The Platters' David Lynch

David Lynch was a founding member of the Platters, the very popular '50s

singing group known for its smooth, romantic pop/soul hits such as "My Prayer" and "Only You."

Lynch remained with the Platters until the original band split up in the mid-'60s.

He was born 70 years ago today in St. Louis, Missouri, and began singing doo-wop with

Alex Hodge, Herb Reed and parking-lot attendant Tony Williams. The Platters' big break

came when the group signed with manager Buck Ram (a successful

composer/arranger/talent agent), who signed them to Federal Records in 1953.

When a few early recordings didn't live up to expectations, Ram fired Hodge and

replaced him with Paul Robi and Zola Taylor, the latter of Shirley Gunter and the

Queens. The band then had its first regional hit with its seventh single, "Only You."

Mercury Records scooped up the Platters and reissued "Only You," which cracked the

top 5 of the Billboard Hot 100 in 1955. It was soon followed by the #1 "The Great

Pretender" (RealAudio

excerpt) in 1956, the

year the Platters appeared in the rock 'n' roll movies "Rock Around the Clock" and "The

Girl Can't Help It." Other hits for the group that year were "My Prayer" (#1), "The Magic

Touch" (#4) and "You'll Never Know" (#11).

In 1958, the Platters reached #1 with two singles: the classics "Twilight Time" and

"Smoke Gets in Your Eyes." The latter was also an Australian chart-topper, and the band

was very popular in the UK.

Scandal hit the Platters the following year when the band's male members (who were

black) were arrested in Cincinnati and accused of having sexual relations with four

female minors (three of whom were white). In the racially-divided atmosphere of the time,

it was a career-damaging incident. Though the Platters were acquitted, much of the

public was outraged. Following the incident, the band had only one more top-10 single,

"Harbor Lights" (1960).

After a few more releases, such as 1961's "If I Didn't Care," lead singer Williams quit to

go solo and was replaced by Sonny Turner. Despite this event, the record label

continued to issue old singles featuring Williams for the next three years.

The original lineup disbanded during this period, and various members drifted in and out

of the group for years. The Platters' biggest later-period hit was 1967's "With This Ring."

Lynch was not among the Platters present at the group's induction into the Rock and Roll

Hall of Fame in 1990. He died of cancer on January 2, 1981.

Williams and Ram battled over the group's name for years in court before their deaths in

the '90s. Mercury Records and Rhino Records released various Platters retrospectives

throughout the decade.

Other birthdays: Fontella Bass, 59; Johnny Lee, 53; Paul Barrere (Little Feat), 51;

Johnnie Wilder (Heatwave), 50; Damon Harris (Temptations), 49; Mike Corby (Babys),

44; Stephen Pearcy (Ratt), 43; Laura Branigan, 42; Vince Clarke (Erasure, Depeche

Mode), 39; Martyn Walsh (Inspiral Carpets), 31; Butterfly (Digable Planets), 30; and

Kevin Hearn (Barenaked Ladies), 30.