The Drifters hit the recording studio today (February 1, 1961), where they recorded four of their best known songs.

The hits were right on time for the group, since former lead singer Ben E. King had left for a solo career in April 1960.

20130201-015952.jpgThe same year, Philadelphia singer Rudy Lewis auditioned for The Drifters’ manager, when they were playing at The Uptown Theater in Philadelphia.

Rudy Lewis was hired on the spot and by February, they were in the recording studio with their new lead singer.

It’s Rudy Lewis’ voice that can be heard on songs like “Please Stay,” and “Some Kind of Wonderful,” both of which were recorded during the February 1 session.

The other two songs, “Room Full of Tears,” and “Sweets for My Sweets,” were led by the group’s other lead singer, Charlie Thomas.

When Atlantic Records began releasing the recordings by this lineup of The Drifters, they immediately experienced success.

“Please Stay,” hit #14 on the Pop charts, while “Sweets for My Sweets,” hit #16.

“Some Kind of Wonderful,” also rose to #16, while “Room Full of Tears,” stopped climbing at #72.

Tragically, just over three years after being hired as the lead singer of The Drifters, Rudy Lewis was dead.

Rudy Lewis died of a drug overdose on May 21, 1964 in New York.

Waxfact: Rudy Lewis’s death occurred the night before The Drifters were due in for a recording session. Little Sylvia (Robinson of Sugar Hill Records) saw group member Charlie Thomas on the street and broke the news. The Drifters still showed up to their session – in tears and mourning – to record a number of the classic songs including “Under the Boardwalk.”


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