The Drifters

The Drifters Biography

The Drifters

By: Perihan

The Drifters were an American rhythm-and-blues vocal group that had a string of chart-topping successes from the early 1950s to the mid-1960s. They are well known for their songs “Under the Boardwalk” and “Save the Last Dance for Me”.

The Drifters were actually two groups—one centered on lead singer Clyde McPhatter, and the other a completely different group that adopted the name Drifters after manager George Treadwell dismissed the original group. Clyde McPhatter, Billy Pinckney, Andrew Thrasher, Gerhart Thrasher, “Little David” Baughan, and Johnny Moore were the core members of the initial incarnation. Ben E. King, Charlie Thomas, Elsbeary Hobbs, Rudy Lewis, and Moore were key members of the second incarnation.

The Drifters were created in 1953 at the request of Ahmet Ertegun, co-founder of Atlantic Records, who approached McPhatter after he was fired from Billy Ward and the Dominoes. McPhatter left the Drifters in 1955 to pursue a solo career after serving in the army, but not before the group had hit number one on the Billboard rhythm-and-blues charts with “Money Honey” (1953) and had several additional singles, including “White Christmas” (1954). Treadwell replaced the entire group with another ensemble, the Five Crowns, led by King, three lead singers later, in 1959. The Drifters broke into the top ten of the pop singles chart in 1959 with “There Goes My Baby” (remembered for its innovative use of strings and Latin rhythms) and took “Save the Last Dance for Me” to number one in 1960.

King, too, left to pursue a solo career, achieving singles with “Spanish Harlem” (1960) and “Stand by Me” (1961). The Drifters, on the other hand, continued their streak of singles, aided by the songwriting prowess of couples like Carole King and Gerry Goffin and Mort Shuman and Doc Pomus, who wrote in the style of the Brill Building. Lewis sung lead roles in “Up on the Roof” (1962) and “On Broadway” (1963), while Moore starred in “Under the Boardwalk” (1964). (1964). The Drifters’ gospel-tinged sound was carried into the early twenty-first century by a changing membership, despite the group’s popularity waning in the mid-1960s. In 1988, the Drifters received induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

“Through instability and changes, the (original) Drifters managed to create musical trends and provide the public 13 chart hits, the majority of which are legendary recordings today,” according to the Vocal Group Hall of Fame. Subsequent Drifters lineups matched that accomplishment, with 13 Billboard Hot 100 top-30 chart hits. The group’s incarnations in the 1950s and 1960s were also a force on the US R&B charts, with six number-one hits: “Money Honey” (1953), “Honey Love” (1954), “Adorable” (1955), “There Goes My Baby” (1959), “Save The Last Dance For Me” (1960), and “Under The Boardwalk” (1960). (1964). Although they had their biggest successes on the UK singles chart, peaking at number two with the number-two hit “Kissin’ in the Back Row of the Movies,” a 1970s revival in Britain with both old and new material was not matched in the United States, they had their biggest successes on the UK singles chart, peaking with the number-two hit “Kissin’ in the Back Row of the Movies.”

Discography

Christmas AlbumSpotifyAppleYouTubeAmazon
Every Night’s Saturday NightSpotifyAppleYouTubeAmazon
Love GamesSpotifyAppleYouTubeAmazon
There Goes My First LoveSpotifyAppleYouTubeAmazon
The Drifters NowSpotifyAppleYouTubeAmazon
Where the Music’s PlayingSpotifyAppleYouTubeAmazon
I’ll Take You Where the Music’s PlayingSpotifyAppleYouTubeAmazon
The Good Life with the DriftersSpotifyAppleYouTubeAmazon
Under the BoardwalkSpotifyAppleYouTubeAmazon
Save the Last Dance for MeSpotifyAppleYouTubeAmazon
Rockin’ & Driftin’SpotifyAppleYouTubeAmazon
Rock & RollSpotifyAppleYouTubeAmazon
Clyde McPhatter & the DriftersSpotifyAppleYouTubeAmazon

Top Videos

Frequently Asked Questions

Who Wrote The Song Ruby Baby By The Drifters?

There Goes My Baby was the biggest hit of the Drifters. It reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in 1959 and is considered one of the greatest songs of all time. The song was written by Ben E.

Who Were The Drifter’S Lead Singers?

The Drifter’s lead singers were Jerry Jeff Walker and Ray Wylie Hubbard.

Who Wrote Songs For The Drifters?

The Drifters were a successful R&B group during the 1950s and 1960s. They had many hits, including “Under the Boardwalk” and “Stand by Me.” The group was originally formed by Clyde McPhatter in 1953. Some of the other members who wrote songs for The Drifters include Jerry Leiber, Mike Stoller, Doc Pomus, and Mort Shuman.

Most Searched For Songs

The Magic MomentSpotifyAppleYouTubeAmazon
Save the Last Dance for MeSpotifyAppleYouTubeAmazon
There Goes My BabySpotifyAppleYouTubeAmazon
Up on the RoofSpotifyAppleYouTubeAmazon
Under the BoardwalkSpotifyAppleYouTubeAmazon
You’re More Than a Number in My Little Red BookSpotifyAppleYouTubeAmazon
Saturday Night at the MoviesSpotifyAppleYouTubeAmazon
Some Kind of WonderfulSpotifyAppleYouTubeAmazon
Kissin’ in the Back Row of the MoviesSpotifyAppleYouTubeAmazon
As Long as She Needs MeSpotifyAppleYouTubeAmazon