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From the Land of Band Box Records

Clownin’ with the Coasters

November 29, 2019
craigr244

The Coasters

The Robins Meet Jerry and Mike

Unlike their record label stable mates, the Drifters, the Coasters weren’t formed around dynamic lead vocalists.  The Coasters would find their fortunes through the imaginative composing pens of Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller – delivering some of the most spirited and novel R&B/Rock ‘n Roll tunes that ever graced the world’s popularity charts.

Their songs easily ‘crossed over’ from solely R&B to the pop charts – and often did as well or even better with the group realizing enormous popularity over diverse audiences.

Image result for elvis with leiber and stoller

Leiber and Stoller with The King

Things got started for the Coasters back in the spring of 1954 when they were still “The Robins and they would team up with the young Leiber and Stoller out in southern California releasing a series of songs on Mike and Jerry’s new “Spark” record label beginning with “Riot In Cell Block #9” backed with “Wrap it Up”.  The “Riot” received local radio air play attention but would not break out nationally.

First Time Out with Jerry & Mike

Early Version of the Robins

It was followed by four more Robins’ singles – all without success – and then along came “Smokey’s Joe’s Cafe” in late summer of 1955.  The song would make it to number 79 on the Billboard Pop charts.  That achievement coupled with the success of two earlier Leiber/Stoller tracks – one by “Big Mama” Willie Mae Thornton in 1953 – and another by a young California vocal trio – “The Cheers” were enough to garner the attention of East Coast Atlantic Records to offer Mike and Jerry and contract which came with the requirement to move to the East Coast.

The Cheers

Thornton’s “Hound Dog” had gone to number 1 on the national R&B Charts where it remained for seven straight weeks in 1953.  The Cheers took “Black Slacks” into the Hot 100 Top Ten – peaking at number 6 in the fall of 1955.  (Oddly, “Hound Dog” would be Big Mama Thornton’s only appearance on any popularity chart and, she only recorded about a dozen singles during her career.)

Image result for willie mae thornton

Leiber and Stoller were only 20 years old when they penned these songs.  But the two boys had plenty of practice under their belts as both composers and producers having released more than 2 dozen singles on their Spark label by a host of obscure artists – with the Robins being their ‘premier’ group.

(Visit my “Leiber and Stoller” Page Here)

Well, only two Robins were willing to leave the sunny environs of Los Angeles – and that would be Carl Gardner and Bobby Nunn.  By the time the group headed out to Atlantic they would be joined by Billy Guy, Leon Hughes and guitar player Adolph Jacobs.  They had been required to take a new name – and so inspired by their eventual trek from one coast to the other coast – they were now “The Coasters”.

West to East Coasting – The Originals – Leon Hughes, Carl Gardner, Bobby Nunn, Billy Guy and Adolph Jacobs

Coasters with Others

  • Carl Gardner: The Robins
  • Billy Guy: Bip and Bop – The Odds N’ Ends
  • Bobby Nunn: A-Sharp Trio – The Robins – Splendor
  • Cornel/ll Gunter: The Chimes – The Flairs – The Hunters – The Platters – The Hollywood Blue Jays
  • Adolph Jacobs: The Medallions – Adolph Jacobs Band
  • Will Jones: The Cadets – The Crescendos – Cora and Dub
  • Young Jesse – The Flairs – The Debonairs – The Hollywood Blue Jays

Beyond the Coasters

Unlike the ‘big two’ from the Drifters: Clyde McPhatter and Ben E. King, or the other two dynamic Drifter leads – Rudy Lewis and Johnny Moore – The Coasters did not spawn any stand-out lead vocalists – With the Coasters it was always the group – the antics – and the novelty songs.

Several musicians would come and go with the Coasters – not nearly as many as the 60-plus Drifters, but close to 20 over time.  Several of these are displayed below – A few interesting additions would include the arrival of Earl “Speedo” Carroll who had provided lead vocals for the Cadillacs, and bass singer Ronnie Bright.

Bright would also sing with the R&B groups the Valentines and the Cadillacs and notoriously provide the bass part on Johnny Cymbal’s “Mr. Bass Man” – a number 16 Hot 100 hit for Cymbal in 1963. (Cymbal’s birth name was John Hendry Blair – a native of Scotland.  He would also record as “Derek” recording two songs which were a bit controversial for the times – “Cinnamon” (number 11) and “Back Door Man” (number 59) both in 1969).

Coastin Coasters: Top: Young Jesse – Thomas “Curley” Palmer – Sonny Forriest – Earl “Speedo” Carroll – Bottom: Ronnie Bright – Will Jones – Jimmy Norman Scott – Cornell Gunter

The Coasters would inspire a handful of other R&B acts to go ‘novelty’ – the Cadillacs, the Cadets/Jacks, the Olympics and the Marathons being thew most premier among them (an upcoming Post I think).

The last original Coaster as of November, 2019 is Leon Hughes.  An often used saxophone player for the Coasters, King Curtis – died tragically  when he was stabbed to death in 1971.  The popular Cornell Gunter was in Las Vegas sitting in a parked car and was shot to death in 1990.  Another more obscure Coaster – Nate Wilson was shot and killed in 1980.

Four members of the Coasters entered the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame: Billy Guy, Carl Gardner, Will Jones and Cornell Gunter.

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame – 1987 Inductees

Two informative books have been written about the group: “Yakety Yak I Fought Back – My Life with The Drifters” by Carl Gardner and “The Coasters” by Bill Millar who also wrote “The Drifters”.

Yakety Yak I Fought BackImage result for the coasters bill millar

Much like so many Doo Wop and R&B Groups – many different ‘off-shoot’ Coaster groups would appear through the years.

Coasters: Late 1960’s

Coasters: 1974

Cornell Gunter´s Coasters.

Coasters: 1976

The "Original" Cornell Gunter Coasters of 2007.

Coasters: 1977

Bobby Nunn's Coasters in 1977 with Billy Richards Jr, Bobby Sheen, Randy Jones, and Bobby Nunn (from the back cover of "Coastin' " LP).

Coasters: 1982

Bobby Nunn´s Coasters.

Coasters: 1985

Coasters 1991

Billy Richards´ Coasters of 2003.

Coasters 2000’s

Grady Chapman, Jerome Evans, and Bobby Sheen of "The Fabulous Coasters" in Hobbs, New Mexico, August 2000,

The Coasters Discography

Atco Artists with The Coasters – January, 1958

Coasters Singles Discography

45 – Atco 6064 – Down In Mexico b/w Turtle Dovin’ – Double Side Hit – Charted Number 8 (both sides) R&B Charts – Released February, 1956

Lead Vocals: Carl Gardner both Tracks

45 – Atco 6073 – One Kiss Led To Another b/w – “A” Side Charted Number 11 R&B Charts – Number 73 Hot 100 Charts – Released July, 1956

Lead Vocals: “A” Side Carl Gardner – “B” Side: Billy Guy, Bobby Nunn and Carl Gardener

45 – Atco 6087 – Searchin’ b/w Young Blood – Double Sided Hit – Charted Numbers 1 for 12 weeks “A” Side R&B – Number 1 for one week “B” Side R&B – Charted Number 3 “A” Side Hot 100 & Number 8 “B” Side Hot 100

