Platters founder Herb Reed dead at 83

June 5, 2012 at 12:22 PM
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BOSTON, June 5 (UPI) -- Herb Reed, the last surviving member of the vocal quintet The Platters, has died in Massachusetts after a period of declining health, his representatives said.

He was 83 when he died Monday.

No specific cause of death was given.

The Missouri native and his group performed sold-out shows in more than 100 countries; made nearly 400 recordings and sold millions of albums, earning them membership in the Rock and Roll, Vocal Group and Grammy halls of fame.

Reed sang bass for The Platters on such 1950s hits as "The Great Pretender," "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes," "Only You" and "Twilight Time."

He toured up until last year with younger singers as Herb Reed and the Platters or Herb Reed's Platters.

In 2011, a federal court judge in Nevada ruled Reed possessed superior rights to the name The Platters, a decision that returned to Reed rights to the name of the group he founded with three other men in 1953, making him the sole heir to the group's tremendous legacy.

"You know, a lot of people tell me to just hang it up," Reed told his biographer in early 2012. "But I just cannot do that. It's not right to have someone steal your name. It's just not right. We were cheated back then, but that's how things were done then. It's doubly wrong to face it again today. It's theft, and I have to fight so that no other artist faces this."

When Reed learned of the court's decision, he was elated, said Frederick J. Balboni Jr., Reed's and his company's manager.

"He teared up and told me this was the most important thing he had done. He joked that he was going to have the judge's decision framed and hung up along the gold and platinum records that line the walls of his home," Balboni said.

Reed lived in Arlington, Mass., for the last several years and maintained a home in Miami, Fla.

He is survived by a son, Herbert, Jr., and three grandsons.

Complete funeral arrangements will be announced soon, his manager said.

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