The Platters featuring former original lead singer "Sonny Turner"
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R&B singer Charles Arnold "Sonny" Turner was born on September 24, 1939 in Fairmount, West Virginia. Turner's mother, Pearl, was a gospel singer, and his father Carl, was a boxer. In 1949, Turner moved to Cleveland, Ohio where he attended Case Woodland Elementary School and graduated from East Technical High School.

In 1959 Turner met Bill Crane, the talent scout for the R&B group, The Platters, while performing as an opening act for
Redd Foxx.
Sonny was appearing in Cleveland, and at the same time the Los Angeles radio DJ, Bill Crane, was helping Buck Ram recruit a replacement for Tony Williams, who was leaving to pursue a solo career. Crane spotted Turner performing at Cleveland’s Music Box, and liked what he heard. After recording a demo tape the next day, and with Ram’s approval, Crane, Turner and Turners mother caught a night sleeper train to Wisconsin where the Platters were performing, for an in-person audition with the group. Eventually, out of over 100 prospects, 19 year old Sonny Turner stepped into the lead role. He soon would become the newest member of the world famous Platters. Turner met with Platter's manager, Buck Ram and the group's members David Lynch, Herb Reid, Zola Taylor, and Paul Robbie. That evening, The Platters were appearing at an upscale nightclub in Milwaukee called Club Henrys. Turner sang "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes" in between the group's performances. Ex-Platter member, Tony Williams, the original lead singer on "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes" was present in the club. Although Williams' presence caused Turner to become reluctant, he performed and was congratulated by Williams who was behind the stage curtains. The group had a meeting in the dressing room that night, and Turner was made an official member of The Platters, replacing Tony Williams as the lead singer of The Platters. Turner's first show came in Washington, D.C. when the Platters were the closing performance for a musical show that featured Sammy Davis, Jr. The group also toured internationally and performed for dignitaries in Poland, Russia, Mexico and Rome.

Turner became world famous for his leads on “I Love You 1000 Times”, With This Ring I Promise You” and “Washed Ashore,” with The Platters. Herb Reed said, “Sonny Turner was extremely instrumental in helping me keep The Platters together.

Turner was interviewed by The History Makers on November 2, 2009

Sonny brought The Platters back to the pop charts in the 1960's with such hits as "I love you 1000 Times", "With this ring" and "Washed Ashore"; as well as re-recording major Platter hits like "Only You", "The Great Pretender" and "The Magic Touch.

You can hear Sonny's voice in various movies such as "The Nutty Professor II" starring Eddie Murphy.  "Hearts in Atlantis" starring Anthony Hopkins and "Prince of the City" starring Robert DiNiro.

There are only two surviving members of The Platters still alive today that can be heard on the hundreds of recordings and hit records that made The Platters one of the most successful vocal groups of all time.  They are Herb Reed who founded the group in 1953 and sang bass.  Zola Taylor, the female vocalist and Sonny Turner.  Sonny remained with The Platters from late 1959 until 1970 when he left to pursue a solo career.

In 2009 at Wildwood New Jersey, Sonny Turner was indicted to the Pacific Avenue of the Stars and in 2008 received The Gateway Classic Lifetime Achievement Award. He received the Black Music Award in 2007.Sonny has also been inducted into the Beach Music Hall of Fame and Vocal Group Hall of Fame.  He is recognized by the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame in his home town Cleveland, Ohio.  Sonny was instrumental in getting the truth in music laws passed in the state of Nevada and North Dakota.

Performing in Las Vegas lounges and throughout Japan and the world, Turner puts on an excellent show, mixing in a blend of Motown and Platters music.
 He also has several recordings under his own label, including Reflections of Sonny Turner and Sonny Turner “By Request. “Reflections” includes a Stand By Me medley, a Platters medley, and Turner’s original music. “By Request” is an excellent CD full of Turner’s original works, a couple Platters hits. Also look for a “Sonny Turner’s Platters Live in Japan” CD release in 2000. All of Turner’s albums are available through mail order  (via So-Turner, Inc.) and at

Turner is very active in monitoring groups using the Platters name, and is involved with petitioning Congress for bills which protect the rights of performers. “I still don’t like the idea that these supposedly licensed groups can make a living on Platters music. I know people are hungry and have to feed their families one way or the other, but let them create their own legacy... they shouldn’t be taking credit for other performers’ work.” “I felt compelled to take my own legacy to get the truth out” as quoted by Sonny Turner.

Today Sonny Turner Platters performs all over the world entertaining thousands with not only Platters hit songs, but many popular oldies, doo wop, and pop songs of the 60’s,70’s, 80’s and 90’s.