The Platters: Millennials find a link to the music of the ‘50s
The Junior-Senior Promenade – more fondly called JS Prom – is one of the occasions every high school student looks forward to when February comes. It’s the night when love song classics like “My Valentine”, “King and Queen of Hearts”, and “Only You” echo in the four corners of event halls while students sway to their timeless melody.
“Only You” was released back in 1955 by American music icon The Platters.
The Platters were hailed as “Grammy Hall of Famers” for “Only You” and “The Great Pretender” in 1999 and 2002, respectively.
Almost half a decade later, the iconic group was passed on to its new members: Eddie Stovall, Mose Stovall Jr., Deneen Davis, Kim Leo Green, and Frederick Berry.
In an exclusive interview with INQUIRER.net, Stovall Jr. and Davis agreed that an overwhelming number of new artists in this generation trace the roots of their music to earlier bands.
“I believe that nowadays, live singing and live band music is starting to make its way back to the forefront, and The Platters were the forerunners in this vocal and real live singing,” Davis, the rose among the thorns, said.
The son of Eddie Stovall also said that the music of the present generation patterned their songs from previous bands.
“They are imitating what they learned from earlier groups such as Platters.” Stovall said.
Despite the similarities that the two vocalists see in recent songs, Davis and Stovall expressed utmost gratitude to today’s youth who listen to their music.
“It is an honor for us to be able to continue singing the songs and to know that the younger generations are singing the songs and playing the songs, and loving the songs and knowing what real love lyrics mean,” Davis said.
Only You was revived by former Pinoy Big Brother Housemate Sam Milby in 2006. Milby’s version was used for a TV show that he and Angel Locsin starred in.
Since then, the Platters’ song became a familiar tune to the current generation. It has been bridging the gap between the 50’s generation and the millennials.
Among the testaments to this are Renj Barbara Anne Gutierrez and Jandelo Sarmiento, who say Only You is the song that recalls the time they met.
Despite the numerous covers made for Only You, Gutierrez said it was The Platters’ version that they like because “it’s a version of the song I can see myself dancing with him to on the night of our wedding reception.”
Gutierrez said she chose the song because it was Sarmiento who helped her snap out of an emotional low when they first crossed paths in January 2017.
“I was heavily depressed when I met him, and I didn’t know he was someone capable of making me smile even when I felt like shit,” she said.
“He’s the only one capable of making me this happy,” Gutierrez, 19, added.
Sarmiento, 19, said he never had the chance to sing the song seriously to Gutierrez because he easily got distracted by sing other songs.
He said he occasionally sang to Guiterrez whenever they were together or when they talked on the phone.
“I still court her every day because I don’t want to take her for granted,” he said.
They said they had always been fans of old, classic songs – specifically those released in the 60’s or earlier. Sarmiento believes he got his fondness of old songs from his parents.
For them, the chorus of Only You truly reflected their overflowing emotions for each other. They said they inspire one another to live life beautifully.
“If you’re depressed, it’s very difficult to find motivation. And I have the tendency of viewing the world worse than it already is. I’m a very pessimistic girl and Delo helped me pursue a more optimistic outlook in life,” Gutierrez said referring to the first two lines of the song.
“Before we met, I was failing all my classes and decided to drop out for a while; and when we met. Something inside me sparked and she gave me a new purpose. Not just a purpose for her but for myself as well,” Sarmiento said.
“I enrolled in a different college and I’m doing way better than before, I strive every day to be better for the both of us,” he added.
Another living testament that The Platters’ music can bridge the gap between the 50s’ and the youth today is Carl Reginald Diaz.
Diaz said he had known the iconic song of The Platters since he was 10-years old because of his grandfather.
“Naaalala ko tuwing Sunday, nagpapatugtog ng oldies yung lolo ko, tapos dun ko sya madalas naririnig,” the 21 year-old nursing student said.
Despite of not remembering the full lyrics of the song, Diaz admitted that when he first heard Only You over the radio, he thought that it was a really old but with “meaningful lyrics.”
“Meaningful dahil based on the lyrics, damang-dama mo yung sincerity nung singer towards ‘You’, whoever that may be,” he added.
For Diaz, the song of The Platters is one of the ways to bridge the gap between him and his 69-year old grandfather. He said that the song somewhat makes him goes back to the time of his grandfather.
“Through that song, na-imagine ko a little bit kung anong klase yung mga kanta nung mga bata pa sila,” he said.
Given the evolution of music and the advances in technology over the past generations, the vocalists of The Platters said their music would always be relevant to the youth because “love is always the same.”
“This music is so set in its greatness that it just grows with everyone. The evolution is in the music itself because of the lyrics and because of the passion and the love that we’re always put into The Platters songs,” Davis said.
“Music is timeless so we just stay relevant because love is always the same, just goodness, just warmth, just energy, just love. So that’s what these songs and what the Platters are — just love and about love,” she added.
“Love never dies in Platters’ music,” Stovall said. /cbb
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