The Dells are one of the longest-lived rhythm & blues vocal groups. Their origins date back to 1952, and the group’s original lineup – lead tenor Johnny Funches, second tenor Verne Allison, lead baritone Marvin Junior, baritone Michael “Mickey” McGill and bass Chuck Barksdale – changed only when John E. Carter replaced Funches in 1959. Between 1956 and 1992, the Dells racked up an astonishing 46 R&B hits. Eight of those made the pop Top 40, including their signature songs, “Stay in My Corner” and “Oh, What a Nite.” They were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2004.
In this clip, curatorial director Howard Kramer shares the story behind the Dells and their onstage battle against 1996 Hall of Fame inductees Gladys Knights and the Pips at the Apollo Theater in New York City. The Dells are featured in a special exhibit at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland, Ohio.
Herb Reed, the last surviving original member of the Platters, died on June 4, 2012, after losing his battle with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. The Platters were arguably the most significant vocal group of rock and roll's early decades, performing sold-out shows in more than 100 countries, cutting nearly 400 recordings and selling millions of albums. Founding member Herb Reed's inimitable bass vocals were an instrumental part in shaping the instantly recognizable harmonies of the quintet's litany of memorable tracks. Songs such as "The Great Pretender," "Smoke Gets In Your Eyes," "Only You" and "Twilight Time" – to name but a few – forever enriched the American songbook.
Reed, founding member of the Platters, was born in Kansas City, Missouri, in 1929. 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. Reed sang bass on the Platters’ lengthy string of hits, which began in 1955 with “Only You” and continued until the ...