Home Entertainment Charlie Thomas Cause of Death: Farewell to the King of Drifting!

Charlie Thomas Cause of Death: Farewell to the King of Drifting!

by Ana Lopez
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Charles Nowlin Thomas, an American singer best known for his work with The Drifters, lived from April 7, 1937 to January 31, 2023. When George Treadwell fired his band, The Drifters, at the Apollo Theater in 1958, Thomas was there singing performance. with The Five Crowns.

The Five Crowns were enlisted by Treadwell to replace the Drifters. The 1959 hit “There Goes My Baby” served as the new Drifters’ lead single. “Sweets for My Sweet” and “When My Little Girl Is Smiling”, two of the group’s 40 biggest successes, featured Charlie as lead singer.

With the silky-smooth R&B group The Drifters, who scored a string of hits from 1959 to 1964 and were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, Charlie Thomas recorded such memorable songs as “There Goes My Baby” and “Under the Boardwalk.” . .”

Charlie Thomas died on January 31 at his home in Bowie, Maryland. A good friend and musician called Peter Lemongello Jr. claimed liver cancer was to blame. Tenor mr. Thomas was a member of the Drifters for over 60 years, performing with them from the time they had their first hits in the late 1950s until the pandemic hit.

In a telephone interview, Mr. Lemongello, the former lead singer of the Crests, who shared bills with Mr. Thomas, “He was getting older, but he was active pretty much every weekend.” “Unfortunately, he started to decline as he transitioned from being active to being at home.”

By accident, Mr. Thomas turned into a hobo. In 1958, while performing with the R&B group The Crowns at the Apollo Theater in Harlem, George Treadwell, manager of the original Drifters, who were also on the bill, noticed them.

Charlie Thomas cause of death
Charlie Thomas cause of death

According to music critic Marv Goldberg, Mr. Treadwell, who owned the name, fired all members of the Drifters and replaced them with Crowns members, including Mr. Thomas and Ben Nelson, who would later be known as Ben E. King, calling them the Drifters after one of the Drifters got drunk and cursed the owner of Apollo and the promoter of the show.

When Mr. Goldberg asked Mr. Thomas how it felt to suddenly become a drifter, Mr. Thomas replied, “When I was a kid, I played hooky from school to go to the Drifters in the Apollo.” It felt great.

The new Drifters completed the original band’s tour dates before beginning recording for Atlantic Records the following year, with songwriting duo Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller as producers. To make Mr. Thomas sing, Mr. King had written:There goes my baby.”

Billy Vera’s sleeve notes for “Rockin’ and Driftin’: The Drifters Box” (1996) state that Mr. Thomas froze at the studio microphone and Mr. King took over. In 1959, the song reached number 2 on the Billboard Hot 100.

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The hits continued for several years as the Drifters rose to prominence as one of the biggest bands of the era. Songs like ‘This Magic Moment’, ‘On the roof,” “Under the Boardwalk,” “On Broadway,” and “Saturday Night at the Movies” were played after “There Goes My Baby.”

They only had one song to reach the top spot, “Save the Last Dance for Me.” On April 7, 1937, Charles Nowlin Thomas was born in Lynchburg, Virginia. His mother, Lucinda (Nowlin) Thomas, was a housewife whose singing voice Charlie liked, and his father, Willis, was a minister.

Mr. Thomas revealed in a 2013 interview with artist and ethnomusicologist Craig Morrison that his father was a “holy role preacher in Virginia”. I played the tambourine and accepted the offering in my father’s church, and my mother sang in the choir.

There I followed my singing training. When he was ten years old, he went to Harlem with his mother and sister. He later found work in the garment industry with a hand truck. The Crowns’ manager, Lover Patterson, heard him singing on street corners and recruited him in 1958.

Before Mr. Treadwell turned them into the Drifters, the group recorded “Kiss and Make Up” for the composers’ short-lived R&B label, run by Doc Pomus and Mort Shuman. Mr. King, Rudy Lewis, and Johnny Moore, who had been in the group’s original iteration and returned to it in 1964, assumed lead vocals for most of the group’s songs when he left in 1960 for a solo career.

On “Sweets for My Sweet,” which peaked at No. 16 on the Hot 100 in 1961, and “When My Little Girl Is Smiling,” which peaked at No. 28 the following year, Mr. Thomas the lead vocals. A day after Mr. Lewis died in a hotel room in 1964, Mr. Thomas also provided lead vocals for the song “I Don’t Want to Go On Without You”.

In 2012, Mr. Thomas stated to Goldmine magazine, “I was the one who closed his eyelids when he died.” I love that song because it brings back a lot of memories, he continued.

According to the New York Times: Charlie Thomas, a tenor who recorded memorable songs like “There Goes My Baby” and “Under the Boardwalk” with the Drifters, the R&B group that had a string of hits from 1959 to 1964, has died at the age of 85.

The Drifters broke up in the late 1960s, although they continued to exist. Some of the band members left for England, where they performed under the name Drifters and were managed by Mr. Treadwell’s widow, Faye, who aggressively protected her legal claim to the name.

A member of Mr. Treadwell’s mid-1950s fireman Bill Pinkney later founded the Original Drifters. Although he passed away in 2007, the group still performs under his name. Later, Mr. Thomas briefly joined them before launching Charlie Thomas’s Drifters, who continued to perform until 2020. Over the years, many groups have also claimed the name of the Drifter.

His wife Rita Thomas, daughters Crystal Thomas Wilson and Victoria Green, sons Charlie Jr., Michael Sidbury and Brian Godfrey, as well as numerous grandchildren and great-grandchildren, survive Mr. Thomas.

Members of the 1953-1958 lineup, Mr. Pinkney, Clyde McPhatter, Gerhart Thomas and Johnny Moore, as well as those of the latter years, Mr. Thomas, Mr. King and Mr. Lewis, were all recognized when seven of the Drifters were placed in Inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1988.

In the induction essay, Michael Hill stated that “time has hardly aged their art,” rather, “their work has stood the test of time to become even more remarkable, more knowing.”

Never stop smiling; life is great and you have many reasons to enjoy it. With that information, I’ll wrap up this article and remind you to visit Leedaily.com for the latest celebrity news and rumours.

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