Wednesday, February 11, 2009

The Platters

The Platters starts with Encore Of Golden Hits, one of those albums that was released ages and ages ago, but which stayed in circulation until vinyl finally bit the dust. My copy came from the venerable WK Library, and that was ages and ages ago.

Then came More Encore Of Golden Hits, and I can’t remember where I picked that up. On that one somehow Mercury managed to miss the songs that were hits, and included many that weren’t. It Isn’t Right and You’ll Never Never Know came from 2 sides of one single, With This Ring came from another single, and I Love You A Thousand Times came from an album they released called I Love You A Thousand Times.

I was overseas in 1977, and so were The Platters. I remember hearing the promo on the radio, they played Twilight Time, and I wonder now how many original members were still in the group then, if any.

For the record, the group had 40 songs in the top 100 between 1955 and 1967, most before 1962. 22 are here.

The Platters:

Twilight Time – Oh, man, they don’t make melodies like this anymore, and they haven’t for a long time. The song was number 1 in the spring of 1958, and I wonder if it wouldn’t be number 1 now.
Smoke Gets In Your Eyes – This is a Jerome Kern song from 1933. The Platters revived it big-time, and Williams outdoes himself. This was number 1 in early 1959.
(You’ve Got) The Magic Touch – Here I go reeling, sings Williams, as the groups oohs and ahhs behind him. This is about that feeling of infatuation, as so many other songs are, but here Williams declares that he’s learned that he can return the magic touch. And that’s where the real magic is. This is from the spring of 1956.
Enchanted – This is from the spring of 1959.
One In A Million – From early 1957.
My Prayer – This number 1 hit from the summer of 1956 is another love song, not some R & B flavoured gospel. My prayer is to linger with you. It spent 23 weeks on the top 100.
Only You (And You Alone) – Their debut hit, from the autumn of 1955. many covers of this, including Buck Owens and The Righteous Brothers, and Ringo Starr put it back on the charts in the early 70s, with Harry Nilsson singing in the background.
Remember When – Not to be confused with Remember Then by The Earls. From the summer of 1959.
My Dream – My prayer, my dream, you name it. This is from the summer of ’57. Not The Chuck Berry song.
Heaven On Earth – This is the b side of My Dream, but it seems to have been a hit a year earlier. You’ve made a heaven for you and I, he sings. Oh dear…
I’m Sorry – So is Brenda Lee, but she sang an entirely different song. This one was a hit in the spring of 1957.
The Great Pretender – More great vocals, another great song, certainly their best known. A song about facades, emotions real and imagined, the feigning of happiness in the face of heartbreak, the necessity of keeping up appearances, in spite of everything. The beginning of genre, including Two Faces Have I, Everybody Loves A Clown, The Tears Of A Clown, The Tracks Of My Tears. It was number 1 in early 1956.
Harbor Lights – Seems to have been published in 1950, though written much earlier. A hit for Sammy Kaye. The Platters’ version was a top 10 hit in the winter of 1960.
Wish It Were Me – One of those jealousy songs. This one from the fall of ’59. The b side of Where.
Where – Also from the fall of ’59. At this point the songs were repeating the formula, though the vocals were as good as ever.
Don’t Blame Me – A different vocalist on this one. The Everly Brothers did this one too. It’s a song about refusal to take responsibility for falling in love. I suppose it sounds innocent enough, but there could always be another side. Like maybe he’s married…
What Does It Matter – Why should I care about the past. This sounds like every other Platters song…
My Secret – A prayer, a dream, and now a secret. My advice? Stop keeping it secret.
To Each His Own – From the fall of 1960. This is Williams again.
Sleepy Lagoon – Some kind of dream scene. A small hit in the winter of 1960, the flip of Harbor Lights.
The Sound And The Fury – The Faulkner novel? Nah, just a love song.
That Old Feeling – Yeah well I get that, I mean she hasn’t gotten any uglier…
It’s Raining (Outside) Chule La Fora – From the fall of ’58, which is interesting, because the lead vocal is not Tony Williams. This is the flip of I Wish.
I Wish – From the fall of ’58. I wish you were happy all the while, he sings. Strange. Not the Stevie Wonder song.
You’ll Never Never Know – Odd that this got left off both Encore albums; it reached number 11 in the fall of ’56. You’ll never know how I feel, they sing. Maybe they should tell her.
It Isn’t Right – The flip of You’ll Never Never Know, and a hit at the same time. She is playing games with his heart, she is…
With This Ring – Here’s where The Platters sound like just another 60s R&B band. This is from the spring of ’67.
I Love You 1000 Times – Ditto this one, from the summer of ’66.


Belle said...

If I close my eyes I can still hear the scratch of the records playing and my mom singing along to the Platters songs....

ladyofthelake said...

That was the Cleanest recording I have ever seen or heard, and a great site on the jukebox...remember those days...fondly. the 45's, the scratches even were ok, then.
One of my first albums, along with Jack Jones, 5th dimension...those were the days

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