"The Platters" were the most successful vocal group of the early rock and roll era. Their distinctive sound was a bridge between the pre-rock Tin Pan Alley tradition, and the burgeoning new genre. The act went through many personnel changes, but the most popular and successful incarnation included lead tenor Tony Williams, David Lynch, Paul Robi, Herb Reed, and Zola Taylor.
In 1953, songwriter/arranger/manager Buck Ram was intrigued with the rich tenor singing of Tony Williams, who was connected with the original configuration of the Platters. After orchestrating some personnel changes, the act signed with Federal Records. Under Ram's guidance, the Platters recorded seven singles for Federal in the R&B/gospel style, scoring a few minor successes on the West Coast. One song recorded during their Federal tenure, ''Only You (And You Alone),'' was deemed unreleasable by the label.
Despite their lack of chart success, the Platters were a profitable touring group-- successful enough that the Penguins, coming off their #2 ''Earth Angel'' single, asked Ram to manage them as well. With the Penguins in hand, Ram was able to parlay Mercury Records' interest into a 2-for-1 de...