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Their most stable cast of characters boiled down to: Cornell Gunter, Gaynel Hodge, his brother Alex Hodge, Joe "Jody" Jefferson, and Curtis Williams.

Over time, Cornell wandered off to join the Flairs; Curtis Williams wandered off to join the Hollywood Flames (and later the Penguins); Gaynel Hodge also joined the Hollywood Flames, but stayed with the Flamingos too; and Joe Jefferson just wandered off (he'd re-surface in the Turks a few years later and also release "School Days Will Be Over" on Class in 1958).

The songs recorded were: "I'll Cry When You're Gone" (led by Tony), "Give Thanks" (Tony), "I Need You All The Time" (Tony), and "Hey Now" (Herb).

In October, the world was introduced to the Platters when Federal released "Give Thanks" and "Hey Now." The world didn't care.

Since records were referred to as "platters," what could be more natural?

Either Alex Hodge or Herb Reed redubbed them the "Platters." The Platters' first recording session was held on September 15, 1953, at which time the group consisted of Tony Williams (tenor), Gaynel Hodge, (tenor), David Lynch (tenor), Alex Hodge (baritone), and Herb Reed (bass).

The first to leave seems to have been Curtis Williams. Herb was originally from Kansas City and had started out as a tenor.

He and Alex Hodge knew each other, since Alex was dating a girl who lived in Herb's building.

As he later said: "I heard the group and they were just terrible." In truth, Bass said that the records were dismal sellers and that he had no plans to record the group again.In January 1954, Federal released "I'll Cry When You're Gone" and "I Need You All The Time." Both sides were ranked "fair" on January 23. Sometime between September 1953 and January 1954, Gaynel Hodge (who had both sung and played the piano on all their songs up to this point) left to be with the Hollywood Flames full time (he'd been singing with them for a while, in spite of being with the Platters).Probably in January 1954, Tony Williams went to see Buck Ram (his sister's manager) about managing him as a soloist.Like the Ink Spots a decade earlier, the Platters were the most successful black group of their time, and like the Ink Spots, they gained broad-based acceptance only after leaving their roots behind to forge their own distinctive Pop style.The Platters started in 1952 as the "Flamingos," a loose aggregation of Los Angeles teenagers.

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