The possessor of one of the most influential R&B voices of all time, Clyde McPhatter wasn’t merely a wonderful singer, he was directly responsible for founding a dynasty - viz: The Drifters, who’ve gone on to become a cornerstone of popular music.
McPhatter had been lead singer on Billy Ward & the Dominoes’ early 50s hits, most notably their 1952 R&B No.1 ‘Have Mercy Baby’, and in 1953 he was poached by Atlantic Records and persuaded to form a new group, who became Clyde McPhatter & The Drifters. They struck paydirt with their very first release, the million-selling ‘Money Honey’, and subsequently unleashed a remarkable run of hits, including million-sellers ‘Such A Night’, ‘Honey Love’ and ‘White Christmas’.
They also backed fellow-Atlantic artist Ruth Brown on a quartet of sides, billed as ‘Her Rhythmakers’. In 1955 Clyde was persuaded to quit to pursue a solo career, which yielded further million-sellers like ‘Treasure Of Love’, ‘Without Love’ and ‘A Lover’s Question’. Meanwhile, The Drifters soldiered on with a new lead singer, Johnny Moore, topping the R&B charts with their very next release, ‘Adorable’.