The Drifters

Up on the Roof
#5 in 1963


The Drifters are a long-lived African-American doo wop/R&B vocal group with a peak in popularity from 1953 to 1962, though several splinter Drifters continue to perform today. They were originally formed by Clyde McPhatter (of Billy Ward & the Dominoes) in 1953. Wanting to blend gospel and secular sounds, his first effort was to get 4 out of 5 members of his old church group, the Mount Lebanon Singers. They were William “Chick” Anderson (tenor), David Baldwin (baritone), James “Wrinkle” Johnson (bass), and David “Little Dave” Baughan (tenor). After a single recording session of four songs on June 29, 1953, McPhatter saw this combination didn't work and recruited another lineup. This second effort also comprised gospel vocalists in second tenor Gerhart Thrasher, baritone Andrew Thrasher (both formerly of the gospel group the "Thrasher Wonders"), Bill Pinkney (of the Jerusalem Stars) on high tenor, Willie Ferbee as bass, and Walter Adams on guitar. This group recorded "Money Honey" in 1953.
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