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Clio Express: A Conversation with Charlie Thomas

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ROCK AND ROLL HALL OF FAMER (1988) Charlie Thomas was born in Lynchburg, Virginia on April 7, 1937. He was a member of a group known as the Five Crowns in 1958 along with Ben Earl Nelson (later known as Ben E. King), who were managed by Lover Patterson who sacrificed mightily to get the group exposed.

While the The Five Crowns met with little commercial success, they enjoyed local popularity and that is why they were on the bill at the Apollo Theater in New York City in 1958 when George Treadwell fired his original group, The Drifters, and offered the fellows in The Five Crowns the opportunity to take their place. It was Charlie Thomas' voice that Treadwell heard and got him focused on recruiting a new group of Drifters.

Lover Patterson once said that Charlie Thomas' voice was one that the world would enjoy forever, and he was right!  The new Drifters first release in 1959 was a song called "There Goes My Baby". This was the beginning of what is generally acknowledged as the Golden Years of the Drifters which led to, in 1988, Charlie Thomas, along with other original members, Doc Green, Ben E. King and Elsbery Hobbs being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame at the Waldorf Astoria in New York City. 

Songs that featured Charlie Thomas in the lead are:  When My Little Girl Is Smiling, Save The Last Dance For Me. Up On The Roof, This Magic Moment, Under The Boardwalk, Sweets For My Sweet, Saturday Night At The Movies, On Broadway, There Goes My Baby, Dance With Me, I Don't Want To Go On, Roomful Of Tears

We’re gonna have a great discussion with Charlie Thomas.

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