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Clyde McPhatter


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Clyde McPhatter (November 15, 1932 – June 13, 1972) was an influential African-American R&B singer, born in Durham, North Carolina. He was raised in a religious Baptist family, and formed a gospel group in 1945 after his family moved to New Jersey. They soon relocated to New York City, and McPhatter joined the Mount Lebanon Singers, a popular gospel group.

In 1950, McPhatter joined Billy Ward & the Dominoes, and was present for the recording of “Sixty Minute Man”, which was a huge hit in 1951, and was one of the earliest rock and roll records. After several more hits, McPhatter quit the group in 1953 because he made little money and gained virtually no fame, in spite of his voice being the lead on most of the group’s songs. McPhatter then signed to Atlantic Records after forming a group, The Drifters. “Money Honey”, “Such a Night”, “Honey Love”, “White Christmas” and “Whatcha Gonna Do” became huge hits.

In 1954, McPhatter was drafted but was assigned in the U.S., allowing him to continue recording. He soon left The Drifters and launched a solo career. His first solo hit occurred just after being discharged - “Love Has Joined Us Together” (with Ruth Brown). He released several R&B hits in the next few years, but only made one serious dent in the pop charts with the Brook Benton penned song “A Lovers Question”, which made it to #6 in 1958.


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