"Herb Reed, the last surviving original member of 1950s vocal group the Platters who sang on hits like 'Only You' and 'The Great Pretender,' " has died at a Boston area hospice, The Associated Press reports. He was 84 and had been in declining health, according to his manager, Fred Balboni.
It was the bass-voiced Reed who came up with the group's name, as All Things Considered reported in 2000:
"I used to listen to disc jockeys refer to records as being platters," Reed said. " 'Here we're going to spin another platter by so and so. We're going to spin this platter by so and so.' And that's where I got the idea."
The group's other hits included "My Prayer," "Twilight Time" and "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes." As it says on The Platters' page at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame website:
"The Platters were one of the top vocal groups of the Fifties, delivering smooth, stylized renditions of pop standards. Like the Ink Spots a decade earlier, they were the most popular black group of their time, achieving success in a crooning, middle-of-the-road style that put a soulful coat of uptown polish on pop-oriented, harmony-rich material."