Herb Reed, the last surviving original member of the Platters, who sang on the group's four No. 1 hits, including "The Great Pretender," "My Prayer," "Twilight Time" and "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes," has died, the Washington Post reports. He was the only member of the group to appear on all of their nearly 400 recordings, and continued touring up until last year. Reed was 83 years old and suffered from obstructive pulmonary disease.
Reed was a Kansas City, Mo., native who founded the Platters in Los Angeles in 1953. Then a quartet, the group won amateur talent shows, and performed nights and weekends up and down the California coast while the members worked days at a car wash and at other odd jobs.
Reed came up with the group’s name, inspired by ‘50s disc jockeys who called their records platters.
The group underwent several lineup changes, even adding a woman singer to become a quintet, before signing their first major recording contract in 1955 …
The Platters were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1990 and the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 1998. Their recordings are in the Grammy Hall of Fame.
The group’s popularity reached across racial lines and genres, "achieving success in a crooning, middle-of-the-road style that put a soulful coat of uptown polish on pop-oriented, harmony-rich material," according to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s website.
Read more at the Washington Post.