You Say It's Your Birthday: Bobby Hendricks Of The Drifters

Today is the 60th birthday of Bobby Hendricks, former vocalist for the

Drifters. The Drifters helped give birth to soul music by applying

gospel-style vocals to such legendary songs as "Money Honey," "This Magic Moment"

and "Save The Last Dance For Me," among others. Though doo-wop and soul

probably would have hit without them, their songs, choreography and

ability to remain popular despite a continually revolving lineup were

a tremendous influence on everyone from such Motown acts as the

Temptations to Philly soul artists such as Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes to current

artists such as Boyz II Men, Jodeci and Dru Hill. The

group came together when vocalist Clyde McPhatter parted ways with Billy

Ward and His Dominoes in 1953 and formed his own group at the encouragement

of Atlantic Records' Ahmet Ertegun. McPhatter found his first set of

vocalists singing in the choir at Harlem's Mount Lebanon Church in New York, and the

group soon dubbed themselves the Drifters, naming themselves after a bird.

The group instantly became regular residents at the top of the R&B charts,

hitting with "Money Honey," "Such A Night" and "White Christmas," among

others. McPhatter became the first of many to leave the Drifters when he

was drafted into the Army in 1954.

Johnny Moore soon took McPhatter's place, but the hits no longer

came quite as naturally to the group. Birthday boy Hendricks joined the

Drifters in 1957, a period of time when the group's morale was at an all-time

low. In 1958, the Drifters disbanded but soon sprang back to life with all

new members, including Ben E. King, the man who would go on to solo fame

with "Stand By Me." This new version of the Drifters was also responsible

for many of R&B's classic hits, including "There Goes My Baby," "This Magic

Moment," "Save The Last Dance for Me" and "Up On The Roof," among others.

The group continued going through a litany of lineup changes over the

years and eventually became a shell of a group for which promoters could

license the name and plug-in any singers they pleased. The Drifters were

inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987.

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