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Herb Reed, Last Of 'The Platters,' Dies

One of the early versions of The Platters (in 1955), with Herb Reed at far left.
Frank Driggs Collection
Getty Images
One of the early versions of The Platters (in 1955), with Herb Reed at far left.
Two samples of The Platters

"Herb Reed, the last surviving original member of 1950s vocal group the Platters who sang on hits like 'Only You' and 'The Great Pretender,' " has died at a Boston area hospice, The Associated Press reports. He was 84 and had been in declining health, according to his manager, Fred Balboni.

It was the bass-voiced Reed who came up with the group's name, as All Things Considered reported in 2000:

"I used to listen to disc jockeys refer to records as being platters," Reed said. " 'Here we're going to spin another platter by so and so. We're going to spin this platter by so and so.' And that's where I got the idea."

The group's other hits included "My Prayer," "Twilight Time" and "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes." As it says on The Platters' page at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame website:

"The Platters were one of the top vocal groups of the Fifties, delivering smooth, stylized renditions of pop standards. Like the Ink Spots a decade earlier, they were the most popular black group of their time, achieving success in a crooning, middle-of-the-road style that put a soulful coat of uptown polish on pop-oriented, harmony-rich material."

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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Corrected: June 4, 2012 at 11:00 PM CDT
An earlier version of this post said that Herb Reed died at 83. That information came from The Associated Press. Reed's manager tells NPR, however, that he was 84.
Mark Memmott is NPR's supervising senior editor for Standards & Practices. In that role, he's a resource for NPR's journalists – helping them raise the right questions as they do their work and uphold the organization's standards.

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