Lead Vocals:  Carl Gardner on Searchin and Billy Guy on Young Blood

45 – Atco 6098 – Idol With the Golden Head b/w (When She Wants Good Lovin’) My Baby Comes To Me – “A” Side Charted Number 64 Hot 100 Charts – Released August, 1957

Lead Vocals: “A” Side Carl Gardner  “B” Side Billy Guy

45 – Atco 6104 – Sweet Georgia Brown/What Is The Secret of Your Success? – Did Not Chart – Released November, 1957

Lead Vocals: “A” Side Carl Gardner with Billy Guy – “B” Side Billy Guy

 

45 – Atco 6111 – Dance! b/w Golly Gee – Did Not Chart – Released February, 1958

Lead Vocals Not Known by Me

45 – Atco 6116 – Yakety Yak b/w Zing Went the Strings To My Heart – “A” Side Charted Number 1 R&B for 7 Weeks – Number 1 Hot 100 for 1 Week – Released April, 1958

Lead Vocals: “A” Side Carl Gardener – “B” Side Will Jones

45 – Atco 6126 – The Shadow Knows b/w Sorry But I’m Gonna Have To Pass – Did Not Chart – Released August, 1958

Lead Vocals: “A” Side Carl Gardner – “B” Side Will Jones

45 EP – Atco 4501 – Rock and Roll with The Coasters – Released 1958

(Carl Gardner – Billy Guy – Bobby Nunn – Leon Hughes and Adolph Jacobs)

45 EP – Atco 4503 – Keep Rockin’ With The Coasters – Released 1958

(Carl Gardner – Billy Guy – Bobby Nunn – Leon Hughes and Adolph Jacobs)

45 – Atco 6132 – Charlie Brown b/w Three Cool Cats – “A” Side Charted Number 2 R&B Charts – Number 2 Hot 100 Charts – Released January, 1959

Lead Vocals: “A” Side The Coasters as a Group – “B” Side Carl Gardner

45 Special Stereo Edition – Atco 6132 – Charlie Brown b/w Three Cool Cats – Released January, 1959

45 – Atco 6141 – Along Came Jones b/w That Is Rock and Roll – “A” Side Charted Number 14 R&B Charts – Number 9 Hot 100 Charts – Released April, 1959

Lead Vocals: “A” Side Carl Gardner – “B” Side Group in Unison

45 – Atco 6146 – Poison Ivy b/w I’m A Hog For You – “A” Side Charted Number 1 R&B for 4 Weeks – Number 7 Hot 100 – “B” Side Charted #36 Hot 100 Charts – Released August, 1959

Lead Vocals: “A” Side Carl Gardner and Billy Guy – “B” Side Group in Unison

45 – Atco 6153 – Run Red Run b/w What About Us – “A” Side Charted Number 29 R&B Charts – Number 36 Hot 100 – “B” Side Charted Number 17 R&B Charts – Number 47 Hot 100 – Released November, 1959

Lead Vocals: “A” Side Billy Guy – “B” Side Group in Unison

45 EP – Atco 4506 – The Coasters – Released 1959

45 EP – Atco 4507 – The Coasters’ Top Hits – Released 1959

45 – Atco 6163 – Besame Mucho Part I b/w Besame Mucho Part II – “A” Side Charted Number 70 R&B Charts – Released March, 1960

Lead Vocals: Group In Unison

45 – Atco 6168 – Wake Me, Shake Me b/w Stewball – “A” Side Charted Number 14 R&B Charts – Number 51 Hot 100 Charts – Released May, 1960

Lead Vocals: Billy Gardner Both Sides

45 – 6178 – Shoppin’ For Clothes b/w The Snake and The Book Worm – “A” Side Charted Number 83 Hot 100 Charts – Released September, 1960

Lead Vocals: “A” Side Billy Gardner and Will Jones – “B” Side Carl Gardner

Reissue Second Title Version: “A” Side: Clothes Line (Wrap It Up)

45 – Atco 6186 – Wait a Minute b/w Thumbin’ A Ride – “A” Side Charted Number 37 Hot 100 Charts – Released January, 1961

Lead Vocals: Billy Gardner Both Sides

45 – Atco 6192 – Little Egypt (Ying Yang) b/w Keep On Rolling – “A” Side Charted Number 16 R&B Charts – Number 23 Hot 100 Charts – Released April, 1961

Lead Vocals: Billy Guy

45 – Atco 6204 – Girls Girls Girls Part 1 b/w Girls Girls Girls Part 2 – “B” Side Charted Number 96 Hot 100 Charts – Released July, 1961

Lead Vocals: Billy Guy both Sides

45 – Atco 6210 – Bad Blood b/w (Ain’t That) Just Like Me – Did Not Chart – Release October, 1961

Lead Vocals: “A” Side Carl Gardner – “B” Side Billy Guy

45 – Atco 6219 – Teach Me How To Shimmy b/w Ridin’ Hood – “B” Side Charted Number 133 Bubbling Under Charts – Released March, 1962

Lead Vocals: “A” Side Billy Gardner – “B” Side Group in Unison

45 – Atco 6234 – The Climb (Vocal) b/w The Climb (Instrumental) – “A” Side Charted Number 137 Bubbling Under Charts – Released September, 1962

Lead Vocals: “A” Side Will Jones

45 – Atco 6251 – The P.T.A. b/w Bull Tick Waltz – “A” Side Charted Number 126 Bubbling Under Charts – Released February, 1963

Lead Vocals: “A” Side Will Jones

45 – Atco 6287 – T’Ain’t Nothin’ To Me b/w Speedo’s Back In Town – “A” Side Charted Number 64 Hot 100 Charts – Number 20 R&B Charts – Released February, 1964

(This would be the final Coaster Atco charting single)

Lead Vocals: Bill Guy Both Sides

45 – Atco 6300 – Bad Detective b/w Lovey Dovey – Did Not Chart – Released May, 1964

Lead Vocals: “A” Side Billy Guy – “B” Side Earl “Speedo” Carroll

45 – Atco 6321 – Wild One b/w I Must Be Dreaming – Did Not Chart – Released October, 1964

Lead Vocals: “A” Side Billy Guy – “B” Side Billy Guy and Cornell Gunter

45 – Atco 6341 – Lady Like b/w Hongry – Did Not Chart – Released February, 1965

Lead Vocals: “A” Side Group In Unison – “B” Side Billy Guy

45 – Atco 6356 – Money Honey b/w Let’s Go Get Stoned – Did Not Chart – Released May, 1965

Lead Vocals: “A” Side Group in Unison – “B” Side Billy Guy

45 – Atco 6379 – Bell Bottom Slacks and A Chinese Kimono (She’s My Little Speed-O) b/w Crazy Baby – Did Not Chart – Released October, 1965

Lead Vocals: “A” Side Carl Gardner – “B” Side Billy Guy

45 – Atco 6407 – She’s A Yum Yum b/w Saturday Night Fish Fry – Did Not Chart – Released March, 1966

Lead Vocals: “A” Side Group in Unison – “B” Side Billy Guy

45 – Date 1552 – Soul Pad b/w Down Home Girl – Did Not Chart – Released April, 1967

Lead Vocals: “A” Side Billy Guy and Earl “Speedo” Carroll ‘ “B” Side Billy Guy

45 – Date 1607 – She Can b/w Everybody’s Woman – Did Not Chart – Released June, 1967

