Thursday, March 25, 2010

Forgotten Music: Clyde McPhatter

Clyde McPhatter had one of the great voices in popular music. He started his career with Billy Ward and the Dominoes but left to form his own group, the Drifters, with whom he recorded some great songs, including the definitive (for me) version of "White Christmas." Like my last Forgotten Music entry, "Honey Love" was banned from many radio stations. Seems very tame today, of course.

McPhatter left the drifters and went on to record some fine solo records, including "A Lover's Question," which was written by Brook Benton.

In the '60s, McPhatter tried to change his style to meet the times. He did some fine songs, but hardly anyone listened. His career headed downhill, and he died of alcohol abuse in 1972, not yet forty years old. Shortly before his death, he'd told an interviewer, "I have no fans." He was wrong, though. He had at least one. I still remember exactly where I was when I heard of his death on my car radio. I'm still a fan, and I still listen to his music often.


Fred Blosser said...

McPhatter, Brook Benton, Jerry Butler, Sam Cooke, Jackie Wilson -- giants.

Anonymous said...

He sure isn't forgotten by me either, Bill.

I love the Drifters version of "White Christmas" too. We saw one version of the group a few years ago, one of the last times Bill Pinkney sang on "White Christmas" before his death in 2007.

It was great.


Evan Lewis said...

Count me as a McPhatter fan too. For the Drifters and later stuff.

Unknown said...

I figured there'd be some other geezers out there who remembered.

George said...

Yes, I remember Clyde McPhatter, too. He was a great singer crushed by the British Invasion like so many other artists in the Sixties.