The Platters – Twilight Time

The Platters formed in Los Angeles in 1952 and were initially managed by Federal Records A&R man, Ralph Bass. The original group consisted of founding and naming member, Herb Reed, Alex Hodge, his brother, Gaynel Hodge (piano and singer), Cornell Gunter and Joe Jefferson.

In June 1953, Gunter left to join The Flairs and was replaced by lead vocalist Tony Williams. The band then released two singles with Federal Records, under the management of Bass, but found little success.

Bass then asked his friend, music entrepreneur and songwriter Buck Ram, to coach the group in hope of getting a hit record. Ram made some changes to the lineup, most notably the addition of female vocalist Zola Taylor and, in autumn 1954, the replacement of Alex Hodge by Paul Robi. Under Ram’s guidance,

The Platters recorded eight songs for Federal in the R&B/gospel style, scoring a few minor regional hits on the West Coast, and backed Williams’ sister, Linda Hayes. One song recorded during their Federal tenure, “Only You (And You Alone)”, originally written by Ram for the Ink Spots, was deemed unreleasable by the label, though copies of this early version do exist.

Despite their lack of chart success, The Platters were a profitable touring group, successful enough that the Penguins, coming off their #8 single “Earth Angel”, asked Ram to manage them as well. With the Penguins in hand, Ram was able to parlay Mercury Records’ interest into a 2-for-1 deal. To sign the Penguins, Ram insisted, Mercury also had to take The Platters. The Penguins would never have a hit for the label. wiki

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