SONNY TURNER

HK Magazine - - CULTURE -

(sec­ond from right) is the last sur­viv­ing orig­i­nal mem­ber of The Plat­ters, an Amer­i­can pop and R&B group that be­came a main­stay of Amer­i­can pop ra­dio from the 50s to the 70s with hits like “Only You,” and “The Great Pre­tender.” Turner talks to Jes­sica Wei about his life and ca­reer, as well as his fa­vorite rap­per. HK Mag­a­zine: How did you start out in mu­sic?

Sonny Turner: My mother was a fab­u­lous gospel singer. She took me to church and I sang in the ju­nior choir. I loved mu­sic, it was like sec­ond na­ture to me. I kept singing, and all over the world were groups of kids who were get­ting to­gether and form­ing vo­cal groups. I was in a group called The Metro­tones out of Cleve­land, and we learned our craft from peo­ple like

The Four Fresh­men, The Mills Broth­ers, The High-Lows, and so on. We de­vel­oped a rep­u­ta­tion as a fine lit­tle vo­cal group. The group was the same con­fig­u­ra­tion as The Plat­ters—four guys and one girl. We had been singing the mu­sic of The Plat­ters, as well. But even­tu­ally, two of our mem­bers were drafted into the Ser­vice, but I was too young, and The Metro­tones dis­banded.

HK: And The Plat­ters?

ST: I was singing in a night­club and [pro­ducer and song­writer for The Plat­ters] Buck Ram had sent his friend to Cleve­land to scout for a lead singer to re­place Tony Wil­liams. He hap­pened to come into the club while I was on­stage. When I fin­ished my show, this gen­tle­men ap­proached me and said he’d found the lead singer of the new Plat­ters. Buck Ram had me come and meet them in a live per­for­mance in Mil­wau­kee, where

The Plat­ters were ap­pear­ing in a sup­per­club. I did an au­di­tion for them, and they hired me that night.

HK: Were they very fa­mous at this time?

ST: They were at the top of their fame. Isn’t that won­der­ful? I think it was divine intervention. We were singing The Plat­ters’ mu­sic as The Metro­tones, as some lit­tle group in Cleve­land, and it just so hap­pens, that I ended up singing for the ac­tual Plat­ters. What do you call that?

Sonny Turner

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