The Buck Stopped Here

Buck found Tony Williams singing on a street corner with his sister and some buddies.  He had been looking for a ‘lyric’ tenor and when he heard this young man sing, he knew he had just the one.  After much organizational change he found the right combination by adding a female to The Platters.

When “Only You” hit the Billboard top pops, Buck was given the challenge of writing another ‘hit’.  He was given only 72-hours.  The Platters were performing at the Flamingo Hotel and Casino in Vegas.  After his phone call, Buck took some toilet paper and standing at the lavoratory counter, wrote the lyrics to “The Great Pretender”.  After that show, Buck had the group stand around a piano as he began to play the tune and demonstrated the first verse, Tony said, “Buck, we don’t do Country Music and this sounds ‘Country’.  Buck had that covered by playing his signature introduction of four triplets with a stinger.  The Platters’ next hit was a big one that didn’t sound ‘country’ at all.

The orginal “Buck Ram” Platters were Tony Williams, David Lynch, Paul Robi, Herb Reed and Zoie Taylor. This group had 40 charting singles on the Billboard Hot 100 chart between 1955 and 1967, including four no. 1 hits. Tony Williams left the group to become a single performer and Sonny Turner took the lead.  Things were going well until at an appearance in Atlanta, while Buck was elsewhere, Sonny convinced the others to make demands that Buck simply would not agree to.  Sonny attempted to take the group away from Buck, but that resulted in Sonny leaving. Buck and Jeanie have been embroiled in legal suits over the years, attempting to maintain the name of the group.  When I was with them, there were numerous performing as The Platters, so Buck registered his group (then with Monroe Powell as lead) as “The Buck Ram Platters”.  There are still groups performing, but none can use Buck’s name in their billing.

Just prior to my leaving Buck’s employ, he purchased a professional mixing board and was planning to record Monroe and the group singing, My Hero”.  It was a ‘cover’ of the melody of “The Wind Beneath My Wings” with his new lyrics.  My opposition to what would be another major lawsuit lead to my exit.  He never completed the project.

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