The Platters Founder Herb Reed Dies At 83
“The Great Pretender,” “My Prayer,” “Twilight Time” and “Smoke Gets in Your Eyes”
As I am often asked about The Drifters, The Coasters, The Marvelettes, The Persuasions, or The Platters, “Are they the original?” I must report that Herb Reed, the last surviving original member of 1950s vocal group the Platters who sang on hits like “Only You” and “The Great Pretender,” has died. He was 83.
Reed was a Kansas City, Mo., native who founded the Platters in Los Angeles in 1953. Then a quartet, the group won amateur talent shows, and performed nights and weekends up and down the California coast while the members worked days at a car wash and at other odd jobs.
Reed came up with the group’s name, inspired by `50s disc jockeys who called their records platters.
The group underwent several lineup changes, even adding a woman singer to become a quintet, before signing their first major recording contract in 1955.
Reed sang bass on the group’s four No. 1 hits, including “The Great Pretender,” “My Prayer,” “Twilight Time” and “Smoke Gets in Your Eyes.”
The Platters were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1990 and the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 1998. Their recordings are in the Grammy Hall of Fame.
The group’s popularity reached across racial lines and genres, “achieving success in a crooning, middle-of-the-road style that put a soulful coat of uptown polish on pop-oriented, harmony-rich material,” according to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s website.
Today, started by Herb, The Platters music still lives on.