Lead Vocals: “A” Side Group in Unison – “B” Side Earl “Speedo” Carroll

45 – Date 1617 – D.W. Washburn b/w Everybody’s Woman – Did Not Chart – Released July, 1968

Lead Vocals: “A” Side Billy Guy and Cornell Gunter – “B” Side Earl “Speedo” Carroll

45 – Turntable 504 – Act Right b/w The World Is Changing – Did Not Chart – Released 1969

Lead Vocals: “A” Side Billy Guy – “B” Side Earl “Speedo” Carroll

45 – King 6385 – Love Potion Number Nine b/w D.W. Washburn – “A” Side Charted Number 76 Hot 100 Charts – Released 1969

Lead Vocals: “A” Side Earl “Speedo” Carroll – “B” Side Billy Guy and Carl Gardner

45 – King 6389 – Cool Jerk b/w Talkin’ About A Woman – Did Not Chart – Released April, 1972

Lead Vocals: “A” Side Carl Gardner – “B” Side Group in Unison

45 – King 6404 – Soul Pad b/w D.W. Washburn – Did Not Chart – Released 1972

Lead Vocals: “A” Side Billy Guy and Earl “Speedo” Carroll – “B” Side Billy Guy and Cornell Gunter

Coasters Individual Discographies

Very few of these recordings reached the national charts

Earl “Speedo” Carroll Discography

Born 1937 in New York City, New York

45 – Josie 829 – Buzz-Buzz-Buzz b/w Yea Yea Baby – Released November, 1957

(as with “The Original Coasters)

Sonny Forriest Discography

Born Elbert McKinley Forriest 1934 in Pendleton, North Carolina – name sometimes spelled “Forrest”

45 – Atco 6157 – Diddy Bop b/w Knockdown – Released January, 1960

45 – Verve 10306 – Now That I’m Lonely b/w Travelin’ – Released October, 1963

45 – Decca 31888 – I Got A Woman b/w Tuff Pickin’ – Released December, 1965

45 – Escort 107 – Don’t Mess With My Woman b/w Train – Release Date Unknown

Carl Gardner Discography

Born 1928 Carl Edward Gardner – Tyler, Texas

45 – Wicked 8103 – A Hush Don’t Talk About It b/w The World Keeps On Turning – Released 1976 (by Carl Gardner and the Coasters)

Cornell Gunter Discography

Born Cornell Gunter sometimes listed as “Cornel” – Coffeyville, Kansas

45 – Loma 701 – True Love b/w Peek, Peek-A-Boo – Released September, 1955

45 – Loma 703 – (Pretty Baby) I’m So Used To You Now b/w You Broke My Heart – Released 1956

45 – Loma 704 – Muchacha, Muchacha b/w Keep Me Alive – Released 1956 (with the Ermines)

45 – Loma 705 – One Thing For Me b/w I’m Sad – Released 1956

45 – ABC-Paramount 9698 – In Self Defense b/w She Loves To Rock – Released April, 1956 (by Cornel Gunter & The Flairs)

45 – Eagle 301 – Baby Come Home b/w I Want You Madly – Released September, 1957

45 – Dot 15654 – You Send Me b/w Call Me A Fool – Released September, 1957

45 – Warner Bros. 5266 – Lift Me Up Angel b/w Rope Or Sand – Released March, 1962

45 – Warner Bros. 5292 – In A Dream Of Love b/w It Ain’t No Use – Released July, 1962

45 – Challenge 59281 – Wishful Thinking (with The Cornells) b/w If I Had The Key To Your Heart – Released March, 1965

45 – Together 101 – Love In My Heart b/w Down In Mexico – Released 1976

Billy Guy Discography

Born Frank Phillips Jr. – Itasca, Texas

45 – ABC-Paramount 10320 – Here I Am b/w As Quiet As It’s Kept – Released April, 1962

45 – ABC-Paramount 10397 – (She’s A) Humdinger b/w It Doesn’t Take Much – Released January, 1963

45 – Double L 719 – Whip It On Me Baby b/w Women – Released July, 1963

45 – Verve 10485 – I’m Sorry About That b/w If You Want To Get Ahead, Shake A Leg – Released March, 1967

45 – Sew City 109 – Lookin’ Like A Nut b/w Here ‘Tis -(with “The Odds N’ Ends”) –  Released August, 1968

45 – GuyJim 587 – I’m Sorry ‘Bout That b/w Lookin’ Like A Nut Nut – (with The New Way) – Released July, 1967

The “GuyJim” label was a partnership of Guy’s along with long-time Cadillac group member James Ralph “JR” Bailey

45 – All Platinum 2320 – Let Me Go, Ghetto b/w If I Had My Time To Live Over – Released September, 1970

45 – All Platinum 2323 – Hug One Another b/w The Ugly – Released February, 1971

45 – Bell 124 – Shake A Leg b/w All I Need Is Love – (Billy Guy recording as “Happy”) – Released August, 1971

45 – Sal/Wa 1001 – You Move Me b/w Take It Easy Greazy – Released 1975

(Listed at with Billy Guy and The Coasters but in fact was only Billy Guy working with others – An attempt to cash in on the former success of the Coasters)

45 – Black Circle 102 – Watergate (Put Some Funk On Cause The Money’s Been (Long Gone) b/w Hockey Puck – released 1975

(Same note applies for this release as the “Sal/Wa” release above)

45 – Sniff 395 – Put Your Words To It b/w You Move Me – Release Date Unknown

45 – Chalco 5002 – Foxey Baby b/w She’s My Girl – Release Date Unknown

LP – Sundaynight 100 – Don Bombard Presents Pittsburgh’s Hall of Fame Vol. 1 – 1978

(Various Artists with “Whip It On Me” by Billy Guy)

Adolph Jacobs Discography

Born 1939 Pineland, Texas

45 – Class 253 – Move Around Easy b/w Walkin’ And Whistlin’ – Released 1959

45 – Romark 101 – Gettin’ Down With The Game b/w Do It – Released 1971

Young Jesse Discography

Born Obediah Donnell Jessie in 1936 Lincoln Manor, Texas  – Jesse was only with the Coasters for about a year – but did appear on significant songs “Searchin'” and “Young Blood” – Presented here just a few recordings from around his time with The Coasters.

45 – Atco 6101 – Make Believe b/w Shuffle In The Gravel – Released October, 1957

45 – Atlantic 45-2003 – That’s Enough For Me b/w Margie – Released October, 1958

45 – Capitol 4318 – Lulu-Belle b/w The Wrong Door – Released December, 1959

Jimmy Norman (Scott) Discography

Born James Norman Scott 1937 in Nashville, Tennessee – Norman was only with the Coasters for a very brief time in 1969 initially as a producer and then began touring with them – Only presenting his two charting singles here – Norman’s main musical calling was in the world of Jazz

45 – Little Star 113 – I Don’t Love You No More b/w Tell Her For Me – “A” Side Charted Number 21 R&B Charts – Number 47 Hot 100 Charts – Released April, 1962

45 – Samar 112 – You’re Only Hurting Yourself b/w That Little Old Groovemaker – “A” Side charted Number 35 R&B Charts – Released August, 1966

Bobby Nunn Discography

Born Ulysses B. Nunn Sr. 1925 – Birmingham, Alabama

78 – Blue 105 – Bring Your Lovin’ Back To Me b/w I Got A Country Gal – Released 1949

78 – Dootone 302 – Anticipating Blues – “B” Side by Pete Johnson and His All Stars – Released December, 1951

45 – Federal 12100 – Saturday Night Daddy (with Little Esther) – “B” Side by Little Esther – Released October, 1952

78 – Federal 12122 – You Took My Love Too Fast – “A” Side by Little Esther – Released March, 1953

78 – Recorded In Hollywood 244 – Christmas Bells (“B” Side by Que Martin) – Released 1953

45 – Tishman 714 – Sixty Minute Man Is Back b/w Been Thinking It Over – Released 1963

Drifting Away…

November 29, 2019
craigr244

The Lead Voices – Life After Drifters

(Also see the “Many Faces of the Drifters” Post)

Following is a presentation of the solo recordings from the lead vocalists of the fabulous Drifters.

