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Clyde McPhatter, formerly lead singer with Billy Ward's Dominoes, formed the Drifters in 1953 with second tenor Gerhard Thrasher, baritone Andrew Thrasher, and bass Bill Pinkney. Before McPhatter entered the Army in the mid-1950s, the group enjoyed a strong of R&B hits featuring his smooth, sexy tenor voice,drifters most notably "Money Honey" (Atlantic 1006; 1953; 1 R&B 11 weeks), "Such A Night"/"Lucille" (Atlantic 1019; 1954; "Honey Love" (Atlantic 1029; 1954; "Bip Bam" (Atlantic 1043; 1954; "White Christmas" (Atlantic 1048; 1954/1955/1956; "What 'Cha Gonna Do" (Atlantic 1055; "Adorable"/"Steamboat" (Atlantic 1078; 1955; and "Ruby Baby" (Atlantic 1089; 1956;

Following a period of diminished record sales—and various personnel changes—the group disbanded in 1958. Because the Drifters had signed a multi-year contract with New York's Apollo Theater, their manager recruited another group, the Five Crowns, to fill the void. Assisted by the songwriting/production team of Leiber and Stoller, the new Drifters quickly outstripped their predecessors with releases like "There Goes My Baby" (Atlantic 2025; 1959; reputedly the first R&B recording to utilize a sophisticated string arrangement, "Dance with Me" (Atlantic 2040; 1959; "This Magic Moment" (Atlantic 2050; 1960; "Save the Last Dance for Me" (Atlantic 2071; 1960; and "I Count the Tears" (Atlantic 2087; 1960;

When lead singer Ben E. King—who would record the solo hits "Spanish Harlem" (Atlantic 6185; 1960-1961; and "Stand By Me" (Atlantic 6194; 1961—departed, the Drifters remained successful with recordings such as "Up On the Roof" (Atlantic 2162; 1962; and "On Broadway" (Atlantic 2182; 1963; which featured Rudy Lewis singing lead. Following his death in 1963, Johnny Moore became the frontman for bestsellers such as "Under the Boardwalk" (Atlantic 2237; 1964;) and "Saturday Night at the Movies" (Atlantic 2260; 1964;

By 1967 the hits had stopped coming, although the group continued to perform well into the 1970s. The act was revived in the mid-1970s to capitalized on the oldies circuit. Releases of both new material and updated versions of the group's old hits, however, failed to compete with regular reissues of the classic Drifters recordings.


1950s The Drifters Singles
    1953 Money Honey
    1953 The Way I Feel
    1954 Honey Love
    1954 Such A Night
    1954 Lucille
    1954 Bells of St. Mary's
    1954 Bip Bam Atlantic
    1954 Lucille Atlantic
    1954 Three Thirty Three
    1955 Adorable
    1955 Gone Atlantic
    1955 What'cha Gonna Do
    1955 White Christmas
    1956 I Gotta Get Myself A Woman
    1956 Ruby Baby
    1956 Soldier Of Fortune
    1956 Steamboat
    1957 Fools Fall in Love
    1957 Hypnotized
    1958 Drip Drop
    1958 Moonlight Bay
    1959 (If You Cry) True Love, True Love
    1959 Dance With Me
    1959 There Goes My Baby

1960s/70s The Drifters Singles

    1960 Don't Dog Me
    1960 I Count the Tears
    1960 Let the Boogie Woogie Roll
    1960 Lonely Winds
    1960 Save The Last Dance For Me
    1960 This Magic Moment
    1961 I Count The Tears
    1961 Mexican Divorce
    1961 On Broadway
    1961 Please Stay
    1961 Room Full Of Tears
    1961 Some Kind of Wonderful
    1961 Stranger on the Shore
    1961 Sweets for My Sweet
    1961 When My Little Girl Is Smiling
    1962 Stranger On The Shore
    1963 I'll Take You Home
    1963 Rat Race
    1963 Up On The Roof
    1964 In the Land of Make Believe
    1964 I've Got Sand in My Shoes
    1964 One Way Love
    1964 Saturday Night At The Movies
    1964 Under the Boardwalk
    1964 Vaya Con Dios
    1965 At The Club
    1965 Come On Over To My Place
    1965 I'll Take You Where The Music's Playing
    1966 Memories Are Made of This
    1974 Kissin' In The Back Row Of The Movies

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