January 2, 1981 – David Lynch was born on July 3rd 1929 in St. Louis, Missouri. After his military service he moved to Los Angeles and began singing doo-wop with Alex Hodge, Herb Reed and parking-lot attendant Tony Williams. He was a cab driver before joining the second and most famous incarnation of the Platters. Part of the burgeoning Los Angeles rhythm & blues scene of the early 1950’s, the original Platters group consisted of Cornell Gunter, brothers Gaynel and Alex Hodge, Joe Jefferson and Curtis Williams. Formed in January 1953, the original line-up showed several early changes, with cab driver David Lynch replacing Joe Jefferson, Herb Reed (from the gospel group the Wings Over Jordan) replacing Curtis Williams and Tony Williams (introduced by his sister, Linda Hayes) replacing Cornell Gunter. The Platters’ big break came when the group signed with manager Buck Ram (a successful composer/arranger/talent agent), who signed them to Federal Records in 1953.
Their distinctive sound created by Buck Ram was a bridge between the pre-rock Tin Pan Alley tradition, and the burgeoning new genre. The group members were David Lynch, Alex Hodge, Cornell Gunther, Joe Jefferson, Gaynel Hodge and Herb Reed.
When a few early recordings didn’t live up to expectations, Ram fired Hodge and replaced him with Paul Robi and Zola Taylor, the latter of Shirley Gunter and the Queens. The band then had its first regional hit with its seventh single, “Only You.” With this song they became the first rock and roll group to have a Top Ten album in America.
Mercury Records scooped up the Platters and reissued “Only You,” which cracked the top 5 of the Billboard Hot 100 in 1955. It was soon followed by the #1 “The Great Pretender” in 1956, the year the Platters appeared in the rock ’n’ roll movies “Rock Around the Clock” and “The Girl Can’t Help It.” Other hits for the group that year were “My Prayer” (#1), “The MagicTouch” (#4) and “You’ll Never Know” (#11).
Lynch and the Platters also scored parts in several movies of this period, such as “The Girl Can’t Help It” with Jayne Mansfield, “Girls Town” with Mamie Van Doren, Mel Tormé and Ray Anthony and “European Nights”
In 1958, the Platters reached #1 with two singles: the classics “Twilight Time” and “Smoke Gets in Your Eyes.” The latter was also an Australian chart-topper, and the band was very popular in the UK.
Scandal hit the Platters the following year when the band’s male members (who were black) were arrested in Cincinnati and accused of having sexual relations with four female minors (three of whom were white). In the racially-divided atmosphere of the time, it was a career-damaging incident. Though the Platters were acquitted, much of the public was outraged. Following the incident, the band’s line-up had only one more top-10 single, “Harbor Lights” (1960) in the US.
Consequently they looked at their popularity in Europe but after a few more releases, such as 1961’s “If I Didn’t Care,” lead singer Williams quit to go solo and was replaced by Sonny Turner. Despite this event, the record label continued to issue old singles featuring Williams for the next three years.
The original lineup disbanded during this period, and various members drifted in and out of the group for years. The Platters’ biggest later-period hit was 1967’s “With This Ring.”
David later joined Ram’s Platters lineup, with lead vocalist Sonny Turner, Herb Reed, Nate Nelson and Sandra Dawn; they enjoyed a short chart renaissance in 1966-67, with the comeback singles “I Love You 1000 Times”, “With This Ring”, and the Motown-influenced “Washed Ashore”.
Lynch was not among the Platters present at the group’s induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1990. He died of cancer on January 2, 1981.
David along with the Platters was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1990, the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 1998 and the Hit Parade Hall of Fame in 2009.