Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The Drifter Wars/A Note

Just a note.... I've always been about history and a most of you know
or may not know history is the key to most things in understanding man 
his life and accomplishments on the planet.

yet there are those out there who pervert and publish misinformation
for one reason or the other which brings me to the history of The Drifters.

My goal is to try and bring you the facts as they present themselves
past, present, and future to set the record straight on the the continued
controversy around the 60yr old organization.

This is why in part I started The Drifter Wars series and have decided to
enter this on going debate.

It is quite sad after all these years the prostitution of The Drifters name
goes on by would be wannabes, uninformed writers, promoters, agents
and all those who simply just want to capitalize on the name with out
regard for the true people who made it happen over the years.

One thing for sure I'm here to talk about you and that I will do.
So be warned!

For continued happening in The Drifter Wars log into "Corner Talk Report"

(Corner Talk Report) For related info on The Drifters Legends log into

The Drifters Legends website:

The Drifters Legends are licensed through Prism Music group(PMG) UK

For other related data on The Drifters Legends and it's history Log into

Thursday, July 26, 2012

The Drifter Wars/Internal Strife

Internal strife has played a role inside the Drifter camp
for years.

Management for the most part created an atmosphere of
hostility which when you look at it closely helped
maintain a level of control over the organizations
bottom line.

Under the brand hiring, firing became a standard
practice and all members who came through it's ranks
were expendable.

The brand itself was the Drifters, management would
make no bones that they were the Drifters and you were
just a hired employee.

A variance in pay scales was maintained in side the
camp which for the most part kept conflict on going
between it's members to include bonuses where

Equality never stood a chance in the design of the brand
as strife between members for lead spots was a consistent

Though you had legendary lead voices which surfaced over
the years you were never paid what you were truly worth
and members argued for the positions they held or didn't

For the most part all recognition went to the brand
never to individual members and once terminated you were
never to be honored to have been with the act as far as
the management eyes were concerned.

Though on the surface your name and likeness were forever
part of the media in it's sales of product, the illusion
was that you never existed and contracts were designed
for members to sign to try an force this illusion.

These practices have left much bitterness among the members
and continues to do so today, hints the continued divide in
it's ranks.

Mending these problems have been a focus of the new
management today but still pose a difficult and challenging
task to conquer.

For continued happening in the Drifter Wars log in here at
"Corner Talk Report"

(Corner Talk Report) For related info on The Drifter Legends:

The Drifters Legends Website:

The Drifters Legends are licensed through Prism Music Group (PMG)

For other relative data on the Drifters Legends and it's History log in:

Monday, July 16, 2012

The Drifter Wars/Stolen Legacy

A manager of a group know as the Drifters files a suit against
a former member (Doc Green) charging the defendants use of the name
constituted infringement of registered trademark.

In December 17, 1976 Doc Green together with Charles Thomas and
Elsbeary Hobbs filed in the United States Patent and Trademark
office a service-mark application in the name of "The Drifters",
a partnership composed of all three.

For the record these three were some of the men who were the voices
on some of The Drifters greatest hits throughout the 60s and who's
pictures were noted on album covers but were not the first know
group of Drifters to record in history or the last.

Shortly there after all three men assign all their rights, Title
and interest in the pending application to manager on the agreement
that he would continue as their manager and be vigilant in
stopping others from using "The Drifters" name.

Thomas, Hobbs and Green continued to perform under management agreement
until June of 1979, when green disgruntled an no longer happy with
groups financial arrangements breaks away and forms another group
using the name "The Drifters"

Under this charade all parties were aware that others out there
were using "The Drifters" name but gave false testimony to the
Patent and Trademark Office to the fact.

In the long run all four parties lost and came out with nothing but
heartache in laying claim to something that wasn't theirs in the
first place.

This scenario continues today as would be Drifter groups continue
to surface claiming legitimacy to the legacy under the brand and rogue
agents, promoters etc. continue to aid and abet these fraudulent practices.

Today Thomas performs under the title Charlie Thomas and the Drifters
but does so under violation in that he is not licensed to do so. Green
an Hobbs are now deceased.

Bobby Hendricks performs with his own set of Drifters but not under license.

Rick Sheppard performs with his group of Drifters but currently holds a
Trademark in Canada and does not work under license in the United States.

The Original Drifters perform under a service mark originally owned by
Original Drifter member from 1953 the late Bill Pinkney but non of the
four men in that group have ever performed on any Drifter records.

The official Drifters group are currently performing in Europe and are the only
legitimate Drifters out there today.

Then there is the Drifters Legends former members who are the the only licensed
performing group also out there today.

PMG (Prism Music Group) currently holds the worldwide licensing of The Drifters an
the Drifters Legends. The name is owned by the Treadwell family.

For continued updates on the Drifters Wars log into Corner Talk Report.

(Corner Talk Report) Fro related info on the Drifters Legends:

The Drifters Legends Website:

Thursday, July 12, 2012

The Drifter Wars/ The Drifters Brand

Butch Leake & Joe Blunt with Lynn Kopp (Marketing) and John Jackson (Vice President) A&R Sony Music

Ironic after almost 60 years come 2013 an 60 or so members
through it's lineup The Drifters as a brand is still going

Since the days when Treadwell acquired the name the Drifters
the Idea of a brand was forever apart of the legacy.