Clyde McPhatter Era

Clyde Lensley McPhatter was born in Durham, North Carolina on November 15th,1932.

The Drifters’ first significant lead singer, Clyde McPhatter, would depart the group in October of 1954 due to receiving his draft notice from the armed services.  Clyde had taken a stance during his time with the Drifters insisting on a significant share of the group’s earnings – something that had been a sore point during his time with Billy Ward and his Dominoes.

Drifter owner George Treadwell had acquiesced on the demand but in return paid other group members a significantly lower salary – on average about $100 dollars a week – not pauper’s wages in 1953 but a far cry from McPhatter’s take.

McPhatter’s life was a struggle – drugs, alcohol and depression all contributed to a sad journey from Billy Ward and the Dominoes in the early years to his final demise at the young age of 39 when he died on June 13th,1972 in his sleep – expiring from a collapse of his damaged internal organs.

He was just about to enter the studio to take one more shot at lost chart success to record a full album.  Leading up to his death witnessed a reclusive Clyde McPhatter who would only occasionally take part – reluctantly – in an ‘oldies tour’.

David Baughan Era to Johnny Moore Era/s

Image result for david baughan drifter

The next lead singer – David Baughan – didn’t last long – the operatives at Atlantic Records were put off by his difficult and unmanageable attitude.  And so he was replaced by the lead vocalist for a group called “The Hornets” – Johnny Moore.

The Army called once again, taking Moore in 1957 an so on came Bobby Hendricks.  Bobby fronted the group for only one hit of any significance, “Drip Drop” in the spring of 1958.  Hendricks would then depart in May of 1958 – and this was just before Treadwell fired the entire lineup due to an argument during a performance at Harlem’s Apollo Theater with that institution’s management.

Johnny Moore would step aside from the Drifters in 1982 completely worn out from performing and touring but would organize his own group while residing in London.

Hollis/Hendricks to Ben E. King Era

There would be a succession of lesser known leads – Bobby Lee Hollis being one – Bobby Hendricks came back and then left again and then some stability was achieved with the addition of Ben E. King in 1958.  With King at the lead microphone, Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller had been brought in by Atlantic to take over production duties and the Drifters thrived.

The Treadwell difficulties continued when King’s agent and Drifters’ road manager, Lover Patterson locked horns with Treadwell.  As a result Patterson refused to let Ben E. King tour with the Drifters and the writing was on the wall.  The end for the great lead singer came when he – as others had attempted – asked Treadwell for a raise.  He was promptly refused – and so departed to embark on a reasonably successful solo career.

Rudy Lewis Era

This ushered in the Rudy Lewis era, overlapping a bit with the addition for a second time of Johnny Moore.  These two would anchor the Drifters as leads through a very successful chart era.  Rudy would die suddenly  on May 20th, 1964 the night before the group was to record “Under the Boardwalk”.  Moore took over lead duties once again.

Bill Pickney Era

 Bill Pinkney

A side note: Original Drifter Bill Pickney who served in the second tenor role – switched to bass replacing Drifter Willie Ferbie – and his voice was prominent on the hits “Honey Love”, “Adorable”, “Ruby Baby” and famously on “White Christmas” interlacing vocals with Clyde McPhatter.

Bill’s first recording apart from the Drifters was on Sam’s Phillips’ Phillips International label in 1958 recording as “Bill Pinky and the Turks”.  As such, Bill was inducted for this recording into the Rockabilly Music Hall of Fame.  Sun had pretty much converted from black musicians to white rockabilly singers by 1958 and when Bill stepped into the studio he was the first black singer to do so in some time.  One of the tracks, “After the Hop” was composed by Bill along with Bill Justis – and Justis also played saxophone on the session.

After Bill was fired by Drifters’ manager/owner George Treadwell, he would form a group called “The Flyers” which also included Bobby Hendricks.  Earlier in his career, Bill was in a Gospel group called the “Jerusalem Stars” – a group which included Brook Benton.  Then, in 1958, Pinkney would return to the Drifter’s lineup bring Hendricks with him.  It was a short-lived run – Treadwell once again demonstrating his dictatorial approach to managing – firing the entire Drifter’s lineup.

By the mid 1980’s Pinkney’s “Original Drifters” would include Russell Henry, Charles Fowler and Chuck Cockerham – By the turn of the Century the group would be Pinkney along with Henry and Cockerham – now joined by Knight Dunbar and Roger Whitehead – None of these musicians recorded with the Drifters during the Atlantic Records era.

Clyde McPhatter died on June 13th, 1972 at age 39 from heart disease – Rudy Lewis died on May 20th, 1964 from what many believe was a drug overdose – He was only 27 – Ben E. King died on April 30th, 2015 at age 76 – Johnny Moore died on December 30th, 1998 at age 64.  Bill Pickney passed away on July 4th, 2007 at the age of 81.  He was the last original Drifter.  Bobby Hendricks is alive and living and has continued to perform in various versions of Drifters groups close to the present day.

Solo Drifters’ Selected Discography

Clyde McPhatter Discography

McPhatter would move through Atlantic to MGM then to Mercury before signing on with Amy Records in 1965 and then Deram in 1968 and finally Decca all with no chart success.

45 – Atlantic 45-1077 – Love Has Joined Us Together (with Ruth Brown) – Charted Number 8 R&B Charts – Released November, 1955

45 – Atlantic 45-1081 – Seven Days – Charted Number 2 R&B Charts – Number 44 Hot 100 Charts – Released December, 1955

45 – Atlantic 45-1092 – Treasure of Love – Charted Number 1 R&B Charts – Number 18 Hot 100 Charts – Released April, 1956

45 – Atlantic 45-1117 – Without Love (There Is Nothing) – Charted Number 4 R&B Charts – Number 19 Hot 100 – Released November, 1956

45 EP – Atlantic 584 – Clyde McPhatter – Released 1957

45 EP – Atlantic 605 – Rock With Clyde McPhatter – Released 1957

45 – Atlantic 45-1133 – Just To Hold My Hand – Charted Number 6 R&B Charts – Number 26 Hot 100 Charts – Released April, 1957

45 – Atlantic 45-1149 – Long Lonely Nights – Charted Number 1 R&B Charts – Number 49 Hot 100 Charts – Released August, 1957

45 – Atlantic 45-1158 – Rock and Cry – Charted Number 93 Hot 100 Charts – Released September, 1957

