Herb Reed (far left), the last surviving original member of the Platters, died Monday. He was born in Kansas City and lived here until he was 13.
Herb Reed, the last surviving member of the vocal group the Platters, died Monday.
Reed was born in Kansas City in 1928 and lived here until he was about 13. After his parents died, he eventually landed in Los Angeles and started singing in church gospel choirs.
According to his obituary in the New York Times, Reed came up with the Platters’ name, based on the slang for vinyl records. He was the group’s bass singer, performing on all 400 of the group’s recordings.
The Platters’ hits include Only You, The Great Pretender and Smoke Gets in Your Eyes. They were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1990.
Hat Tip: Plastic Sax
The Ozark Mountain Daredevils
The Ozark Mountain Daredevils’ first single, If You Wanna Get to Heaven, cracked the Top 30 the week of June 8, 1974.
The Daredevils were based in Springfield, Mo., but their management company, Good Karma, was located in Kansas City. Their best-known song, Jackie Blue, reached No. 3 the following year.
One of the most significant albums in rock ‘n’ roll history was released on June 21, 1965.
Mr. Tambourine Man by the Byrds heralded the arrival of folk-rock, a genre the Byrds helped create. And central to the Byrds sound was Gene Clark, who grew up in the Kansas City area.
Gene Clark (top right) was the Byrds' lead vocalist and main songwriter for the band's first two years.
Roger McGuinn’s electric 12-string was significant, but Clark contributed mightily as the co-lead vocalist (he and McGuinn often sang in unison), and as the band’s main songwriter. Out of the album’s 12 songs, Clark wrote or co-write five. They include I’ll Feel a Whole Lot Better, an enduring classic of the era, and Here Without You and I’d Knew I’d Want You.
It’s one of those ironies of life that the writers of the song Kansas City were based in New York, while the composer of New York, New York, grew up in Kansas City.
The native in question is Broadway composer John Kander. The song is showcased in the film of the same name, directed by Martin Scorsese and released on June 21, 1977.
The Billboard Roll Call is a listing of regional artists who have charted a song on the Billboard Top 40 from 1955-2009. The introduction has additional information.
The R&B group Bloodstone bridged two strains in popular music. Starting as a vocal doo-wop group in the 1960s when they attended high school in Kansas City, Bloodstone emerged as full-fledged band in the 1970s.
They charted two songs in the Billboard Top 40 in 1973-74. Natural High, which hit the Top 10 in June 1973, is a gorgeous piece of soul that draws from their doo-wop roots as well as a jazzy break that to my ears is a nod to Kansas City jazz.