You know, I’m thoroughly shocked! Absolutely dumbfounded! That the hugely popular musical group called “The Platters” only had one number one hit, and only two top 10s, according to Billboards’ Top 100 Charts (since formed in 1952)! Holy cow! Well, let me tell you, growing up, The Platters as a group were certainly #1 in our family. I remember my grandpa playing this group just as much as all his other favorites. Even as a young child, this was the kind of music I personally gravitated to.
The Original Lead Singer, Johnny Barnes, Had The Most Beautiful Voice!
The original lead singer, Johnny Barnes, had the most beautiful male voices I ever heard at the time. Even today, no other group comes to mind (when it comes to doo-wop), where their lead singer carries a tune so beautifully the way he did. Actually, you know I should add a small disclaimer to my prior statement. There were so many members that changed, members that were swapped, etc., Johnny may not actually be the original lead singer. However, his voice is the predominant voice I remembered growing up. There were sooooo many songs they produced, that became my all-time favorites. One of them on the top of that list, which also happens to be their only #1 song, is called “Smoke Gets In Your Eyes,” released in 1959. Man…. For me to be so young, and know nothing about love/adult relationship and somehow be able to connect with this song, was a huge testament to the power of his voice.
I was thrilled when I actually found a YouTube video of Johnny Barnes singing some of their old tunes! That was so cool! Now, that was a moment I hope the guests cherished. I would have loved to be present for that. If my research is correct, Gaynel Hodge is the only living member left from the legendary Platters. You know, considering all the scandals I’ve read; including drugs, as well as 4 male members being accused of sex trafficking (although never charged), I don’t even understand how that group continued to exist in that era, especially when news like that entered the public domain. Honestly, I really think that Johnny’s voice saved The Platters from total destruction. If they were not so talented, and had great songs, they would have been toast by the end of the 60s.
Before I close this article, I’d like to leave you with some more of my Platters favorites. “Only You (And You Alone),” “The Great Pretender,” “You’ve Got The Magic Touch,” “My Prayer,” “My Way,” “Unchained Melody,” “Please Have Mercy,” “I’m Sorry,” “As Time Goes By,” and finally, “I Only Have Eyes For You.” Thanks for reading… I hope you’ve enjoyed this article.
Today, I’d like to write about an awesome classic, Rock The Boat by Hues Corporation. The Hues Corporation probably became the most famous Black musical group on the planet, because of their hit “Rock The Boat,” which was released in 1974. This massively popular song became their one an only major hit single. The song reached #1 for a total of one week!
Song Reached #1 For One Week!
Although the song only stayed number one for a week; It felt like it was still number one for years I remember waking up, the stations were paying it; came home from school and the stations were playing it; barbecues parties were playing it; oh my goodness!! You young kids just don’t understand. Despite only having one big hit, that big hit was a major contribution to Black disco music.
They officially got together as a group in 1969, and dominated the disco scene with their first album featuring “Rock The Boat.” Now, according to sources, the single sold over 2 million copies. However, I don’t know what the cut off date was? Because even when the song finally dropped off the charts, we still heard it in commercials and other venues, which means it was till making money. I am almost positive that even when they removed their 7″ from circulation, the 12″ versions are usually sold for a lot longer. Not sure if those are under a different category? Interesting now that I think about it.
The group disbanded by the eighties, and once again reformed sometime in the 90s. I believe the current members are Flemming Williams, St. Claire Lee, & H. Ann Kelley. The group still looks good by the way, especially Flemming; I’ve read reports that he was heavy in to drugs unfortunately. Can’t say that I’m surprised at that. This was something that was unfortunately common. Other musicians loved to work with The Hues Corporation. To my understanding, they had great relationships with other groups such as The Spinners.
The Group Appeared In The 1972 Cult Movie Classic, Blacula!
There’s one other song that did not do too bad on the charts. The song is called “Rockin’ Soul,” which is on the same album. It reached #18 on the Top 100. I think it’s an ok song. It’s kind of reminiscent of “Rock The Boat,” it has that same obvious flavor. Let me say that this album was not a bad album; they’re a very talented group; it’s just unfortunate that they didn’t have a lot of huge hits.
