Some things never go out of style. The little black dress and a simple string of pearls. A ’66 Mustang convertible. And the Doo Wop music of the ‘50s and ‘60s. Who can help but sing along and dance a bit when hearing such hits as “Only You” and “My Girl” and “Under the Boardwalk”? Good times, good times.
Chime in and groove to these and other classic tunes when Myles Savage and the Stars from The Platters, The Coasters, The Drifters and The Temptations Salute the Troops during their “Farewell Tour” with a performance at 7 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 23, at Methodist University’s Reeves Auditorium. Funds will be raised for V.W.F (Veterans of Foreign Wars) Post #6018 and V.W.F. Post #670, Fayetteville, N.C.
In a recent phone interview, Savage, who was recruited as the lead singer for The Platters in 1976, explained the tour’s title.
“Well, farewell in the sense that all of us have our solo careers that we’re going off to. I’m looking forward to going to opera. I’ve always wanted to do that.”
Savage will be joined by Barry Gunn, lead singer from Cornell Gunter’s Coasters; Ira Greig, lead singer from Beary Hobb’s Drifters and Wolf Johnson from Richard Street’s Temptations as each performs his group’s hits, backed by members of the other groups.
And it’s a long farewell, thanks to the popularity of their music and dynamic performances.
“We started off about eight years ago after playing the Sahara Hotel and Casino. The bill at that time was The Platters, The Coasters and The Drifters. I met a Temptations friend in Las Vegas,” said Savage, “and he said, ‘Hey, you know what? Why don’t we put together a tour that would encompass going around the world to all the nooks and crannies, and we’ll call it the “Farewell Tour” of the Stars of The Platters, The Coasters, The Drifters and The Temptations.’ And so we did, and it’s been continuously touring because people just keep asking us to come, no matter where we are. They ask us to come, so we’re just very, very happy to have such a wide and large market for the music of the ‘50s and ‘60s, even though the radio stations have basically dropped their ‘50s and early ‘60s format. The people, when they fi nd that we’re coming to town, just crawl out of the woodwork because they want to hear their music. It’s the baby boomers who want to hear their music, and we’re so happy to bring it to them with some of the members who actually have sung with the groups that made these wonderful hits famous so many, many years ago. We’re just overwhelmed. It’s just more popular that we thought it would be.”
And these “Royalties of Doo Wop” don’t expect their audience to take their farewell sitting down as they listen to “The Great Pretender,” “Charlie Brown,” “Poison Ivy,” “My Girl,” “Get Ready” and “Up On The Roof.”
“We make our show an audience participation show because it’s not just for us to sing the songs. We like people to get involved. Once they get involved, they have a fantastic time,” Savage said. “I had one lady tell me she came in with a cane and she had to throw it down and start dancing, so I guess the music must be healing. We do the shake, the rattle and the roll. We do the Twist, and everyone’s twisting out there. We see these grandmas and great grandmothers twisting out there, and it’s just a fantastic time.
“It’s so delightful to hear after the show, when people say, ‘Oh, my gosh, you made me feel like I was 16 years old again,’ and that’s just wonderful. It just brings back some fantastic memories, but we also make some memories on each night of the concert. All of us are veteran entertainers from over 40 years of performing, and we know how to go out in the audience and just have a good time. Everyone’s dancing. It’s 1955 or 1956 all over again.”
All along the tour, the stars have raised money for veterans of foreign wars.
“We have veterans of foreign wars all over the country, and we raise money for their community projects. It’s our opportunity to serve them because they have served us so well,” said Savage. “They come to the show, they stand and I acknowledge them on songs like “My Prayer.” We just enjoy serving. We’ve raised over $2,500 in many venues, sometimes $3,000.”
After a recent show in Wilmington, N.C., Savage looked across the Cape Fear River at the USS North Carolina, and a sign caught his eye.
“It said, ‘All gave some, and some gave all.’ And I know that our group is doing the right thing, and we’re proud to do it.”
Savage noted that in challenging times, people want to feel good, and music lets them do just that.
“Oh, yeah, especially in times like these. We try to keep our ticket price very low so that everybody can come out and enjoy it. The music’s for everybody. It always was at that time, and our philosophy is to keep it at a price that people can afford. We just want to have a good time.”
Tickets for the performance are available at V.F.W. Post 6018, 116 Chance Street, (910) 323-3755; Brooks “Pro” Sound, Lighting and Video, 715 West Rowan Street, (910) 483-7160 or through TicketsWest, 1-866-464-2626 or www.ticketswest.com. Tickets range in price from $25 to $35.