Flashback Friday: 10 Things You Didn't Know About The Drifters

On tonight's Friday Night Bandstand, Zoomer Radio's music director Brian Peroff will be celebrating those happy teen years of the rock n' roll generation by featuring The Drifters, that iconic rhythm & blues vocal group that has continued to endure — despite "60 different members and lawsuits galore" — for almost 60 years.


With the new The Drifters — Up On The Roof — The Very Best Of compilation out and an epic 70-date tour that's currently winding it's way through the UK, we thought it would best to pay tribute to an act whose longevity is only second to The Platters.


Here are 10 Things You Didn't Know About The Drifters:


1. "The Drifters were formed in 1953 at the behest of Atlantic Records cofounder Ahmet Ertegun, who approached Clyde McPhatter when the popular vocalist was dropped from Billy Ward and the Dominoes. After serving in the army, McPhatter left the Drifters in 1955 to pursue a solo career—but not before the group had reached number one on the rhythm-and-blues charts with “Money Honey”." (via Britannica)


2. Their 1962 hit "Up On The Roof" was penned by American singer, songwriter and pianist Carole King, who "wrote the song with her former partner and husband, Gerry Goffin, soon after penning their first hit, "Will You Love Me Tomorrow," while working for impresario Don Kirshner at his Brill Building-like company, Aldon." (via AllMusic)


Related: [VIDEO] The Drifters — Up On The Roof | [BLOGS] RIP Don Kirshner: Remembering 5 Memorable "Rock Concert" Performances


3. Why did The Drifters have such a rotating door of members? When McPhatter left The Drifters, he sold his interest in Drifters Incorporated to his manager, George Treadwell. As a result, "from that day forward, all of the members of the Drifters were salaried employees, earning as little as $100 a week even into the early '60s, and getting no share of royalties from record sales, no benefits from the concert fees they commanded, nor any claim to the use of the name "the Drifters" if they left, no matter how successful the group became through their efforts." (via


4. When the group was set to record "Under The Boardwalk" on May 21, 1964, the studio session had to rescheduled when it was discovered that the band's then-lead singer, Rudy Lewis, died of an unexpected heroin overdose the night before. "Rather than rescheduled studio session to find a new frontman, former Drifters lead vocalist Johnny Moore was brought in to perform the lead vocals for the recording." (via Wikipedia)


Related: [VIDEOS] The Drifters — "Under The Boardwalk"


6. When fronting The Drifters, Ben E. King was still going by his birth name, Ben Nelson. (via AllMusic)


7. "There Goes My Baby" — which was co-written by Ben E. King — was considered a landmark R&B and soul recording since "nobody present was sure of what they had because it sounded so chaotic, strange, and complicated — no one had ever used a string section, much less one recorded as prominently as this one was." (via AllMusic)


Related: [VIDEOS] The Drifters — There Goes My Baby


8. Ben E. King was so poor working for $100 a week that he had "to sell off his share of the songwriting on 'There Goes My Baby'". 
(via AllMusic)


9. It was at a Drifters recording session of his penned songs "Mexican Divorce" & "Please Stay" that Burt Bacharach first encountered Dionne Warwick, then in a backing trio for the group. (via BurtBacharach.com)


Related: [VIDEOS] Dionne Warwick — I'll Never Love Again


10. Phil Spector owes 'em a TON: "Others also learned from them, most notably a young producer named Phil Spector, who was working at Atlantic as a session guitarist in the early '60s and ran with the sound he heard in Stan Applebaum's arrangements". (via AllMusic)


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Comment by rich faix on February 18, 2012 at 8:21pm

the drifters,one of the best of all time.


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