The Drifters Live.
When you get a call to work with a legendary band, there is absolutely no feeling like it. The Drifters have sold in excess of 214 million singles and 114 million albums across the world and are also one of the longest serving bands in history. As one of the biggest selling bands of all time, The Drifters have collated a huge catalogue of over 50 hits, including timeless classics such as ‘Saturday Night at the Movies,’ ‘Under The Boardwalk,’ ‘On Broadway,’ ‘Up on the Roof’, ‘Come On Over To My Place’ and ‘Kissing In The Back Row of the Movies.’
The group was formed in 1953 by lead singer in the Dominoes Clyde McPhatter and Ahmet Ertegun - founder of Atlantic Records under the management of former jazz singer George Treadwell. Right from the very beginning there was a constant succession of regular lineup changes that would characterize The Drifters name. Early line up members included William Anderson, David Baughan, David Baldwin and James Johnson, bass player Bill Pinkney, guitarist Jimmy Oliver, brothers Gerhart and Andrew Thrasher and bass singer Willie Ferbee.
The first album by group, entitled ‘Clyde McPhatter & the Drifters’ was released in 1956. Despite a busy tour diary, financial disputes continued as did the constant line up change, with the departure of Bill Pinkney, Bobby Hendricks and Andrew Thrasher. Subsequent line up members included Jimmy Ricks, Tom Evans, Charlie Hughes, Jimmy Millender and guitarist Jimmy Oliver.
On one occasion, George Treadwell sacked the entire line up just before a show at the Apollo Theater in New York and replaced them with a group known as ‘The Five Crowns’. And so the rotation continued, with a new line up that consisted of Charlie Thomas on lead, baritone Benjamin Earl Nelson, later known as Ben E. King, Dock Green and Elsbeary Hobbs.
Since 1953, more than 60 vocalists have performed as part of the group, including icons such as Clyde McPhatter, Ben E King, Charlie Thomas, Rudy Lewis and Johnny Moore. During this time, the only constant has been the Treadwell family, who founded the group back in 1953 and who still own the group to this day.