by Robert Wilkinson
Today would have been the 86th birthday of another voice that made ten thousand girls melt, as well as the birthday of a notable one hit wonder.
Herb Reed (August 7, 1928 – June 4, 2012) was one of the founding members of the Platters in 1953, and the only one to have sung on ALL of their 400+ songs. Featuring the great Tony Williams (April 5, 1928 – August 14, 1992) on lead vocals from 1953 to 1960, the Platters were the first rock and roll group to have a Top Ten album in America and were one of the seminal vocal groups in pop music in the 50s, bridging the doo-wop, crooner, and rock and roll eras.
For your enjoyment, the original Platters and a few songs from a different world.
From 1955, a live performance by the original Platters of “The Great Pretender and Only You”
Last year, I found a clip from the Ed Sullivan Show in March 1959 of our next performance, but this year it’s nowhere to be found. But I did find this lip-synched video clip of their huge hit “Smoke Gets In Your Eyes”
The studio version of their 1956 number one hit “My Prayer”
From Nov 1956, the studio version of “One in a Million”
From the late 50s, a live television performance of “He’s Mine”
From 1958, a live performance of their number 1 smash hit “Twilight Time”
Also from 1958, “Oh Promise Me”
From 1959 or 1960, a live performance of “Remember When”
From 1959, the studio version of their #12 hit, “Enchanted”
Though Herb kept going, here’s one of the last songs Tony did with the Platters, here’s Tony belting out “Orchids in the Moonlight”
From January 1960, the studio version of their top 10 hit “Harbor Lights”
For our finale today, the awesome voices of Herb and Tony in the studio version of “The Magic Touch”
RIP Herb. You were the music of my childhood, an era of sweet music, great melodies, and magical harmonies. I’m sure the last half of the 20th century blew your mind. Thanks for the memories.
We now turn to Ron Holden (August 7, 1939 – January 22, 1997), a truly obscure one hit wonder of the late Do-Wop era. Even if you don’t know who he is, you’ve probably heard his song “Love You So” at least once in your life, since it hit #7 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1960. After that he quickly faded into obscurity, returning to the charts only once with "Can You Talk?" which made it to #49 on the US R&B charts in 1974.
Again, from a different era in music, when a lame sax solo could be released on a track, here’s the studio original of Ron Holden in “Love You So”
I found this clip, which features “Love You So” but also give us the “B” side of that tune, a true classic twist rocker of the era that could just as well have been done by Little Richard or Jerry Lee had they still been playing during that era! For your enjoyment, “Love You So” and “My Babe”
Here’s a very obscure Ron Holden release, obviously a rip off of “Love You So.” The piano and castanets give it all away... “True Love”
I found a few more tunes I never heard of, but they’re so bad I just can’t put you through the ordeal of listening to them. So we’ll close this very brief tribute with his last chart placement, a tune from the early disco era. It's a classic period piece when crooning about cheating on one’s mate was still in fashion. “Can You Talk”
RIP Ron. You were blasting from the tinny speakers on the boardwalk at Seaside Heights in the early 60s, and so became imprinted in my song files. Glad you had at least one hit.
© Copyright 2014 Robert Wilkinson