Friday, July 06, 2007

Bill Pinkney Last Original Drifters Member Dead at 81

Oh my, we've lost another one! Bill Pinkney, the last original member of The Drifters has died. He was 81.

Here is the full story from The Associated Press.

Bill Pinkney, last survivor of the original members of The Drifters, dies in US at 81

The Associated Press
Thursday, July 5, 2007

DAYTONA BEACH, Florida: Bill Pinkney, the last survivor of the original members of the musical group The Drifters, has died. He was 81.

Pinkney was found dead Wednesday at the Hilton Daytona Beach Oceanfront Resort, Daytona Beach Police spokesman Jimmie Flynt said. The death was not considered suspicious, he said.

Pinkney was scheduled to perform for U.S. Independence Day festivities there.

The Drifters, whose hits include "Under the Boardwalk," "Up on the Roof," and "Save the Last Dance For Me," still performed Wednesday night. An announcement about Pinkney's death was made after the show, said the group's publicist, Donnie Lowery.

Pinkney, born in Dalzell, South Carolina, was not with The Drifters when they recorded their biggest hits. He left in the band in 1958 because of an argument over cash. His distinctive bass voice can be heard on the group's version of the holiday classic "White Christmas."

Even though he left the group, Pinkney didn't let go of The Drifters' name. He fought for laws allowing performers or bands to claim an affiliation with a classic group like The Drifters or The Coasters only if at least one member recorded with the original group.

The Drifters were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1988.

Pinkney was a World War II veteran and pitched for the New York Blue Sox of the Negro Baseball League in the late 1940s and early '50s.