Many oldies acts are 'great pretender...

Many oldies acts are 'great pretenders' -

There are 30 comments on the Newsday story from Aug 18, 2007, titled Many oldies acts are 'great pretenders' -. In it, Newsday reports that:

More than five decades after the Platters' "Only You" topped the charts, there are no fewer than 11 versions of the Platters touring the country crooning the band's signature doo-wop songs.

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Charlestown, NH

#1 Aug 19, 2007
Kudos to Lenny Cocco! These bogus doo-wop groups should never be allowed to call themselves by the original names. It is outrageous and a rip-off. I've been stung by this practice too. The original groups such as the "Chimes" the "Platters" the "Five Satins" etc. were genious with their songs and arrangements. I support you Lenny.

p.s. "Once In Awhile" was one of the greatest songs ever recorded. Thank you Lenny for the wonderful memories.
by m

Paterson, NJ

#2 Aug 19, 2007
This is a legal civil matter that has nothing to do with taxpayer money and a legislative body should not get involved.

Bronx, NY

#3 Aug 19, 2007
by m is 100% correct.

This is a simple, legal matter. If one abandons intellectual property, like real property, then their rights are lost. If the performer has not bothered to acquire the trademark to the group's name, then others should have access to that property.

United States

#4 Aug 19, 2007
What a ripoff some of these promoters are. This is an insult to the original groups. Who were and still are sensational.
What A Bunch

Bronx, NY

#5 Aug 19, 2007
This issue, while unfortunate, is not something the SC Leg should spend one second on. It has no bearing on tax dollars, directly or indirectly, in any way. Proper, correct and appropriate advice, when called by a constituient, is all that is necessary.

The Leg seems bent on considering inane issues. The CFL issue,(fluorescent v. incandescent light bulbs) while worthy for the county to pursue to reduce county energy costs, is commendable. The further pursuit to make illegal the sale of and include all county residents and businesses to replace bulbs with CDLs is ludicrous. Now what? CDL Police?
Tom from Syosset

Brooklyn, NY

#6 Aug 19, 2007
I spent many years working as a backup musician for the "original" versions of more than one hundred 50s-60s groups. Sadly, in the 90s, many of the original lead singers either passed away or completely lost the voices that had touched so many people. To keep the groups going, a background singer (who, perhaps, had only joined the group many years after the hits were recorded) would move to the position of lead and the show would go on. At a certain point, you ended up with a group comprised of background singers who had performed with some of the original members but had nothing to do with the group's hit records. This was the beginning of the "imposter group" problem.

In cases where the original lead was alive but not sounding so great anymore, it was actually refreshing to have a strong, young voice in front of the group. The Platters are an excellent example. The last time I worked with Tony Williams (the original lead singer on The Platters' biggest hits) he had absolutely no voice left and could barely stand upright on stage. It would have been a total embarrassment had he not been a legend in the eyes of the audience of 20,000. Shortly afterward, I played with the same group, different lead singer. The guy was dead-on with his Tony Williams impersonation and the harmonies all worked like a charm. Musically, this was a much, much more satisfying performance, although there wasn't a single original Platter within 200 miles.

The point is, when original group members pass away or become bored with the "oldies" scene, they are going to leave, whether WE like it or not. Then, we have the choice of either letting go of the memories and the great music or closing our eyes and pretending the 25 year-old tuxedo- clad crooners on stage are the real thing.

I believe Lenny Coco and his group are in a different league, as they still present a fairly "authentic" group. At least they did the last time I saw them. In that case, for any group to have the GALL to try to sell themselves as The Chimes is outrageous. But I think Lenny and his group are such a class act that no imitation should pose a threat to them.

Anybody who is really committed to original groups, even obscure one-hit wonders, should check out Ronnie I's UGHA (United in Group Harmony Association). I haven't done a show with Ronnie in several years, but in the 1990's he worked his butt off to re-unite all surviving original members of classic doo wop groups to put on some excellent shows.

Final word: Sadly, many years ago, the people who bought doo wop records inadvertently created this problem. In my years as a backup musician for hundreds of oldies shows, I had opportunities to speak candidly with many of the biggest stars of that era..."legends" who were now working as menial laborers and living in welfare housing. Some of the stories are absolutely tragic.

The record companies and agents in those days treated the artists, mostly African-American teenagers, with shameful disrespect. They sold them on the glory of being adored by scores of young women but paid them little or no money for their work. In many cases, the agents or record execs managed to steal the writing credits - and thus all future royalties - from the composers of the songs. And these were songs you still hear every day.

