Monday, June 4, 2012
"The Drifter Wars" Atlantic/Bell, Arista Years
In 1969 saw the Drifters in a very much
Relegated down to playing mom an pop shows along the eastern
seaboard with it's ever changing lineup. Atlantic Records long had stopped
looking at the group as a viable recording entity.
Atlantic Records had only been releasing one record a year on the group
from 1967 through 1971, non making it to the top 100 in the charts.
Though the songs continued to remain popular among the die hard Drifter
fans and management continued to reap most of the rewards from record
sales. The brand splintered off into a number of factions.
Charlie Thomas an former members Doc Green and Elsbeary Hobbs formed
a Drifters group and soon began to challenge the treadwell ownership.
Through there mis-adventure in filing for a Drifters service mark
in Washington DC. under the Drifters partnership they allied with
Larry Marshak long known to be somewhat dubious in the business of
acquiring trade mark names.
On the other end of matters Treadwell who owned the name since the
Clyde McPhatter days along with Johnny Moore, The late Bill Fredricks,
Grant Kitchings and Butch Leake signed new recording contracts in 1972
with then UK based Bell Records who later became Arista.
Due to this signing an the hit records which came out of it, the Drifters
brand as an entity was back on the map again under the successful writing
and production team of British Producer/writer Roger Greenway, Tony Macaulay
and Barry Mason.
It was under this team at Greenway music and the then Bell Record president
Dick Leahy which sent the group back to the top of the charts to rule the airwaves.
On the dark side of matters the battles were heating up on who should
own the Drifters service mark between the Treadwells an the Marshaks.
Bill Pickney who filed for a service mark under the Original Drifters
had also entered the Frey trying to establish his prominence had on
going legal battles with Treadwell and Marshak.
Later others would enter the market place. Rick Sheppard Drifters,
Don Thomas and his Drifters both former members of the latter 60s
group under Treadwell.
In Europe Billy Lewis former replacement member of the 70s group
formed a group under the title Nu Drifters.
To add to the melee scores of pirate groups surfaced to claim a spot
to the Drifters fame who had no recorded history with the act at all.
Stay tuned to this continued series on The Drifter Wars here at
Corner Talk Report.
(Corner Talk Report) For related info on the Drifters Legends Read: