Category Archives: Pop

Obituary: Herb Reed, Last Original Member of the Platters

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


Burt Bacharach Receives Gershwin Prize

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Burt Bacharach, right, received the Gershwin Prize for Popular Song from President Barack Obama. Eunice David, left, accepted the prize on behalf of her husband, lyricist Hal David.

KC-born Burt Bacharach received the 2012 Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song last week in Washington, D.C.

Bacharach and his songwriting partner, lyricist Hal David, received the honor from President Barack Obama at a ceremony at the White House. David, who recently suffered a stroke, was unable to attend. His wife, Eunice David, accepted on his behalf.

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Burt Bacharach Awarded Gershwin Prize

Photo courtesy of Burt Bacharach, via the Library of Congress

The Library of Congress announced last week that composer Burt Bacharach and lyricist Hal David will receive the Gershwin Prize for Popular Song, the first time a songwriting team has been honored.

Bacharach was born in Kansas City; he lived here with his family until he was about four years old, when they moved to Queens borough of New York City.

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The Billboard Roll Call: Oleta Adams

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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.

Oleta Adams
Born and reared in Washington state, Adams has lived in Kansas City for about 30 years. She was a fixture on the local scene, mainly playing piano and singing at hotel bars. In the mid-1980s, she was discovered by the English band Tears for Fears, which lead her recording career.

Her first Top 40 success was as a member of Tears for Fears. Sowing the Seeds of Love hit No. 2 in September 1989. The band’s next single, Woman in Chains, featured Adams on vocals, and peaked at No. 36.

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Special Grammy History Edition: KC Winners


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In honor of the Grammy Awards on Sunday, Another Verse presents a breakdown on Grammy winners with a Kansas City-area connection.

As you might expect, KC Grammy winners are heavily weighted toward jazz. But there are winners in other categories, including rock, Broadway and folk.

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This Week in KC’s Music History: “The Story of My Life” Hits No. 1

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Burt Bacharach (left) was born in Kansas City, Mo. With lyricist Hal David (right), he wrote some of the greatest songs of the 1960s, particularly for Dionne Warwick.

It’s not a significant song in the history of its principals, but there is a tie to Kansas City when The Story of My Life by Marty Robins hit No. 1 on the U.S. country chart on Dec. 1, 1957.

The song is the first significant success for the legendary songwriting team of Burt Bacharach and Hal David. Bacharach was born in Kansas City, Mo., in 1928 and his family lived here before moving to Queens, N.Y., when he was four years old.

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