The Platters are a doo-wop vocal group which was formed in 1953 at the beginning of the early rock and roll era. Their distinctive sound created by Buck Ram was a bridge between the pre-rock Tin Pan Alley tradition, and the burgeoning new genre. The original group members were Alex Hodge, Cornell Gunther, David Lynch, Joe Jefferson, Gaynel Hodge and Herb Reed. In 1970, when all original members had left, the name of the group was changed to The Buck Ram Platters.
After signing with Buck Ram, the act went through several personnel changes before hitting the charts, with the most successful incarnation comprising lead tenor Tony Williams, David Lynch, Paul Robi, Herb Reed, and Zola Taylor.
"Only You, " released in the summer of 1955, it became the group's first Top Ten hit on the pop charts, and topped the R&B charts for seven weeks. The follow-up, “The Great Pretender,” exceeded the success of their debut. It became the Platters' first national #1 hit. “The Great Pretender” was also the act's biggest R&B hit, with an 11-week run atop that chart.
The Platters' unique vocal style, which evolved because the singers could not do the close harmonies like the Mills Brothers that Ram was looking for, had touched a nerve in the music-buying public, and a string of hit singles followed, including two more Top 100 number one hits, one Hot 100 number one hit, and more modest hits such as "I'm Sorry" (#11) and "He's Mine" (#23) in 1957, "Enchanted" (#12) in 1959, and "The Magic Touch" (#4) in 1956. The Platters soon hit upon the successful formula of updating older standards, such as "My Prayer", "Twilight Time", "Harbor Lights", "To Each His Own", "If I Didn't Care" and Jerome Kern's "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes".
The group was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1990, the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in its inaugural year of 1998 and the Hit Parade Hall of Fame in 2009. The Platters were the first rock and roll group to have a Top Ten album in America.