By being unaware of these practices in those days, we created an entire generation of one-time pop stars who are now struggling to stay alive. I believe we should try to support them...when we can.
Sensible One

Mahopac, NY

#7 Aug 19, 2007
Thanks for your input Tom. Audiences, I think by way of recent PBS concert specials, are becoming more aware of the frequent IN-authenticity of singing groups who perform in these reunion shows. They are very capable performers, no doubt, but this is a case of truth in advertising. People will still buy the product even if it is pared down or not what it claims to be. I feel for the Frankie Lymons, The Drifters and also a group called The Vogues who have the ultimate nightmare story on music rights and claims to their very name. I do voice shows (Joe E Mack)of celebrities well-known and have yet to encounter a legal action. But the gist of my show is well-understood-it's to highlight the image or persona of a singer/actor/politician without claiming to be that person. The case of doo-wop groups; etc is tricky in that the audience doesn't know what it's getting or not getting. Legislation would be a slow process. Grass roots reaction from folks like yourself keeps us more well informed.

Johnson City, TN

#8 Aug 19, 2007

United States

#9 Aug 19, 2007
There's nothing here to debate! ALL PHONEY GROUPS SHOULD BE DISBANDED INDEFINITLEY OR PAY A FINE! The promoters should pay a fine as well as the performers! Certainly more than $1500 a peice. A pretty good percentage of which should go to any surviving original members, if none surviving then their families, then the certainly the courts.

Bronx, NY

#10 Aug 19, 2007

With all due respect, you're wrong-- and the solution you spew violates constitutionally protected fundamental property rights. The Suffolk County Legislature is clearly overreaching.

If someone is a bona fide holder of a trademarked name, then that person (or group) has every right to use their property as they see fit.
Ann Williston Park


#12 Aug 19, 2007
I have been a fan of rock 'n roll since 1952 and am very
sorry that the groups are having so much trouble. I thought you had to be an original member of the group you were representing. The Suffolk County Legislator has every right to protect prople. That is what they are there for.
The Great American

Piedmont, OK

#13 Aug 19, 2007
I love the old original groups not phonies. Some CD"s are rip offs they are not the original recordings but an up to date version. They are always trying to rip people off so do your homework when purchasing tickets or cd's.

South Bound Brook, NJ

#14 Aug 19, 2007
way to go lenny!!
Who Cares

United States

#15 Aug 20, 2007
This is what I am paying my tax dollars on? Doesn't the SC Legislature have anything better to do? Why can't they focus on important topics, rather than "has beens" who have friends that work for the County?! There are so many important issues happening, people! This is nonsense!

Lebanon, NH

#17 Aug 20, 2007
Who Cares wrote:
This is what I am paying my tax dollars on? Doesn't the SC Legislature have anything better to do? Why can't they focus on important topics, rather than "has beens" who have friends that work for the County?! There are so many important issues happening, people! This is nonsense!
Who cares? I care and thousands of other people care. This IS important business. It's called infringement protection. Isn't that what the Legislature does, protect the citizens regardless of what business they are in...Suggestion: put a "Heavy Metal" CD in your player. Put your headphones on your ears. Turn the volume all the way up and chill.

United States

#22 Aug 21, 2007
alrighty then
Leo Lucas


#23 Sep 24, 2007
I have to tell you. SC Leg. should stay out of this. There is a State Law now and we don't need any Local Laws. We have enough Laws. I am an Original Cavalier (LAST KISS) from the recording Studio. 1964 There are plenty of Cavaliers all over the country. I own the Trade mark. I don't really care. I work with my guys and we are happy. I think this was made bigger then it should have been. I am glad for the law but we don't have any problem here on Long Island. Lenny is a good friend of mine but he likes to see his name in the papers like all of us do. I wish everyone the best of luck. Don't hurt our love DOO WOP.
sid holmes

Fort Worth, TX

#24 Apr 21, 2008
Leo Lucas is an imposrter having absolutely nothing to do with J. Frank Wilson, Last Kiss or The Cavaliers. He does not own any Cav trademark. Go to then the Honor Roll then J. Frank then click on The Cavaliers (it's underlined) for the complete hiatory of The Cav's. Since NY passed the Truth in Music law this guy is going to go down.

United States

#25 Aug 11, 2008
Some concert-goers play the "I believe in Santa" game: they don't want to face the fact that the groups they pay to see are imposters. Other folks like the songs and haven't a clue as to the group membership. MOst fans could care less!

Since: Sep 08

Columbia, MD

#26 Sep 27, 2008
Anyone know where Bennie Anderson and the Drifters fit into the "Drifters" history?

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