45 – Atlantic 45-1170 – No Love Like Her Love b/w That’s Enough For Me – Did Not Chart – Released January, 1958

45 – Atlantic 45-1185 – Come What May – Charted Number 3 R&B Charts – Number 43 Hot 100 Charts – Released April, 1958

45 – Atlantic 45-1199 – A Lover’s Question – Charted Number 1 R&B Charts – Number 6 Hot 100 Charts – Released September, 1958

45 EP – Atlantic 618 – A Lover’s Question – Released January, 1959

45 – Atlantic 45-2018 – Lovey Dovey – Charted Number 12 R&B Charts – Number 49 Hot 100 Charts – Released March, 1959

45 – MGM 12780 – I Told Myself A Lie – Charted Number 70 Hot 100 Charts – Released March, 1959

45 – Atlantic 45-2028 – Since You’ve Been Gone – Charted Number 14 R&B Charts – Number 38 Hot 100 Charts – Released May, 1959

45 – MGM 12816 – Twice As Nice – Charted Number 91 Hot 100 Charts – Released July, 1959

45 – MGM 12843 – Let’s Try Again – Charted Number 48 Hot 100 Charts – Released October, 1959

45 – Atlantic 45-2038 – You Went Back On Your Word – Charted Number 13 R&B Charts – Number 72 Hot 100 Charts – Released January, 1960

45 – Atlantic 45-2049 – Just Give Me A Ring – Charted Number 96 Hot 100 Charts – Released January, 1960

45 – MGM 12877 – Think Me A Kiss – Charted Number 66 Hot 100 Charts – Released February, 1960

45 – Mercury  12843 – Ta Ta – Charted Number 7 R&B Charts – Number 23 Hot 100 Charts – Released July, 1960

45 – MGM 12949 – This Is Not Goodbye b/w One Right After Another – Did Not Chart – Released October, 1960

45 EP – Mercury 80 – Golden Blues Hits – Released 1961

45 – Mercury 71783 – Tomorrow Is A Comin’ b/w I’ll Love You Til The Cows Come Home – Double Sided Hit – Charted Numbers 103 and 110 Bubbling Under Charts – Released February, 1961

45 – Mercury 71841 – I Never Knew – Charted Number 17 R&B Charts – Number 56 Hot 100 Charts – Released June, 1961

45 – Mercury 71941 – Lover Please – Charted Number 7 Hot 100 Charts – Released February, 1962

45 – Mercury 71987 – Little Bitty Pretty One – Charted Number 25 Hot 100 Charts – Released May, 1962

45 – Mercury 72025 – Maybe b/w I Do Believe – Did Not Chart – Released September, 1962

45 – Mercury 72051 – The Best Man Cried – Charted Number 118 Bubbling Under Charts – Released October, 1962

45 – Mercury 72166 – From One To One – Charted Number 127 Bubbling Under Charts – Released August, 1963

45 – Mercury 72220 – Deep In the Heart Of Harlem – Charted Number 10 R&B Charts – Number 90 Hot 100 Charts – Released December, 1963

45 – Mercury 72243 – In My Tenement b/w Second Window, Second Floor – Did Not Chart – Released March, 1964

45 – Mercury 72407 – Crying Won’t Help You Now – Charted Number 22 R&B Charts – Number 117 Bubbling Under Charts – Released March, 1965

45 – Deram 85032 – Only A Fool b/w Thank You Love – Did Not Chart – Released August, 1968

Clyde McPhatter Selected Long Play Discography

None of Clyde’s LP’s managed to reach the popularity charts

LP – Atlantic 8024 – Love Ballads – Released November, 1958

LP – MGM 3775 – Let’s Star Over Again – Released August, 1959

LP – Atlantic 8031 – Clyde – Released September, 1959

LP – MGM 3866 – Clyde’s McPhatter’s Greatest Hits – Released July, 1960

LP – Mercury 60262 – Ta Ta – Released October, 1960

LP – Mercury 20655 – Golden Blues Hits – Released November, 1961

LP – Mercury 20711 – Lover Please! – Released May, 1962

LP – Mercury Wing 16224 – May I Sing For You? – Released May, 1962

LP – Mercury 20750 – Rhythm and Soul – Released November, 1962

LP – Mercury 60783 – Clyde McPhatter’s Greatest Hits – Released June, 1963

LP – Atlantic 8077 – The Best Of Clyde McPhatter – Released July, 1963

LP – Mercury 20902 – Songs of the Big City – Released April, 1964

LP – Mercury 20915 – Live At the Apollo – Released August, 1964

LP – Decca 75231 – Welcome Home – Released August, 1970

Ben E. King Discography

45 – Atco 6185 – Spanish Harlem – Charted Number 15 R&B Charts – Number 10 Hot 100 Charts – b/w First Taste of Love – Charted Number 53 Hot 100 Charts – Released November, 1960

45 – Atco 6194 – Stand By Me – Charted Number 1 for 4 Weeks R&B Charts – Number 4 Hot 100 Charts – Released April, 1961

45 – Atco 6203 – Amor – Charted Number 10 R&B Charts – Number 18 Hot 100 Charts – Released July, 1961

45 – Atco 6207 – Young Boy Blues b/w Here Comes The Night – Double Sided Hit – Charted Numbers 66 and 81 Hot 100 Charts – Released September, 1961

45 – Atco 6215 – Ecstasy – Charted Number 56 Hot 100 Charts – Released January, 1962

45 – Atco 6222 – Don’t Play That Song (You Lied) – Charted Number 2 R&B Charts – Number 10 Hot 100 Charts – Released April, 1962

45 – Atco 6231 – Too Bad – Charted Number 88 Hot 100 Charts – Released July, 1962

45 – Atco 6237 – I’m Standing By – Charted Number 111 Bubbling Under Charts – Released October, 1962

45 – Atco 6246 – Tell Daddy – Charted Number 29 R&B Charts – Number 122 Bubbling Under Charts – Released December, 1962

45 – Atco 6256 – How Can I Forget – Charted Number 23 R&B Charts – Number 85 Hot 100 Charts – Released February, 1963

45 – Atco 6267 – I (Who Have Nothing) – Charted Number 16 R&B Charts – Number 29 Hot 100 Charts – Released June, 1963

45 – Atco 6275 – I Could Have Danced All Night – Charted Number 72 Hot 100 Charts – Released October, 1963

45 EP – Atco 33-165 – Ben E. King’s Greatest Hits – Released 1964

45 – Atco 6288 – That’s When It Hurts b/w Around the Corner – Double Sided Hit – Side 1 Number 17 R&B Charts – Number 63 Hot 100 Charts – Side 2 Number 125 Bubbling Under Charts – Released March, 1964

45 – Atco 6303 – What Can A Man Do – Charted Number 39 R&B Charts – Number 113 Bubbling Under Charts – Released June, 1964

45 – Atco 6315 – It’s All Over – Charted Number 40 R&B Charts – Number 72 Hot 100 Charts – Released September, 1964

45 – Atco 6328 – Seven Letters – Charted Number 11 R&B Charts – Number 45 Hot 100 Charts – Released December, 1964

45 – Atco 6343 – The Record (Baby I Love You) – Charted Number 24 R&B Charts – Number 84 Hot 100 Charts – Released March, 1965

45 – Atco 6357 – She’s Gone Again – Charted Number 128 Bubbling Under Charts – Released May, 1965

