(August 7, 1928 – June 4, 2012)
Mr. Reed was born into poverty in Kansas City, Mo., on Aug. 7, 1928, and lost both his parents when he was about 13, living afterward in the homes of various relatives. He left for Los Angeles when he was 15 and began singing in church gospel choirs while working odd jobs. Singing in amateur contests, he discovered he could make money doing what he liked best...
|Herb Reed, on the far left|
The core of the original group — Mr. Reed, David Lynch and the lead singer, Tony Williams — later joined with Paul Robi and a 15-year-old girl named Zola Taylor to form the quintet that recorded “Only You” in 1955, the first in a string of hits…
Herb Reed became the group’s most enduring presence...
As original members were replaced, he remained, singing bass on all of the 400 recordings the group made during its peak years, including four that reached No. 1 on the Billboard singles chart:
“The Great Pretender” (1955)
“My Prayer” (1956)
“Twilight Time” (1958)
“Smoke Gets in Your Eyes” (1958)
The Platters’ early records, like those of many black artists, had color-coded labels — usually orange, sometimes purple — to alert D.J.’s that they were “race records,” something that effectively barred them from the air in parts of the South.
(The term was later changed to “Rhythm and Blues”)
|R.I.P. Herb Reed|
Herb Reed, an original member of the Platters, one of the first pop groups to break the color barrier in the 1950s, died on June 4, 2012 in Boston.
He was 83…
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