Call it what you like but the fact is what we call The Drifters is no more than a brand a concept that began way back in 1953, which hired and fired it's members giving them low salaries and virtually no royalties on recordings. The Drifters is one of those sad stories of brand vs band where the only identity is in the brands name and members for the most part were forever banded from using or identifying ever being with a group called The Drifters according to contractual agreement that members signed. Though the paradox in all of that one signed over the use of name and likeness which is a standard in the recording industry to promote the brand and product. Another strange paradox is management and lawyers for the brand would claim that those who made up the group around the lead singer were only session singers when it came down to royalty issues and were not Drifters, though you were the Drifters for all other purposes. In other cases members were hired and fired so fast that there would never be a chance for any sound claim to any lasting identity with the Legendary brand or group so to speak. The lead singers were the only ones who had lasting identity with the brand during the early part of the groups history and much of the 60 or more members who came through it's ranks are lost through the pages of history. Not so though with The Bell/Arista period as this lineup managed to stay together for four to five years, recording a number of albums and songs that became big hits during the 70s. Unlike many of the members during the earlier years each of it's members became household names unto themselves and their identity became ever fixed to the Drifter history lineage.
Butch Leake (CORNER TALK REPORT)
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