There has been much fanfare around the subject of the Drifters brand in recent years since the days of management by the original owners or one might say the early Treadwell management style. For one the concept of brand can be confusing to many out there to include those who for the most part were part of the exploitation that was rooted at the core of the organizational style. At the end only division has surfaced among it's ranks which you can see with the proliferation of the many spin off groups over the years. This also brings into question what is distinctly a brand and what are the different components of what makes up a brand. Now in reality The Drifters as a name didn't begin with the Atlantic group of Drifters that you know of in history. It was a name that surfaced among a number of other musical outfits during the early fifties. Particularly that of country and western bands of that era both in the United States and abroad in such places as England UK and Ireland. Names that surface are the Carolina Drifters, the Evergreen Drifters, the Texas Drifters, the Ozark Drifters, Johnny Whitlock and the Drifters, the Dixieland Drifters, and the Dixie Drifters (there were probably many more in this list). There were also Joe Dolan and the Drifters (from Ireland) and Cliff Richard and the Drifters (from England). Then there was Jimmy Williams and the Drifters, a 1954 white group from Michigan. Another offering was Jeril Deane and the Drifters (a white Pop trio) on Vita, from mid-1953. Most of these were pre-Atlantic Drifters. According to Marv Goldberg in his commentary on pre- Atlantic Drifters there were legitimate groups which appeared on London (1949-50), Coral (1950), Excelsior (1951), Class (1953), and Crown records (1954). After the Atlantic Drifters had their No#1 hit. A group of Drifters surfaced on Crown Records a subsidiary of Modern who were in fact the group called the robins during this period obviously looking to capitalize on the name. Today there are country group such as the Dirt Drifters, The Southern Drifters, Midnight Drifters and the Neon Drifter bands. Then there are the Tribute Drifter groups spread across both the US and Europe. The history of rhythm and blues is filled with vocal groups whose names ... no one at Atlantic liked "the Drifters" at first, thinking it sounded too country & western ... Now the word brand derives from the the old Norse "brandr" meaning to burn recalling the old custom of producers burning their mark (or brand) onto their products. According to Wiki Pedia (Although connected with the history of trademarks and including earlier examples which could be deemed "protobrands" (such as the marketing puns of the "Vesuvinum" wine jars found at Pompeii), brands in the field of mass-marketing originated in the 19th century with the advent of packaged goods. Industrialization moved the production of many household items, such as soap, from local communities to centralized factories. When shipping their items, the factories would literally brand their logo or insignia on the barrels used, extending the meaning of "brand" to that of a trademark). So as you can see The Drifters as a name has travelled in many direction since it's conception. Yet it takes more than a name to distinguish one brand or trademark from the next. The Atlantic group of Drifters in it's beginning was much rooted in R & B and gospel but managed to cross over to popular music styles in later years. Yet for the most part it has always been an American brand but today has lost much of it's American identity as far as the core or legitimate group. Drifter songs have become distinguishable depending on the era that one is familiar with. We are left with the question has the true brand lost it's way.
(CORNER TALK REPORT) ....by Butch Leake
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