45 – Atco 6390 – Goodnight My Love – Charted Number 91 Hot 100 Charts – Released December, 1965

45 – Atco 6413 – So Much Love – Charted Number 96 Hot 100 Charts – Released April, 1966

45 – Atco 6454 – What Is Soul? – Charted Number 38 R&B Charts – Released November, 1966

45 – Atco 6472 – Tears, Tears, Tears – Charted Number 34 R&B Charts – Number 93 Hot 100 Charts – Released March, 1967

45 – Atco 6557 – We Got A Thing Going On – Charted Number 127 Bubbling Under Charts – Released February, 1968

45 – Atco 6571 – Don’t Take Your Love From Me – Charted Number 44 R&B Charts – Number 117 Bubbling Under Charts – Released April, 1968

45 – Atco 6637 – Til I Can’t Take It Anymore – Charted Number 45 R&B Charts – Number 134 Bubbling Under Charts – Released November, 1968

45 – Maxwell 800 – I Can’t Take It Like A Man – Charted Number 45 R&B Charts – Released November, 1969

45 – Atlantic 3241 – Supernatural Thing – Charted Number 1 R&B Charts – Number 5 Hot 100 Charts – Released January, 1975

45 – Atlantic 3274 – Do It In the Name of Love – Charted Number 4 R&B Charts – Number 60 Hot 100 Charts – Released May, 1975

45 – Atlantic 3308 – I Had A Love – Charted Number 23 R&B Charts – Released December, 1975

45 – Atlantic 3402 – Get It Up – Charted Number 21 R&B Charts – Released May, 1977

45 – Atlantic 3427 – A Star in the Ghetto – Charted Number 25 R&B Charts – Released August, 1977

45 – Atlantic 3635 – Music Trance – Charted Number 29 R&B Charts – Released January, 1980

45 – Atlantic 89361 – Stand By Me – Charted Number 9 Hot 100 – Released September, 1986

(From the motion picture of the same name)

Ben E. King Long Play Discography

LP – Atco 133 – Spanish Harlem – Charted Number 57 LP Charts – Released July, 1961

LP – Atco 137 – Ben E. King Sings For Soulful Lovers – Released February, 1962

LP – Atco 142 – Don’t Play That Song! – Released May, 1962

LP – Clarion 606 – Young Boy Blues – Released 1965

LP – Atco 174 – Seven Letters – Released January, 1965

LP – Maxwell 88001 – Rough Edges – Released 1970

LP – Mandella 3007 – The Beginning Of It All – Released 1971

LP – Alantic 18132 – Supernatural – Charted Number 39 LP Charts – Released April, 1975

LP – Atlantic 18169 – I Had A Love – Released 1976

LP – Atlantic 19105 – Benny and Us – Charted Number 33 LP Charts – (with the Average White Band) – Released June, 1977

LP – Atlantic 19200 – Let Me Live In Your Life – Released 1978

LP – Atlantic 19269 – Music Trance – Released 19080

LP – Atlantic 19300 – Street Tough – Released 1981

Johnny Moore Discography

(Johnny Moore also recorded as “Johnny Darrow” after coming back home from his stint in the Army – His birth name was John Darrel Moore)

45 – Sue 726 – Why Do You Treat Me This Way b/w Hand In Hand – Released April, 1960

45 – Sue 728 – Jo Ann Delilah b/w Don’t Start Me Talking – Released August, 1960

45 – Sue 733 – That’s Good b/w Hold Hands Break Hearts – Released November, 1960

45 – Sue 741 – Love Is A Nightmare b/w Poor Boy – Released 1961

45 – Sue 738 – Chew Tobacco b/w The Spider Walk – Released January, 1961

45 – Melic 0013 – A Fool’s Paradise b/w Miracle – Released 1963

45 – Weezie 101 – Don’t Start Me Talking b/w Joann Deliah – Released 1989

Rudy Lewis Discography

45 – Red Top 124 – A Rainbow In My Eyes b/w Nobody Knows – Released 1959

45 – Atlantic 45-2193 – Baby I Dig Love b/w I’ve Loved You So Long – Released June, 1963

Bill Pinkney Discography

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45 – Phillips International 3524 – After The Hop b/w Sally’s Got A Sister – Released March, 1958

45 – Fontana 1956 – I Do The Jerk b/w Don’t Call Me – Released December, 1964

45 – Veep 1264 – The Masquerade Is Over b/w I Found Some Lovin’ – (with “The Originals”) Released May, 1967

45 – Game 393 – Can You Forgive (If You Can’t Forget) b/w Ol’ Man River – (with “The O.D.’s”) – Released 1968

45 – Game 394 – Millionaire b/w Ol’ Man River – (with “The Original Drifters”) – released 1969

45 – S&J 800826 – (More Than A Number In My) Little Red Book b/w I Count The Tears – (with “The Original Drifters”) – Released 1980

45 – Christopher 103 – Just Drifting Along b/w I’m The Original – (with “The Original Drifters”) Released 1989

Bobby Hendricks Discography

45 – Sue 706 – Itchy Twitchy Feeling – Charted Number 5 R&B Charts – Number 25 Hot 100 Charts – Released June, 1958

45 – Sue 732 – Psycho – Charted Number 73 Hot 100 Charts – Released September, 1960

45 – Mercury 71881 – I’m Coming Home – Charted Number 103 Bubbling Under Charts – Released September, 1961

45 – MGM 13179 – Let’s Get Over It b/w Love In My Heart – Did Not Chart – Released October, 1963

45 – Williams 001 – She Used To Hold Me b/w Go On Home Girl – Did Not Chart – Released September, 1968

Drifting…..

November 25, 2019
craigr244

The Many Faces of the Drifters

Drifters – January, 1965

Attempting to track the story of the R&B greats – The Drifters – can be maddening to say the least.

Without the benefit of an intricate road map such as Marv Goldberg’s R&B historical site – good luck.

The Drifter’s story begins with failure of sorts back in 1953.  That was the year that Dominoe’s lead singer Clyde McPhatter was more or less lured away from Bill Ward’s group by one of the founders of Atlantic Records – Ahmet Ertegun.  McPhatter wasn’t completely happy with his role as a Dominoe – Followers of the group generally assumed Billy Ward was the primary lead voice of the group, not Clyde.

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Ahmet Ertegun

Clyde’s time with the Dominoes lasted about a year and on recordings he was prominently featured as lead voice on “Have Mercy Baby” (number 1 R&B for 10 weeks), “”I’d Be Satisfied” (number 8 R&B), and then the early 1953 release “The Bells” which went to number 3. (The Dominoe’s earlier monster hit “Sixty Minute Man” from the spring of 1951 featured the lead bass voice of Bill Brown but McPhatter was part of the group at the time having recently signed on.  That song would go to number 1 R&B and remain there for 14 straight weeks and would chart number 17 on the Billboard Pop Charts.

Excited by the prospect of getting a shot at joining the Atlantic roster, McPhatter quickly rounded up a group of fellow church singers who sang with Clyde in the “Mount Lebanon Singers”.  And so it was that Clyde along with David Baughan, William Anderson, Charlie White, James Johnson and David Baldwin entered the studio to cut four tracks.

