NPR logo Herb Reed, Singer For The Platters, Dies

Herb Reed, Singer For The Platters, Dies

Portrait of the Platters with Herb Reed (left), 1950s. (Photo by Frank Driggs Collection/Getty Images) Frank Driggs Collection/Getty Images hide caption

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Frank Driggs Collection/Getty Images

Portrait of the Platters with Herb Reed (left), 1950s. (Photo by Frank Driggs Collection/Getty Images)

Frank Driggs Collection/Getty Images

The last original member of vocal group The Platters has died. Herb Reed was 84; he died after a short illness in a hospital near his home in Massachusetts.

Reed was there at the beginning when The Platters formed in 1952. He sang bass on a string of hits that propelled the group from the R&B charts to the top of the pop charts, songs like "Only You (And You Alone)" and "The Great Pretender."

Still, Herb Reed had to fight for his right to be a Platter. Years after the original group broke up, several bands claimed the name for performances on the very lucrative oldies circuit. According to Reed's manager, a lawsuit filed in 1999 by another member of the Platters was only resolved last year in favor of Reed, the group's only surviving founding member. The ruling was seen as a victory for original members of other oldies groups.

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