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The Platters

With classics such as "The Great Pretender," "Only You," and their rendition of "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes," the Platters were one of the preeminent doo-wop groups of the rock & roll era. Under the guidance of manager and producer Buck Ram, the Platters churned out hit after hit during the 1950s, bridging the gap between more traditional vocal-group stylings and the popular R&B grooves of the early '50s. Their sound was unique, marked by lead singer Tony Williams' powerful vocals and the feminine touch of singer Zola Taylor. Although competing versions of the Platters confused the public for many years, original founding member Herb Reed eventually solidified his rights to the name and the group continued recording and performing in the 2010s.

The Platters started out in 1952 as a Los Angeles-based doo wop group who made a few records for Federal, a subsidiary of Cincinnati's King Records. What changed their fortunes boils down to one very important name: their mentor, manager, producer, songwriter, and vocal coach, Buck Ram. Ram took a standard doo wop vocal group and turned them into stars -- one of the most enduring and lucrative groups of all time. By 1954, Ram was already running a talent agency in Los Angeles, writing and arranging for publisher Mills Music, managing the Three Suns -- a pop group with some success -- and working with his protégés, the Penguins. The Platters seemed like a good addition to his stable.

After getting them out of their Federal contract, Ram placed them with the burgeoning national independent label Mercury Records (at the same time he brought over the Penguins following their success with "Earth Angel"), automatically getting them into pop markets through the label's distribution contacts alone. Then Ram started honing in on the group's strengths and weaknesses. The first thing he did was put the lead-vocal status squarely on the shoulders of lead tenor Tony Williams. Williams' emoting power was turned up full blast with the group (now augmented with Zola Taylor from Shirley Gunter & the Queens) working as very well-structured vocal support framing his every note. With Ram's pop songwriting classics as their musical palette, the group quickly became a pop and R&B success, eventually earning the distinction of being the first black act of the era to top the pop charts. Considered the most romantic of all the doo wop 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.

In 1961, Williams struck out on his own. By the decade's end, the group had disbanded, with various members starting up their own version of the Platters. Decades of competing versions ensued, until original member Herb Reed finally won a series of court cases. Reed, who died in 2012, restarted the group and patterned them on the original, with members including Wayne Miller, Valerie Victoria, Frank Pizarro, and Cheo Bourne, plus music director Michael Larson. In 2015, the only group authorized to perform as the Platters released Back to Basics Live! on the You Dig It label. The album included a pair of Grammy Hall of Fame songs "Only You (And You Alone)" and "The Great Pretender." Also included was a bonus track, the new Platters' recording of Lee Greenwood's "God Bless the USA" (lead singer Pizarro was a first responder at the World Trade Center in New York City on September 11, 2001). ~ Cub Koda
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: All-Time Greatest Hits

