Saturday, July 30, 2005

50 years ago: The Platters chart with “Only You”

Only You (And You Alone)

The Platters

Writer(s): Ande Rand, Buck Ram (see lyrics here)

First Charted: July 30, 1955

Peak: 5 US, 3 CB, 4 HR, 17 RB, 5 UK, 19 AU, 2 DF (Click for codes to charts.)

Sales (in millions): 1.0 US, -- UK, 1.0 world (includes US + UK)

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): 6.0 radio, 90.18 video, 122.62 streaming


Click on award for more details.

About the Song:

Buck Ram signed the Platters and managed them, but was primarily a songwriter. His first big success was with “I’ll Be Home for Christmas,” which was a hit for Bing Crosby. AH He wrote “Only You” originally with the Ink Spots in mind, but they never recorded it. He stuck the sheet music in a box where his assistant, Jean Bennett, later discovered it. Ram said the song was rubbish, but she put it on top of his piano where the Platters’ lead singer Tony Williams found it and insisted they record it. AH

They recorded this song in 1954 for Federal Records, but it wasn’t released. When the doo-wop group moved to Mercury Records in 1955, they re-recorded it and scored a hit when it was released in May. It went to #1 on the Billboard R&B chart and hit #5 on the pop chart. Their “deliciously smooth, rich vocal textures on ‘Only You’ owed something to swing-era outfits like the Mills Brothers and the Ink Spots but it made them the first black combo of the rhythm & blues years to earn mainstream success” TB with a song that “was neither a jump tune or some kind of novelty.” DM

Herb Reed, the bass singer, said the group “tried it so many times, and it was terrible. One time we were rehearsing in the car…and the car jerked. Tony went ‘O-oHHHH-nly you.’ We laughed at first, but when he sang that song—that was the sign we had hit on something.” WK Ram, however, had a different take. He said Williams’ voice broke in rehearsal but they kept the effect on the recording. WK

The Hilltoppers also recorded the song in 1955, reaching #8 on the U.S. charts and #3 in the UK. In 1959, Franck Pourcel took an instrumental version of the song to #9 on the Billboard Hot 100. Ringo Starr recorded it in 1974 and took it to #6. Harry Connick Jr., Brenda Lee, Little Richard, Reba McEntire, Roy Orbison, Carl Perkins, and the Statler Brothers also recorded versions. WK


First posted 3/13/2021; last updated 3/24/2023.

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