I’d like to recommend one last song from this album. The song is called, “I’ll Take A Melody.” I am very surprised that this didn’t make the charts. The medley kind of reminds me of Ann Murry’s “A Love Song,” which is also another one of my very favorite classic country songs.
Oh boy. Do I remember the song called Ten Percent by Double Exposure. I was only nine years old when I was grooving to this song. Having said that, I guess this is one of those rare moments, when it comes to disco music, and disco remixes, the beat is important if you want people to dance. I don’t even think I was paying attention to the lyrics at that age; but boy did I love to groove to this song.
Group Was Extremely Underrated
As talented as this group was, the group was extremely underrated in my strong opinion. Although Ten Percent did reach the 2nd position on the Billboard Dance Charts, they should have had way more than that. That is, considering the fact that their sound was very close to that of Tavares, and The 4 Tops; and both those groups had huge success.
They Were Signed To Salsoul Records
I had absolutely no idea, or memory that they were signed to Salsoul Records at the time this gem was released. Now, if anyone knows about disco & Latin disco, the Salsoul label was IT back in the day. If you were signed to one of those labels, you were practically guaranteed a hit career. Maaaaaan please. I’m not going to even go in to their long music roster.
They’re still performing, and still looking good! Before I forget, I’d like to share another huge favorite, which hit the 15th position on the Dance Billboard Charts. The song in called My Love Is Free. A last huge favorite of mine that didn’t make the charts, and was released in 1978. The song is called, Perfect Lover. I just loved there ability to switch from disco to soul, and back again without missing a step.
You know, usually, we can make a reasonable assumption that just about anything we think of can be found on the net. However, this is one of those rare cases were virtually no biographical text appears to be available anywhere on cyberspace on this group. I don’t mean to beat a dead horse….. But…. We’re loosing our history! It’s pretty frustrating when I can’t fulfill my responsibilities as a classic blogger, because I am unable to find proper resources. The Family’s Do The Robot, should have been on The Billboards at least. Anyway……
Many Aliases Of MFSB
The best information, or should I say clue about the group called “The Family,” as that the name was one of many aliases of MFSB (Mother, Father, Sister, Brother). I’m guessing that the names must have changed, as the group members changed. As I remember it, the band wasn’t really a “group,” but a project. So, it’s entirely possible that “The Family,” (not to be confused with “Sly and The Family Stone”) did not do well on the charts overall, and decided to change the name of their group project, to reflect the change in music.
During The Dance Craze
Unfortunately Spotify doesn’t have this song, but I still wanted to share it with you guys because it was one of my memories growing up. Although I didn’t see any Billboard information, I remembered this to be very popular, and it was released during the dance craze years. Just to clarify to my younger readers, when I say “Dance Craze,” I don’t mean we never really danced before. The meaning of “dance craze,” for me is when an artist/band creates their own dance, gives it a name, and associates a song to that new dance. That’s the difference between a “dance craze,” and “dance music.” Check out Do The Robot On YouTube!
Wow! When I tell you this band was HUGE! I do mean HUGE! Another forgotten band that is worthy of remembering, especially if you’re a fan of funk music. In fact, in my opinion they were the kings of funk; their music was similar to Parliament. Although the Ohio Players had many more hits. In addition to probably being most remembered for their risque album covers; they’re also remembered for one of their biggest hits of their career. The song is called “Fire,” released in 1975. “Fire” hit #1 and stayed there for one week. I saw a lot of my family’s friends had this very album in their collection!
Another huge Ohio Players hit was “Love Rollercoaster,” this song also hit #1 and stayed there for an entire week, and it too was released in 1975. This became one of those barbecue/cook out songs back in the day. Oh, I can’t forget about “Skin Tight,” released in 1974, and reached #13th on the charts. There’s one last song I want you guys to listen to, the song is called “Here Today, Gone Tomorrow” from their “Observation In Time” album, released in 1969. I really loved this song, and I was quite surprised not to see it in the charts. Interesting that this was more of a soul album, and it appeared when they changed to their iconic funk sound, their career exploded.