Personalities | The Drifters | Fifties | Rock

(Vocal group, 1953–present)

Formed in 1953, various versions of The Drifters have existed ever since. Among the significant members of the group among the dozens who have been involved are Clyde McPhatter (lead vocalist 1953–54), Johnny Moore (lead vocalist 1955–57, 1963–78, 1985–98), Ben E. King (lead vocalist 1958–60, 1981–85) and Rudy Lewis (lead vocalist 1960–64). Signed to Atlantic Records from 1953–72, The Drifters’ biggest hits with McPhatter were ‘Money Honey’ (1953) and ‘Honey Love’ (1954). Manager George Treadwell owned the group name, and after Moore left in 1957, disbanded the group, replacing them with The Five Crowns (including Ben E. King), which he renamed The Drifters, who released 1959’s million-sellers ‘There Goes My Baby’ and ‘Dance With Me’ (produced by Leiber and Stoller) and 1960’s US No. 1 ‘Save The Last Dance For Me’. Leiber and Stoller also produced the group with Rudy Lewis singing lead, and hits continued with 1962’s ‘Up On The Roof’ and 1964’s ‘Under The Boardwalk’, until Lewis died of a heart attack. Moore took over lead vocals for less soulful hits including ‘Saturday Night At The Movies’ (1964), but US pop hits ended in 1966. When Treadwell died, his wife, Faye, took control, and signed the group to Bell Records, for whom they made several ersatz UK soul hits from 1972. King’s return restored some credibility.

Styles & Forms | Fifties | Rock
Personalities | Duane Eddy | Fifties | Rock

Source: The Definitive Illustrated Encyclopedia of Rock, general editor Michael Heatley


An extensive music information resource, bringing together the talents and expertise of a wide range of editors and musicologists, including Stanley Sadie, Charles Wilson, Paul Du Noyer, Tony Byworth, Bob Allen, Howard Mandel, Cliff Douse, William Schafer, John Wilson...


Classical, Rock, Blues, Jazz, Country and more. Flame Tree has been making encyclopaedias and guides about music for over 20 years. Now Flame Tree Pro brings together a huge canon of carefully curated information on genres, styles, artists and instruments. It's a perfect tool for study, and entertaining too, a great companion to our music books.

Rock, A Life Story

Rock, A Life Story

The ultimate story of a life of rock music, from the 1950s to the present day.

David Bowie

David Bowie

Fantastic new, unofficial biography covers his life, music, art and movies, with a sweep of incredible photographs.