In Celebration of the Human Voice - The Essential Musical Instrument

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Male R&B United States.

Formed in 1953 in New York, USA, at the behest of Atlantic Records, this influential R&B vocal group was initially envisaged as a vehicle for ex-Dominoes singer Clyde McPhatter (Clyde Lensley McPhatter, 15 November 1932, Durham, North Carolina, USA, d. 13 June 1972, New York City, New York, USA). Gerhart Thrasher, Andrew Thrasher and Bill Pinkney (b. 15 August 1925, Dalzell, South Carolina, USA, d. 4 July 2007, Daytona Beach, Florida, USA) completed the new quartet which, as Clyde McPhatter and the Drifters, achieved a million-selling number 1 R&B hit with their debut single, 'Money Honey'. Follow-up releases, including 'Such A Night' (number 5 R&B), 'Lucille' (number 7 R&B) and 'Honey Love' (a second chart-topper), also proved highly successful, while the juxtaposition of McPhatter's soaring tenor against the frenzied support of the other members provided a link between gospel and rock 'n' roll styles. The leader's interplay with bass player Pinkey was revelatory, but McPhatter's induction into the armed forces in 1954 was a blow that the Drifters struggled to withstand.

The vocalist opted for a solo career upon leaving the services, and although his former group did enjoy success with 'Adorable' (number 1 R&B 1955), 'Steamboat' (1955), 'Ruby Baby' (1956) and 'Fools Fall In Love' (1957), such recordings featured a variety of lead singers, most notably Johnny Moore (b. 1934, Selma, Alabama, USA, d. 30 December 1998, London, England). Other new members included Charlie Hughes, Bobby Hendricks (who came in as lead tenor when Moore was drafted in 1957), Jimmy Millender and Tommy Evans. A greater emphasis on pop material ensued, but tension between the group and their manager, George Treadwell, resulted in an irrevocable split. Having fired the extant line-up in 1958, Treadwell, who owned the copyright to the Drifters' name, invited another act, the Five Crowns, to adopt the appellation. Charlie Thomas (b. 7 April 1937; tenor), Doc Green Jnr. (b. 8 November 1934, d. 10 March 1989; bass/baritone) and lead singer Ellsbury Hobbs (b. 4 August 1936, d. 31 May 1996, New York, USA; bass), plus guitarist Reggie Kimber, duly became 'the Drifters'. Hobbs was drafted and replaced by Ben E. King (b. Benjamin Earl Nelson, 28 September 1938, Henderson, North Carolina, USA). The new line-up declared themselves with 'There Goes My Baby'. Written and produced by Leiber And Stoller, this pioneering release featured a Latin rhythm and string section, the first time such embellishments had appeared on an R&B recording. The single not only topped the R&B chart, it also reached number 2 on the US pop listings, and anticipated the 'symphonic' style later developed by Phil Spector.

Further excellent releases followed, notably 'Dance With Me' (1959), 'This Magic Moment' (1960) and 'Save The Last Dance For Me', the latter a million seller which topped the US pop chart and reached number 2 in the UK. However, King left for a solo career following 'I Count The Tears' (1960), and was replaced by Rudy Lewis (b. 27 May 1935, Chicago, Illinois, USA) who fronted the group until his premature death from drug-induced asphyxiation in 1964. The Drifters continued to enjoy hits during this period and songs such as 'Sweets For My Sweet', 'When My Little Girl Is Smiling', 'Up On The Roof' and 'On Broadway' were not only entertaining in their own right, but also provided inspiration, and material, for many emergent British acts, notably the Searchers, who took the first-named song to the top of the UK chart. Johnny Moore, who had returned to the line-up in 1963, took over the lead vocal slot from Lewis. 'Under The Boardwalk', recorded the day after the latter's passing, was the Drifters' last US Top 10 pop hit, although the group remained a popular attraction. Bert Berns had taken over production from Leiber and Stoller, and in doing so brought a soul-based urgency to their work, as evinced by 'One Way Love' and 'Saturday Night At The Movies' (1964).

When he left Atlantic to found the Bang label, the Drifters found themselves increasingly overshadowed by newer, more contemporary artists and, bedevilled by lesser material and frequent changes in personnel, the group began to slip from prominence. However, their career was revitalized in 1972 when two re-released singles, 'At The Club' and 'Come On Over To My Place', reached the UK Top 10. A new recording contract with Bell was then secured and British songwriters/producers Tony Macaulay, Roger Cook and Roger Greenaway fashioned a series of singles redolent of the Drifters' 'classic' era. Purists poured scorn on their efforts, but, between 1973 and 1975, the group, still led by Moore, enjoyed several UK Top 10 hits, including 'Like Sister And Brother', 'Kissin' In The Back Row Of The Movies', 'Down On The Beach Tonight', 'There Goes My First Love' and 'Can I Take You Home Little Girl'. This success ultimately waned as the decade progressed, and in 1982 their stalwart lead singer Moore briefly left the line-up. He was replaced, paradoxically, by Ben E. King, who in turn brought the Drifters back to Atlantic. However, despite completing some new recordings, the group found it impossible to escape its heritage, as evinced by the numerous 'hits' repackages and corresponding live appearances on the cabaret and nostalgia circuits. They were inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame in 1988, a year after McPhatter's posthumous award.


