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HISTORY OF THE PLATTERS... IN A NUT SHELL
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The Platters have recorded nearly 400 songs, have sold over 80 million copies of those songs, and have performed throughout the world, winning many awards and an induction into the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame along the way. The Platters, over the years, have appeared in 27 movies such as "Rock Around The Clock," "Girl's Town," "Europe By Night," and many more.

So, how did this all start, what are some details through the years, and what about today? Read on . . .

In Janurary of 1953, four men converged on Los Angeles to form a group for competing in local amateur shows, etc. This early group consisted of Cornell Gunther, Alex Hodge, Herb Reed, and Joe Jefferson. It is said that Gaynel Hodge, brother of Alex and later famous with his hit Earth Angel, was present with the Platters when their trademark name was coined, named after the term popular with DJs when refering to records, hence Platters.

With both Reed and Gunther singing lead, the men won several amateur contest and appeared on The Ebony Showcase, a television program. Soon, David Lynch replaced Joe Jefferson, and Tony Williams joined the group while Cornell Gunther departed. At this point, Ralph Bass of Federal Records signed the group to their first recording contract.

That same year, a songwriter from Chicago named Buck Ram signed a management contract with the group. The members at that time were Herb Reed, David Lynch, Tony Williams, and Alex Hodge. Early in 1954, the same time Ram decided a female would be a good addition to the group, Zola Taylor was at Alex Hodge's house rehearsing with Cornell Gunther's sister, Shirley Gunther. Both ladies were with the Queens at this time. Soon, Zola was taken on board The Platters, and in the same year Paul Robi replaced Alex Hodge.

Buck Ram and The Platters really got rolling when Ram was negotiating a deal with Mercury Records for another of his groups, The Penguins. At this time, The Penguins' song, "Earth Angel" was at the top of the charts in the United States. Ram was negotiating a contract with Mercury for The Penguins, and decided to take The Platters with them in the deal. Mercury wanted The Penguins, but not necessarily The Platters, but Buck Ram insisted they take both groups or none! The Platters signed a recording contract with Mercury Records in 1955, which resulted in hits such as, "Only You," "Smoke Gets In Your Eyes," "My Prayer," "The Great Pretender," and "The Magic Touch" just to name a few.

In 1956, Ram incorporated The Platters forming "The Five Platters, Inc." giving each member stock in the corporation, with each member signing away his or her right to the name The Platters to the corporation, owned by Buck.

In 1960, Williams left The Platters to pursue his solo career with Reprise Records. Sonny Turner replaced Tony Williams as lead singer of The Platters. By 1966, The Platters consisted of David Lynch, Herb Reed, Sonny Turner, Nate Nelson, and Sandra Dawn. In 1969, the group parted ways with their management. Buck Ram signed Monroe Powell to replace Sonny Turner, an association which lasted for the next 25 years.

1990 saw The Platters inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

While the Platters have divided over the years and members have come and gone, the one thing that remains contant is the beauty of their music, still performed today by the legendary Monroe Powell, Sonny Turner, Herb Reed and others.

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