The “Mount Lebanon” Version of Drifters – A No Go

Very quickly Ahmet with his experience in R&B put a nix on this assemblage and so Clyde was challenged to quickly put together a second lineup.  This one would include Gerhart and and Andrew Thrasher gospel singers from “The Thrasher Wonders”, accompanied by Willie Ferbee and Walter Adams.  This second set of Drifters would stick and would record the group’s very first charting recording, “Money Honey” which would come out in the fall of 1953 released on the Atlantic label.

The Second Drifters Set – This One Would Stick – But Not for Long

What a beginning it would be for the Drifters:  “Money Honey” skyrocketed the the top of the R&B charts remaining at number 1 for 11 weeks.  An oddity occurred on the next Drifter’s release – a double sided hit with “Such A Night” on the “A” side and “Lucille” on the “B” side.  The two songs would go to numbers 2 and 7 respectively R&B – And so we ended up with a record which featured McPhatter’s second grouping of Drifters per Ahmet’s request on side one.  “Lucille”, however, was from the first Drifter recording session with the quickly disbanded Drifters singing along with Clyde.

So two nearly different groups of Drifters on a single recording – both charting!

So after this curious beginning – Drifters would come and go – be dispatched by the Drifter’s owner George Treadwell, return, reassemble – break up, fracture into multiple sets of Drifters.  There would be an additional generally “stable” set of Drifters in 1958 when a group called “The Crowns” got an opportunity after Treadwell suddenly fired the entire group of Drifters.  Since he had obligations for his group to make public appearances nearly a year into the future – this would be an opportunity for the “Crowns” whose lead singer was Benjamin Earl Nelson who performed as “Ben E. King”.

This group had a very nice run up into the 1960’s.  Basically the Drifters had four strong runs with different lead singers (and many changes in lineup members) those being first the Clyde McPhatter era – then the Ben E. King era, the Rudy Lewis era and finally the Johnny Moore era as will be demonstrated below by the selected discography.

A couple of others who held down the lead chores for a short time included Bobby Hendricks who had a considerable hit in 1958 titled “Itchy Twitch Feeling” which peaked R&B number 5 and number 25 Hot 100.  Another was David Baughan who would go onto front the R&B group “The Harps”.

All in all there were more than 60 members of the various combinations of Drifters – The group benefited from top of the line composers in the 1960’s.  At times the Drifters would hit the road and would perform as “The Coasters” and other times as “The Ravens” to an unsuspecting public.  George Treadwell paid low wages and never had empathy for his singers – At one point after original Drifter Bill Pinkney asked for a raise, Treadwell fired him.  This inspired Andrew Thrasher to quit in protest.  At an Apollo Theater appearance a couple of the group members argued with the promoter.  Treadwell’s reaction to this incident was to fire all the Drifters and start over once again.

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Tight-Fisted Drifters’ Owner – George Treadwell

Treadwell would later lose lead singer Ben E. King when he refused to grant him a salary increase.

Spin-off groups included “Bill Binkney’s Original Drifters”, and in one instance Pinkney brought in a group called the “Tears” to act as Drifters for a brief tour.  Dock Green led his own Drifters in the 70’s and 80’s.  Ray Lewis and Roy Hemmings did the same as did Bobby Hendricks.  Don Thomas led “Don Thomas and the Drifters Review”.  Clyde McPhatter’s son, Ronn, got into the act after his father’s death called “Clyde McPhatter’s Drifters”.  And old tightwad Treadwell would put together “The Drifters Legends which included four lesser known former members.

Real as Real Can Be – Dock Green’s Drifters

Later on the group in various forms in the 1970’s enjoyed some chart success in the U.K. but nothing approaching the earlier days.

Recognition

When it came to memorialize the Drifters – a couple of different approaches were taken by the music industry.  The “Vocal Group Hall of Fame” honored two sets of Drifters calling the first “The Original Drifters” (inducted in 1998) and the second “Ben E. King and the Drifters” inducted in 2000.

The “Rock and Roll Hall of Fame” elected to mix it up.  In 1988 the Hall named originals Bill Pinkney, Gerhart Thrasher and Clyde McPhatter along with following members Charlie Thomas, Ben E. King, Johnny Moore, and Rudy Lewis as a Drifter-Conglomerate.

Top: McPhatter – Thrasher – Pinkney – King – Bottom: Lewis – Moore – Thomas

The Drifters Selected Discography with Lead Vocalists

the Drifters would place 66 songs on the popularity charts from 1953 into 1977 including U.K. chart appearances.  Their final eight charting songs would only appear on the U.K. charts.

The Drifters remained with Atlantic Records through all of the turmoil and changes up until 1973 when they moved over to Bell Records.*  Only one track on Bell would dent the charts – “Kissin’ In The Back Row of the Movies”, a reach back to capture some earlier magic.

NOTE: There was one very brief stint (one 45) on a small record label out of Gary, Indiana, “Steeltown” – placed on that label by composer Henry Farag who often placed his songs with small area labels.  The Jackson 5’s very first 45 release came out on Steel-Town (Steeltown) in 1968, “We Don’t Have To Be 21 (To Fall In Love)” b/w “Jam Session”.

Clyde McPhatter Lead Vocals – June, 1953 through July, 1955

45 – Atlantic 45-1006 – “Money Honey” – Charted Number 1 R&B for 11 Weeks – Released August, 1953

45 EP – Atlantic 45-534 – The Drifters Sing Featuring Clyde McPhatter – Released 1955

45 – Atlantic 45-1019 – Such A Night b/w Lucille – Double Sided Hit Number’s 2 and 7 R&B – Released January, 1954

45 – Atlantic 45-1043 – Bip Bam b/w Someday – Did Not Chart – Released October, 1954

45 – Atlantic 45-1048 – White Christmas – Charted Number 2 R&B 1954 – Number 5 R&B 1955 and Number 80 Hot 100 – Number 12 1956 R&B

(McPhatter and Bill Pinkney shared lead vocals)

45 – Atlantic 45-1055 – Whatcha’ Gonna Do – Charted Number 2 R&B – Released February, 1955

Johnny Moore Lead Vocals – September, 1955 through October, 1957

(Johnny Moore had two runs with the Drifters – He would return in 1964 and would again become their lead voice after Rudy Lewis suddenly passed away in May of that year._)

45 – Atlantic 45- 1078 – Adorable b/w Steamboat – Double Sided Hit – Charted Numbers 1 and 5 R&B Charts – Released October, 1955

45 – Atlantic 45-1089 – Ruby Baby – Charted Number 10 R&B – Released March, 1956

45 – Atlantic 45-1101 – Soldier of Fortune b/w I Gotta Get Myself A Woman – Double Sided Hit – Charted Number 10 Both Sides R&B – Released July, 1956

45 – Atlantic 45-1123 – Fools Fall In Love – Charted Number 10 R&B – Number 69 Hot 100 – Released January, 1957

45 EP – Atlantic 592 – The Drifters – Released 1957

45 – Atlantic 45-1141 – Hypnotized – Charted Number 79 Hot 100 – Released May, 1957

Bobby Hendricks Lead Vocals – October, 1957 through April, 1958

45 – Atlantic 45-1187 – Drip Drop b/w Moonlight Bay – Double Sided Hit – Charted Numbers 58 and 72 Hot 100 – Released May, 1958

