One of the most successful vocal groups of the early rock and roll era, The Platters unique vocal style hit upon a successful formula of updating older standards with a distinctive sound that was unmistakably theirs.
The act went through many personnel changes, but the most popular and successful incarnation included lead tenor Tony Williams, David Lynch, Paul Robi, Herb Reed, and Zola Taylor.
Convinced a song he had written, “Only You” had potential the group’s manager, Buck Ram insisted it be their first release at Mercury Records, resulting in a top five hit in the summer of 1955. The followup, “The Great Pretender” became the Platters’ first chart topper on the Hit Parade that same year.
Among the more than 50 million records sold were “The Magic Touch,” “My Prayer,” “You’ll Never Know,” ”I’m Sorry,” “Twilight Time,” “Harbor Lights,” To Each His Own,” “If I Didn’t Care,” “Smoke Gets In Your Eyes,” “Enchanted” and “To Each His Own.”
The Platters were also the first rock and roll group to have a Top Ten album in America.
David Lynch died at the Veterans Administration Hospital in Long Beach, California on January 2, 1981, at 51 years of age. Paul Robi died of pancreatic cancer on February 1, 1989 and was buried at Somers Center Cemetery in Somers, Connecticut. Zola Taylor died in Riverside, California at age 69 from pneumonia on April 30, 2007. Tony Williams died on August 14, 1992 in New York of emphysema and Herb Reed, the last surviving original member of the Platters, died in Boston at 83 years of age on June 4, 2012.
The Platters were inducted into The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1990, the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 1998 and the Hit Parade Hall of Fame in 2009,