Displaying 1-4 of 4 items.

Drifters : Winter Wonderland : 00  1 CD :  : LIF 160113

Drifters : Winter Wonderland

Review: We have always loved recordings by the Drifters, and have enjoyed their live performances even more. "Winter Wonderland" is an all-accompanied collection of 10 soulful Doo-Wop Christmas tunes: "Christmas Just Ain't Christmas," "Winter Wonderland," The Beach Boys' wonderful "Little Saint Nick," "I saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus," "Santa Claus is Coming to Town," "Please Come Home for Christmas," "The Christmas Song," "Silent Night," "O Holy Night" and "Auld Lang Syne." No frills, no extensive liner notes, just some great fun, romantic tunes to dance to, enjoy and brighten up your holiday season!

Songlist: Christmas Just Ain't Christmas, Winter Wonderland, Little Saint Nick, I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus, Santa Claus is Coming to Town, Please Come Home for Christmas, The Christmas Song, Silent Night, O Holy Night, Auld LangSyne

4363c | 00 1 CD | $6.95 | Accompanied Vintage Christmas

Drifters : Save The Last Dance For Me / The Good life : 00  1 CD :  : 6417

Drifters : Save The Last Dance For Me / The Good life

Review: Two classic Atlantic albums from '61 and '65, featuring some of the Drifters' biggest hits-including 'Save the Last Dance for Me; Some Kind of Wonderful; I Count the Tears; Sweets for My Sweet; Please Stay; Saturday Night at the Movies; Mexican Divorce; Tonight; Temptation', and more. 24 tracks, over an hour of music!

Songlist: Save The Last Dance For Me, I Count The Tears, Somebody New Dancin' With You, Jackpot, No Sweet Lovin', Sweets For My Sweet, Some Kind Of Wonderful, Sweets For My Sweet, Mexican Divorce, Some Kind Of Wonderful, When My Little Girl Is Smilin', Please Stay, Nobody But Me, Room Full Of Tears, Quando Quando Quando, On The Street Where You Live, I Wish You Love, Tonight, More, What Kind Of Fool Am I, The Good Life, Desafindo, As Long As She Needs Me, Who Can I Turn To, Saturday Night At The Movies, Temption

8296c | 00 1 CD | $12.98 Doo wop

Drifters : Up On The Roof / Under The Boardwalk

Review: Two original early '60s LPs are combined here and the result is a virtual Drifters Greatest Hits. "Up on the Roof," Carole King's gorgeously romantic ode to working class escape and freedom, is here in both the hit single and slightly longer LP versions (the single is in mono, the LP version is stereo with a longer intro). Elsewhere, you'll find a real embarrassment of riches, with song after brilliant hit song from the fertile imaginations of the great Brill Building writers of the pre-Beatle era, including Barry Mann and Cynthia Weill ("On Broadway"), Doc Pomus and Mort Shuman ("Sweets for My Sweet," "This Magic Moment," "Save the Last Dance for Me"), plus lesser known but equally evocative songs from Burt Bacharach and Otis Blackwell. Timeless stuff.

Songlist: Up On The Roof, There Goes My Baby, Sweets For My Sweet, This Magic Moment, Mexican Divorce, Stranger On The Shore, What To Do, Save The Last Dance For Me, Lonliness Or Happiness, Another Night With The Boys, (If You Cry) True Love, True Love, Room Full Of Tears, When My Little Girl Is Smiling Ruby Baby, Under the Boardwalk, One Way Love, On Broadway, Didn't It , I Feel Good All Over, Vaya Con Dios, Rat Race, In The Land Of Make Believe, If You Don't Come Back, Let The Music Play, I'll Take You Home

8294c | 00 1 CD | $12.98 Doo wop

Drifters : Very Best Of Drifters : 00  1 CD :  : 71211

Drifters : Very Best Of Drifters

Review: All the great hits!

Songlist: There Goes My Baby (If You Cry), True Love, True Love, Dance With Me, This Magic Moment, Save The Last Dance For Me, I Count The Tears, Some Kind Of Wonderful, Up On The Roof, On Broadway, Under the Boardwalk, I've Got Sand In My Shoes , Saturday Night At The Movies, Please Stay, Sweets For My Sweet, When My Little Girl Is Smiling, I'll Take You Home

8293c | 00 1 CD | $11.98 Doo wop

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