Saturday, February 14, 2015

The Drifter Wars "Battle For Supremacy"

Call it what you may! But the Drifter wars have been going on for as long as the name Drifters have been in existence. Not long after 1958, Bill Pinkney was having much displeasure with the Treadwell management with disputes over money issues. The disputes eventually would lead to a breakup and formation of splinter groups which have plagued the organization ever since. The Drifters for the most part became one of the  most unstable outfits in showbiz history. Yet this change of personnel over the years became somewhat the hallmark of success but sadly has been destructive to it's members through in fighting for supremacy for the top group in the marketplace. It has also created a host of hybrid, pirate and tribute acts which have lent to the erosion of the brand as we have known it. Pinkney as road manager had a better grasp of the financial situation than any other member of the group, and was always fighting with management for more money for the singers. As soon as the old drifters were fired by Treadwell at the Apollo Theatre he wasted no time forming a new group composed of original members Gerhart and Andrew Thrasher and Little David Baughan who would replace Clyde McPhatter who at the time was busy with a solo career. They would call themselves The Original Drifters. Looking at the facts! though Treadwell had now formed a new group of Drifters from the Crowns. Bill Pinkneys Original Drifters who had recorded such songs as "Honey Bee" and "Know Sweet lovin" in 1955, musically had more right to the name, though the Crowns were the legal group using it. Pinkney in 1978 finally officially won his right to the use of the name The original Drifters after a succession of singers over the years. Sadly Bill Pinkney, last of the original Drifters and first of the Original Drifters, passed away on July 4, 2007 at age 81.


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