"When lead vocalist Tony Williams died in 1992--just a year after this collection's release--popular music lost one of its most memorable voices. Beginning in 1955 with "Only You (And You Alone)" through 1961's "If I Didn't Care" (actually recorded in 1958), Williams' powerful tenor was the voice of numerous smoochin' music classics, including chart toppers "The Great Pretender," "My Prayer," "Twilight Time" and "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes."Sonny Turner replaced Williams in 1961, but this collection covers the Platter's peak years, 1955-1961, when they charted more than thrity songs on Billboards Hot 100. As such, Turner appears only on disc-2's final two tracks.As the liner notes point out, the Platters were "the first black group ever to have a Number One Pop record, the first to cross racial barriers on the concert circuit and the first to overcome the 'cover' syndrome of white acts copying black originals." Listen to artists like Curtis Mayfield's Impressions or Smokey Robinson's Miracles and the Platter's influence on early rock and R&B is undeniable. Their 1990 induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame is a testimony to their success and this two-disc collection is a must-have for serious fans of Fifties R&B. VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED"
This Album Is The Real Deal
Todd Clingan | Farmington Hills, Michigan United States | 07/27/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"In my opinion, no one could do it like The Platters, which says a lot I think being that The Platters are my favorite vocal group of the 50s era. They were the first black vocal group to have hit records without anyone covering them. For this two CD set pictured above is the real deal that features the original Platters along with their original Mercury recordings. This CD set has everything anyone would ever want by The Platters and that this is the ultimate collection. What I found unique and enjoyable about this collection as I was listening that it included B-Sides to many of their chart toping singles heard here. For any of you out there who may have owned some of these original Platters singles back in the 50s may find it to be a nice added touch. Even the flip sides I found were just as good as the hits themselves for the most part. None the less all selections were great. Also the sound quality of theese digitally re-mastered recordings were very good and clean to the ear. I don't know what else to say about this CD is that when you pop this in to your CD player, the music speaks for itself. Happy Listening."
tom323 | Bakersfield, Ca. | 02/02/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Its Authentic,Its the Real PLATTERS,---Buy It, YOu'll Be Happy!"
For Seven Years They Indeed Had The Magic Touch
Todd Clingan | 08/23/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I vividly remember, as a 17-year-old in 1955, hearing the music begin to change in an exciting manner, starting with Elvis and his Sun recordings, Fats Domino's Ain't It A Shame, Chuck Berry's Maybelline, Rock Love by The Fontane Sisters, Boyd Bennett and His Rocket's Seventeen and, of course [We're Gonna] Rock Around The Clock by Bill Haley & His Comets [actually done first in 1954 but never a hit until the release of the film Blackboard Jungle].
But in the midst of the change to this fast-paced music, which would soon begin to make its presence felt in spite of some determined efforts to kill it at birth, came the melodic sound late that year of The Platters and Only You [And You Alone]. Their unique way with a ballad - some of their material dating back to the 1930s - would help define R&R as something more than just jump tunes as they went on to put a total of 35 songs into the Billboard Pop Hot 100 to 1961, 17 of which also scored on the R&B charts, all for the Mercury label.
Only You, written by their manager Buck Ram, had actually been recorded by the group when with the Federal label, and at a time when it included lead Tony Williams, tenor David Lynch, baritone Alex Hodge, and bass Herb Reed. After securing a contract with Mercury in 1955, Paul Robi replaced Hodge and female vocalist Zola Taylor was added in time for the re-recording of Only You which had, as its flipside, the up-tempo Bark, Battle And Ball, sort of an "answer" song to Joe Turner's Shake, Rattle & Roll.
That B-side did not chart, but on their next seven hits, to 1957, they had only double-sided winners. All of these are contained in order on disc one. In fact, all of their Mercury hit singles are here, with the only B-side missing, up to and including their first in 1960, being Out Of My Mind, which backed Twilight Time in 1958.
From Ebb Tide [# 56 in June 1960] to their last Mercury hit, It's Magic [# 91 in February 1962], none of the seven B-sides are included. In 1961 Williams left to go solo, with Sonny Turner taking over as lead, while Taylor was replaced by Sandra Dawn, but there would be no more hits until 1966 and a new contract with Musicor.
That year Robi was replaced by former Flamingos member Nate Nelson, and their first hit was I Love You 1000 Times [# 6 R&B/# 31 Hot 100]. Four more Musicor hits would follow, their last being Sweet, Sweet Lovin' in late 1967 [# 32 R&B/# 70 Hot 100]. In 1976 Turner was replaced by Monroe Powell, but by then the hits had long since dried up.
The liner notes contain a complete discography of the contents, numerous photographs of the original group in action, as well as nine pages of informative background information written by Harry Weinger in August 1991. I do, however, question his contention that they were "the first black group ever to have a Number One pop record." The Ink Spots had two # 1 pop hits in 1944 and two more in 1946, while The Mills Brothers had one in each of 1943 and 1944, and one more in 1952.
That aside, this is truly one of the essential purchases for any fan of The Platters."