Bo Grant of The Platters set for August shows at Papa Rocco’s
Mobile resident will play in Gulf Shores Aug. 11, 12, 25 & 26
As a member of the Platters, Charles “Bo” Grant traveled all over the country and the world from 1981 to 1998. The last performer to replace an original member of the group, Grant said those years leading the band that defined the doo-wop era of pop music in the ’50s and ’60s were among his most memorable.
“They were some enjoyable, entertaining and awesome, wonderful years,” said. “The music of the Platters is some of the greatest ever recorded, It can’t be duplicated.”
A Mobile resident, Grant, while looking to establish a relationship with a venue in Baldwin County, kept hearing the name Bill McGinnis, owner of Papa Rocco’s in Gulf Shores.
“He came by and we had a good conversation,’’ McGinnis said. “He knew that Johnny Williams (formerly of the Drifters) sang here for years, and he was looking to establish something similar to that. We decided to schedule four dates to see if it works out for him and for us and see where it goes from there.’’
Grant will play beginning around 7 p.m. at Papa Rocco’s on August 11-12 and August 25-26.
“I listened to him on youtube and he was great. People are already calling to see if they can get reservations,’’ McGinnis said. “I love all those Platters songs. I think this is something that could really work.’’
Grant has released two solo albums since his Platters days, but he still sings all of the group’s standards such as “Smoke Gets in Your Eyes,” “The Great Pretender,” and “Only You.” He also sings other hits from the ‘50s and ’60s.
The Platters’ distinctive sound was a bridge between the pre-rock Tin Pan Alley tradition and the burgeoning new genre. The group had 40 charting singles between 1955 and 1967, including four no. 1 hits. For a period of time, they were the most successful vocal group in the world.
Formed in Los Angeles in 1952, the original group consisted of Alex Hodge, Cornell Gunter, David Lynch, Joe Jefferson, Gaynel Hodge and Herb Reed. In June 1953, Gunter left to join the Flaires and was replaced by lead vocalist Tony Williams.
“Only You” was the group’s first Top Ten hit. The follow-up, “The Great Pretender,” with lyrics written in the washroom of the Flamingo Hotel in Las Vegas by Buck Ram, became the Platters’ first national #1 hit, with an 11-week run atop the charts. The Platters’ unique vocal style had touched a nerve in the music-buying public, and a string of hit singles followed, including three more national #1 hits and more modest chart successes followed.
The group was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1990 and into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in its inaugural year of 1998. The Platters were the first rock and roll group to have a Top Ten album in America. They were also the only act to have three songs included on the American Graffiti soundtrack that fueled an oldies revival already underway in the early to mid-1970s.
The group’s line-up changed many times over the years, and the splintering of the group’s line-up led to wrangling over the Platters’ name, with injunctions, non-compete clauses and multiple versions of the act touring at the same time. Gaynel Hodge is the only original member of the Platters still alive. Herb Reed died in June 2012 at 83. Reed was the only group member to appear on every original Platters recording.