1. Only You (And You Alone)

2. The Great Pretender

3. (You've Got) The Magic Touch

4. My Prayer

5. Heaven On Earth

6. You'll Never Never Know

7. It Isn't Right

8. On My Word Of Honor

9. One In A Million

10. I'm Sorry

11. He's Mine

12. My Dream

13. Twilight Time

14. Smoke Gets In Your Eyes

15. Enchanted

16. Harbor Lights

17. I Love You 1000 Times

18. With This Ring

x

Track List: 16 Greatest Hits

1. The Great Pretender

2. I'm Sorry

3. I Love You 1000 Times

4. Red Sails In The Sunset

5. Sweet Sweet Lovin

6. Smoke Gets In Your Eyes

7. Delilah

8. Harbor Lights

9. My Prayer

10. Washed Ashore

11. (You've Got) The Magic Touch

12. Only You (And You Alone)

13. Heaven On Earth

14. I Love You Yes I Do

15. All My Love Belongs To You

16. Twilight Time

x

Track List: The Magic Touch: An Anthology - 1

Disc 1

1. Only You

2. Bark, Battle & Ball

3. The Great Pretender

4. I'm Just A Dancing Partner

5. The Magic Touch

6. Winner Take All

7. My Prayer

8. Heaven On Earth

9. Glory Of Love

10. You'll Never Never Know

11. It Isn't Right

12. I Give You My Word

13. On My Word Of Honor

14. One In A Million

15. I'm Sorry

16. He's Mine

17. My Dream

18. I Wanna

19. Only Because

20. The Mystery Of You

21. Hula Hop

22. Helpless

23. Indiff'rent

24. No Power On Earth

25. Goodnight, Sweetheart, It's Time To Go

Disc 2

1. Twilight Time

2. You're Making A Mistake

3. My Old Flame

4. I Wish

5. It's Raining Outside (Chove La Fora)

6. For The First Time (Come Prima)

7. Smoke Gets In Your Eyes

8. No Matter What You Are

9. Sixteen Tons

10. Enchanted

11. Remember When

12. Where

13. Wish It Were Me

14. My Secret

15. Harbor Lights

16. Sleepy Lagoon

17. Ebb Tide

18. Red Sails In The Sunset

19. To Each His Own

20. If I Didn't Care

21. Trees

22. I'll Never Smile Again

23. When You Return

24. It's Magic

25. La Hora De Crepusculo (Twilight Time)

Comments

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White Hill memories, loved Zola.
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alncypress
I well always remember the time I saw them live in Sacramento.
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A number one performance
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NATALIE COLE HAS A VERY SMOOTH VOICE
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Always a Special Place in my Heart
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Long live the Platters.... . . . . T h e y bring back so many memories of days gone by........
Where have these entertainers gone ? there is nothing like this in todays music.
it;s a b**ch getting old......... . . O h well at least we have Pandora to take us back........ . M a h a l o
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abbey.zap
one of the best
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Put Smoke Gets In your eyes by the platters on my list thank you
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gypsyme3
This was one if not past MY PRAYER .. By platters fav my brother .. Who is gone !! WOW GREAT MAN !! Miss him .. He would love your music
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The Great & Wonderful Platters!!!! ! :-)
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I dedicate this song to my wonderful wife......
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Smoke gets in your eyes has to be their all time best.... for me anyway. It's a b**ch to get old.......
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Tony W. what else can you say.. class act one of the best!! bar none....
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This is my first time to listen to this guy's I liked the song
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We fell BLESSED to have danced to this song back in the day. It just does not come anywhere close to this today. Sorry kids.
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Saw them at Ramstein AFB in Germany..... I was 15 at the time...It was like yesterday when I hear them again.
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Thebestlwad1 0 . y e a r b u t i t b e s t l l o v e . m y o l d s
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Why are you showing a photo of a fake Platters group and not the original?
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THE PLATTERS,BEA U T I F U L VOICES,GREAT SONGS!!!!!!! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! !
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For us old gaffers who enjoyed the renaissance of rock music in the 60's, this is still the music we lusted over Annette Funicello and Anita Ekberg and Sofia Loren. It was Pop music and the opposite of the great records from Chuck Berry, Bo Diddley and Buddy Holly; but so much better than the old How Much Is That Doggie In The Window crap.
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I'm in love with this music. ��
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Love this great music ...Used to skate to these at CUSTER MI....
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these are love songs DELUXE!!!
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"Only You"....song s like this and the Righteous Brothers "Unchained Melody".... great love songs
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Twilight Time is so beautiful --Love this song. But the list goes on, and on, especially when it is any song
sung by my favorite group. Thank you
Platters!! You Are Too Awesome. :-)

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dragonlady60 8 8
smoke gets in ur eyes ..my fave
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dragonlady60 8 8
one of the most amazing groups
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I hear you all. Everybody was a teenager and young lover at one time. This song is a classic forever. Love to all- B.A. So CA
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phopkins214
Makes you want to get up and dance. But don't think l can like I used to.
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We were the luckiest ones who were to hear them all''!
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carroll29483
Love it
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carroll29483
Love
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So beautiful
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The Platters, do have "The Magic Touch". I love ALL of their music!!
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OK !!!!!!!!!!!! ! !
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:):):):):):) : ) : ) : ) : ) : ) : ) : ) : ) : ) : ) : ) : ) is what I feel when I hear this
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The people doing bios for Pandora ought to be a bit more knowledegabl e and accurate even if they are too young to have remembered this music- The platters were never a Doo Wop group! No such thing as doo wop in 1952! They were a pure 50s Rock N Roll act (Only You, The Great pretender) that evolved into the pop rock of that decade(Twili g h t time, Smoke gets in your Eyes)...Lets get with it Rovi!
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my dad's favorite group
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TWILIGHT TIME IS THE GREATEST SONG EVER WRITTEN..... P U R P L E THUNDER CURTAINS.... . FINGERS OF NIGHT SURRENDER... . . JUST TO NAME A FEW LINES.....
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wonderwo78
Smoke in my eyes.
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Love the Platters.
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Love the platters
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Before. My. Time. But. I. Enjoy. This. Tune. Real. Music
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Candlelight, dinner, good bottle of wine, my wife...The Platters beautiful music... I don't need anything else!
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I was fortunate enough to see these guys live and in person.....R a m s t e i n AFB 1959.......w o w , what memories.
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Pushing 80 and three wars later these guys kept my sanity and hope alive
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Memories
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I Love you One Thousand Times! Great Song. Greatest Group!
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I'm 74, I'm white and had been listening to Black artists on Black-only stations. The first time I heard Tony Williams sing Only You I knew that America had finally begun to evolve musically. I still get choked up hearing anything by the original Platters.
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Absolutely, 2 thumbs up for the 50's through 70's....noth i n g but REAL music.
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