Tag Archives: Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

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

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KC-Area Resident Inducted into Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

Niki Sullivan (far left) was the rhythm guitarist for the Crickets, Buddy Holly’s backup band. After retiring from the music business, Sullivan relocated to the Kansas City area, where he lived until he died in 2004.

The late Niki Sullivan, the original rhythm guitarist in Buddy Holly’s backup band the Crickets, was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in mid-April.

The Crickets were inducted with several legendary backing bands, all of whom were excluded when their stars were inducted.

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Today in KC’s Music History: Joe Turner Born

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Big Joe Turner

Happy Birthday to KC legend Big Joe Turner, who was born 100 years ago today.

Born in Kansas City, Turner started singing on the streets and in church. In his early teens, he began singing in clubs and became known as the Singing Barman. Continue reading

Today in KC’s Music History: Gene Clark Born

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Happy birthday to Gene Clark, one of the greatest musicians ever to come from Kansas City, born on Nov. 17, 1944.

Through his contributions as one of the Byrds’ lead vocalists and its main songwriter, Gene helped create folk-rock. He wrote most of Eight Miles High, which lead to psychedelia. In his post-Byrds career, Clark’s work was essential to the development of country-rock and the singer-songwriter movement. When Tom Petty covered a Byrds song, he chose Clark’s Feel a Whole Lot Better. The jangly pop bands of the 1980s and ’90s owe a lot to Gene Clark.

Clark was born in Tipton, Mo., about 110 miles east of Kansas City, but spent his childhood in Kansas City. Clark played in rock ‘n’ roll bands and became interested in folk music during its boom in the early 1960s. He played part-time in folk groups and worked as a golf course groundskeeper after he graduated from high school.

In August 1963, members of the New Christy Minstrels, then the country’s most popular folk group, were appearing in town when they heard Gene perform. He was invited to join the Christies and performed with them for about six months.

Clark landed in Los Angeles and soon met Roger McGuinn. Folkies who were smitten by the Beatles before the rest of the world was, they initially planned to perform as a duo. They then met David Crosby, which lead to the founding of the Byrds.

Gene Clark is buried in the town where he was born: Tipton, Mo., about 110 miles east of Kansas City. (Photo by Dan Torchia)

Clark’s commercial peak was with the Byrds, but his solo career produced a lot of important music. As a member of the Byrds, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and is only one of two Kansas City residents to be honored. (Big Joe Turner is the other.) Clark is also an inductee of the Kansas Music Hall of Fame.

Gene died in May 1991 and is buried in Tipton. His headstone simply reads “No Other.”

Learn More
The Byrds: Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Page

Gene Clark: Fan Page

David Crosby: Web Site

Roger McGuinn: Web Site