February 1, 1989 – Paul Irvin Robi was born in New Orleans on August 20th 1931. He went on to become the lead tenor of the L.A group, The Platters in 1954.
At a time when rock ‘n’ roll was becoming the nation’s signature music, the Platters managed to appeal to both rock and traditional movements.
One of the most successful and romantic vocal groups of the 1950s, Robi stayed with the Platters for the next eleven years, and can be heard on all their many hits, including “Only You”, “The Great Pretender”, “Twilight Time”, “Smoke Gets In Your Eye’s” and “Harbour Lights”, selling in the millions of copies. In a single year–1958–the group had two gold records, both based on older songs: “Twilight Time” and “Smoke Gets in Your Eyes.”
The Platters were formed by Herbert Reed in 1953 and originally included Reed, Robi, Lynch and Tony Williams. Later a woman, Zola Taylor, was added.
The group had 40 charting singles on the Billboard Hot 100 chart between 1955 and 1967, including four no. 1 hits. The Platters were one of the first African American groups to be accepted as a major chart group and were, for a period of time, the most successful vocal group in the world.
As a group, the Platters began to have difficulties with the public after 1959, when the four male members were arrested in Cincinnati on drug and prostitution charges. Although none were convicted, their professional reputation was seriously damaged and US radio stations started removing their records from playlists, forcing the group to rely more heavily on European bookings. Robi left the group in 1965.
Along with the Platters, Robi was posthumously inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1990.
He died of pancreatic cancer at age 57 on February 1, 1989