Lead Vocals for the B Side – Moonlight Bay was by the entire group

Ben E. King Lead Vocals – March, 1959 through May, 1960

(Several Ben . King tracks released after his departure)

45 – Atlantic 45-2025 – There Goes My Baby – Charted Number 1 R&B – Number 2 Hot 100 – Released April, 1959

45 – Atlantic 45-2040 – Dance With Me/(If You Cry) True Love, True Love Double Sided Hit – Side One Charted Number 2 R&B – Number 15 Hot 100 – Side 2 Charted Number 5 R&B – Number 33 Hot 100 – Released September, 1959

Lead Vocal on True Love, True Love by Johnny Lee Williams

45 – Atlantic 45-2050 – This Magic Moment – Charted Number 4 R&B – Number 20 Hot 100 – Released January, 1960

45 – Atlantic 45-2062 – Lonely Winds – Charted Number 9 R&B – Number 54 Hot 100 – Released May, 1960

45 – Atlantic 45-2071 – Save The Last Dance For Me – Charted Number 1 R&B – Number 1 Hot 100 for 3 Weeks – Released August, 1960

45 – Atlantic 45-2087 – I Count The Tears – Charted Number 6 R&B – Number 17 Hot 100 – Released November, 1960

Rudy Lewis Lead Vocals – February, 1961 through May, 1964

Rudy passed away on May 5th, 1964)

45 – Atlantic 45-2096 – Some Kind Of Wonderful – Charted Number 6 R&B – Number 32 Hot 100 – Released March, 1961

45 – Atlantic 45-2105 – Please Stay – Charted Number 13 R&B – Number 14 Hot 100 – Released May, 1961

45 – Atlantic 45-2117 – Sweets For My Sweet – Charted Number 10 R&B – Number 16 Hot 100 – Released August, 1961

45 – Atlantic 45-2127 – Room Full Of Tears – Charted Number 72 Hot 100 – Released November, 1961

Charlie Thomas Lead Vocal on Room Full of Tears

45 – Atlantic 45-2134 – When My Little Girl Is Smiling – Charted Number 28 Hot 100 – Released February, 1962

45 – Atlantic 45-2143 – Stranger on the Shore – Charted Number 73 Hot 100 – Released April, 1962

45 – Atlantic 45-2151 – Sometimes I Wonder – Charted Number 103 Music Vendor/Record World Charts – Released June, 1962

Ben E. King Lead Vocal

45 – Atlantic 45-2162 – Up On the Roof – Charted Number 4 R&B – Number 5 Hot 100 – Released September, 1962

45 – Atlantic 45-2182 – On Broadway – Charted Number 7 R&B – Number 9 Hot 100 – Released March, 1963

45 – Atlantic 45-2191 – If You Don’t Come Back – Charted Number 101 Bubbling Under Charts – Rat Race Charted Number 71 – Released May, 1963

(Johnny Moore Lead Vocal A Side – Rudy Lewis B Side)

45 – Atlantic 45-2201 – I’ll Take You Home – Charted Number 24 R&B – Number 25 Hot 100 – Released August, 1963

45 – Atlantic 45-2216 – Vaya Con Dios – Charted Number 10 R&B – Number 43 Hot 100 – Released January, 1964

Johnny Moore Lead Vocals – Returns for 2nd Stint – April, 1963 through into 1973

45 – Atlantic 45-2225 – One-Way Love – Charted Number 12 R&B – Number 56 Hot 100 – Released April, 1964

45 – Atlantic 45-2237 – Under The Boardwalk – Charted Number 1 R&B for 3 Weeks – Number 4 Hot 100 – Released June, 1964

45 EP – Atlantic SD 8099 – The Drifters Under The Boardwalk – Released 1964

45 – Atlantic 45-2253 – I’ve Got Sand In My Shoes – Charted Number 21 R&B – Number 33 Hot 100 – “B” Side He’s Just a Playboy Charted Number 115 Bubbling Under Charts – Released September, 1964

45 – Atlantic 45-2260 – Saturday Night At the Movies – Charted Number 8 R&B – Number 18 Hot 100 – Released October, 1964

45 – Atlantic 45-2261 – The Christmas Song/I Remember Christmas – Did Not Chart – Released December, 1964

45 – Atlantic 45-2268 – At the Club – Charted Number 10 R&B – Number 43 Hot 100 – Released January, 1965

45 – Atlantic 45-2285 – Come On Over To My Place b/w Chains of Love – Double Sided Hit – Charted Numbers 60 and 90 Hot 100 – Released April, 1965

Johnny Moore lead vocal A side – Charlie Thomas B side

45 – Atlantic 45-2292 – The Outside World – Charted Number 116 Music World/Record Vendor – Released June, 1965

Charlie Thomas Lead Vocal

45 – Atlantic 45-2310 – We Gotta Sing – Charted Number 130 Music Vendor/Record World Charts – Released November, 1965

45 – Atlantic 45-2325 – Memories Are Made Of This – Charted Number 48 Hot 100 – Released February, 1966

45 – Atlantic 45-2336 – You Can’t Love Them All – Charted Number 127 Bubbling Under Charts – Up In The Streets Of Harlen Charted Number 132 Music Vendor/Record World Charts – Released June, 1966

Charlie Thomas Lead Vocals A Side – Johnny Moore B Side

45 – Atlantic 45-2366 – Baby, What I Mean – Charted Number 37 R&B – Number 62 Hot 100 – Released November, 1966

45 – Atlantic 45-2426 – Ain’t It The Truth – Charted Number 36 R&B – Number 127 Music Vendor/Record World Charts – Released July, 1967

45 – Atlantic 45-2471 – Still Burning In My Heart – Charted Number 111 Bubbling Under Charts – Released December, 1967

45 – Bell 45,600 – Kissin in the Back Row of the Movies – Charted Number 83 R&B – Number 138 Music Vendor/Record World Charts – Released August, 1974

45 – Musicor 1498 – A Midsummer Night In Harlem – Charted Number 106 Music Vendor/Record World Charts – Released September, 1974

The Drifters Long Play Selected Discography

LP – Atlantic 8003 – Clyde McPhatter and the Drifters – Released July, 1957

LP – Atlantic 8022 – Rockin’ & Driftin’ – Released November, 1958

LP – Atlantic 8041 – The Drifters’ Greatest Hits – Released June, 1960

LP – Atlantic 8059 – Save The Last Dance For Me – Released February, 1962

LP – Atlantic 8073 – Up On The Roof – Charted Number 110 Billboard LP Charts – Released February, 1963

LP – Atlantic 8093 – Our Biggest Hits – Released May, 1964

LP – Atlantic 8099 – Under the Boardwalk – Charted Number 40 Billboard LP Charts – Released August, 1964

(First and Second Issue Covers Shown)

LP – Atlantic 8103 – The Good Life with The Drifters – Charted Number 103 Billboard LP Charts – Released January, 1965

LP – Atlantic 8113 – I’ll Take You Where The Music’s Playing – Released September, 1965

LP – Atlantic 8153 – The Drifters’ Golden Hits – Charted Number 122 Billboard LP Charts – Released January, 1968

LP – Atco 33-375 – Their Greatest Recordings – The Early Years – Released November, 1971

LP – Atlantic 81927 – Let The Boogie-Woogie Roll – Greatest Hits 1953-1958 – Released 1988