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Herb Reed, undated AP photoHerb Reed in undated AP photo.Farewell to Herb Reed open to the public 

The funeral for Herb Reed, founder of the Platters, who died June 4 and had lived in Arlington, was held Saturday, June 16, at the Regent Theatre.

Members of the international, national and local music communities joined Reed's music family and friends to celebrate the life of the last remaining member of the historically significant quintet, Balboni Communications Group, the company representing Reed's interests, said in a news release.

The Reverend Dr. Regina Shearer, vice president of Academic Affairs at Rivier College and former member of Reed's Platters from 1969-1983, will officiate. Nationally known preacher Bishop Robert G. Brown will deliver the eulogy. Brown knew Reed well from the late 1960s to the early '80s, when the Bishop co-owned the RISE Club in Cambridge, where the Bishop sang/played bass with the Indigos.

The Berklee School of Music's Gospel Choir and its Gospel group The Worshippers will perform under the direction of Dennis Montgomery during the service. Reed's Platters, the only group allowed to perform under the name, will perform a special music tribute. The U.S. Army also will present Reed with full military honors as he was a veteran of the Korean War. 


Jon Bauman more commonly known as "Bowzer" from the popular 1960s music group Sha Na Na is among those scheduled to deliver remarks at the funeral as is Terry Stewart, president of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum.

Final viewing is set for 10 a.m.; services begin at 11.

Interment immediately following the services at Puritan Lawn Cemetery, 185 Lake St., Peabody.

Arrangements by Vertuccio and Smith Funeral Home, 773 Broadway, Revere, Mass.

Reed, the last surviving original member of 1950s vocal group the Platters, who sang on such hits as "Only You" and "The Great Pretender," was 83.

Reed died in a Boston area hospice after a period of declining health that included chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, manager Fred Balboni said in an AP story posted at Boston.com

Reed was a Kansas City, Mo., native who founded the Platters in Los Angeles in 1953. Then a quartet, the group won amateur talent shows, and performed nights and weekends up and down the California coast while the members worked days at a car wash and at other odd jobs.

Reed came up with the group's name, inspired by 1950s disc jockeys who called their records platters.

The group underwent several lineup changes, even adding a woman singer to become a quintet, before signing their first major recording contract in 1955.

Reed sang bass on the group's four No. 1 hits, including "The Great Pretender," "My Prayer," "Twilight Time" and "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes."

Over the years, Reed obejected to numerous "great pretenders." He filed many lawsuits in an effort to protect the legacy of the orignal Platters, who were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

In April, he sued, operating as Herb Reed Enterprises LLP, a group that bills itself as the Platters in Las Vegas. Before entering a hospice, he lived in a Mass. Ave. apartment.

The Globe reported June 7 that a service is planned for June 16 that may include old friends, such as Little Richard.


This story was published Tuesday, June 5, 2012, and updated June 7 and June 10 with funeral arrangements.

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