Wednesday, February 1, 2023

R.I.P.: Charlie Thomas, Member of The Drifters

Charlie Thomas (1937-2023)

He was part of one of the most iconic R&B groups of all time, and today we mourn the passing of Charlie Thomas, longtime member of The Drifters. 

He was 85 and passed after a battle with hepatocarcinoma, according to Soultracks.

Thomas was leading a vocal group called The Five Crowns (which also included the late, great Ben E. King) when fate came calling. The Drifters had a falling out among the members in 1958, and group leader George Treadwell recruited The Five Crowns to become the new Drifters. This version of the group released the smash "There Goes My Baby," working for the first time with legendary songwriter/producers Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, and followed with a string of hits including the top 10 "Save The Last Dance For Me" and "This Magic Moment." Thomas took his share of leads over the next few years on a few of the group's charters, including "When My Little Girl Is Smiling" and "Sweets For My Sweet."

Thomas remained in the group until 1967, a relatively long period for a group known for its many personnel changes. He returned to a new version of the group a few years later and was involved in a longstanding legal dispute over the rights of the group name.

Later, Thomas formed his own version of the group, Charlie Thomas' Drifters, performing in multi-artist nostalgia shows around the world for two decades until illness sidelined him in the past few years. Thomas was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of fame in 1988 along with several other former members of The Drifters.

1 comment:

  1. Rest In Peace Charlie, yourself, Sam Cook and Levi Stubs were my favorite singers. All gone, but not to be forgotten. Your memory and my youth lives on in the music you left us with.
    Prayers for your family Charlie. You were a proud Man and I am so thankful I was here during your time on earth.
    Rest In Peace my Christian Friend. ❤️πŸ™πŸ’§πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡Έ
    Tom Armbruster