It's competing members unknowingly today continue to
add to the concept of the brand through in fighting
as each try to usurp their superiority along with the numerous
pirate groups as the legitimate Drifter group.

The fact is the group was a dead issue towards the end of the
60s, Atlantic records which was the home of the Drifters during the
early years had ceased to promote the brand as a viable entity.

It wasn't til the early 70s an what became known as the Bell/Arista
Record period that The Drifters brand received new life with a
number of top 10 hits under the prolific British songwriting and productions
of Greenway music headed by Roger Greenway, with writers Tony Mccauley
and Barry Mason.

Though the songs for the most part were never released here in the
United States they did manage to get in through imports.

Recently some of those songs again have gone gold through release
with Sony Music who currently is the custodian of the Bell/Arista

In brief ceremonies in the UK and here in the United States living
members of those years received Gold awards from Sony Music for the
current sales of the CD album titled The Drifters "Up On The Roof"
The Very Best Of.

This CD also included new tracks performed by the current Official
Drifters Group today....

In the continuing Drifter Wars you have Charlie Thomas and his Drifters
who a long with Ben E. King were featured on many of the 60s  Drifters
songs claiming to to be the only legitimate Drifters alive today.
Yet there is Bobby Hendricks who came along before any of them in the
early 50s who they don't want to recognize.

Johnny Terry A Drifter member who is still a live and who lives in
the Detroit area of the country was also a known member out of
the early years.

Rick Sheppard also who worked with Charlie during the 60s is never
mentioned and given credit for his contributions.

Now there are the Drifter Legends which for the most part should be
all of these former members but sadly Charlie Thomas and Ben E. King
turned downed the proposal to return to this fold so as to set the
record straight on who are the legitimate members of this 60 year brand.

The current Legends lineup are now Joe Blunt, Butch Leake, Clyde Brown
and Rick Sheppard.

For continued updates on the Drifter Wars log in here at

(Corner Talk Report) for related info on the Drifters Legends:

The Drifters Legends Website:

Monday, July 9, 2012

The Drifter Wars/Marshak vs. Sheppard

May 11, 1987 saw another action in US District Court
New York when Drifters member Rick Sheppard
moved for stay in favor of prior state court action
pending between him and Larry Marshak." Motion Denied"

The district Court, Milton Pollack, Senior District
Judge, held that no exceptional circumstances existed
that would warrant stay on abstention grounds,
particularly in view of dormancy of prior parallel
state action.

In the backround of this case the Plaintiff known as
Larry marshak at the time a manager of another
performing group known as The Drifters claimed to be
owner of a federally registered trademark for vocal
and instrumental music rendered by the group and
for the goodwill associated with the name The Drifters.

Marshak filed his suit on December 31 1986.
In his Amended Complaint he made three claims:
for infringement of his trademark in violation of the
Lanham Act,

The Lanham Act of 1946, also known as the Trademark Act (15 U.S.C.A. § 1051 et seq., ch. 540, 60 Stat. 427 [1988 & Supp. V 1993]), is a federal statute that regulates the use of Trademarks in commercial activity. Trademarks are distinctive pictures, words, and other symbols or devices used by businesses to identify their goods and services. The Lanham Act gives trademark users exclusive rights to their marks, thereby protecting the time and money invested in those marks. The act also serves to reduce consumer confusion in the identification of goods and services.

The Lanham Act was not the first federal legislation on trademarks, but it was the first comprehensive federal legislation. Before the Lanham Act, most of trademark law was regulated by a variety of state laws.

for unfair compettition; and for infringment under state law.

Marshak at the time made several request for declaratory and
injunctive relief, plus damages.

He requested a decree of the court that defendant Sheppard
had infringed upon his trademark and that they had falsely
promoted their entertainment services.

He further requested that the court would enjoin the
defendant and his associates from using the name The Drifters
or simular words to promote their own services. Lastly
he asked for treble damages and cost to be paid.

In an Amended answer to the Amended complaint, Sheppard
admits at the time he was engaged in the live entertainment
industry as a performer in a group known as Rick Sheppard
and The Drifters.

Sheppard interposes several affirmatives defenses to the
allegations by Marshak.

Sheppard claimed that Marshaks trademark was invalid in that
it was first obtained under false pretenses and then
granted "incontestability" status pursuant to U.S.C.1065
under further false pretenses.

He also asserted the defense of laches that he had allegedly
used th name "Rick Sheppard and the Drifters" openly and
continuously for over a period of ten years.

Lastly Sheppard asserted that the plaintiff, Marshak with
anothe filed two suits against him and another in New York State
Court in 1975 and 1978, over  essentially the same subject matter.

In all this Sheppard had asserted eight counter claims against
plainfiff marshak to include violations of antitrust, trademark
law, unfair competition, malicious prosecution, defamation,
inducement to breach of contract, and interference with business

(Corner Talk Report) for related info on the Drifters Legends:

The Drifters Legends Website: