gets In Your Eyes".