Where were you in ’52?

That’s the year the still-popular singing group The Platters started in Los Angeles. Through the years, the deaths, the breakups and the personnel changes, one thing never changed about The Platters — the music.

Nowadays, a former Platters singer is living back home in Mobile County and still singing. Charles “Bo” Grant will be featured at the annual Alabama Pecan Festival on Saturday, November 4, in Tillman’s Corner. Grant leads off an afternoon of musical performances at 1 p.m. on the Pecan Festival’s main stage.

The Festival is at the Southwest Mobile County Chamber of Commerce at 5055 Carol Plantation Road in the Mobile suburb. Admission and parking are free. No tickets or RSVP are needed. The Festival runs from Friday, November 3 through November 5. Details can be found here.

The Bo Grant “Tribute to The Platters” will be a trip back to yesteryear for those who listened to their music over the decades. Even folks who were not yet born when The Platters’ hits were charting nationally may have heard the songs and often have picked up some of the words.

"The Great Pretender"

"Only You"

"Smoke Gets in Your Eyes"

"Twilight Time"

"Red Sails in the Sunset"

"Harbor Lights"

The music of The Platters enjoyed a revival when they were the only group with three songs on the soundtrack of the 1970s movie, “American Graffiti.” An additional generation of Americans were exposed to the unique Platters sound. 

Bo Grant was never the lead singer during his 17 years with The Platters, but you would never know it when he takes the mic. He is so immersed in the sound of The Platters that he can recreate their tenor and feel.

Bo Grant also throws in some classics of the 1960s:

"My Girl by the Temptations"

"Under the Boardwalk" by The Drifters

"Stand By Me" by Ben E. King

"Mustang Sally" by Wilson Pickett (of Prattville, Alabama)

For those who dance to the oldie goldies, there is a grass dance area right in front of the stage at the Pecan Festival.

When Mustang Sally cranks up, the line dancers in the audience hit the dance floor to join the group dance, “The Electric Slide,” always a crowd favorite.

Bo Grant sang with the original Platters from 1981 to 1998. They were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1990.

Music lovers near Baldwin County can hear Bo Grant at the famous Papa Rocco’s Pizza and Oyster House. He plays there every other weekend on Friday and Saturday nights at 8 p.m., starting November 3. Details can be found here.

It’s a long way from Bo Grant’s hometown, Mount Vernon, in northern Mobile County, to the venues that Bo Grant and The Platters played over the years – Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Japan and Turkey. But he’s been there and done that. Now he’s back where he was born.

Across the country, there are competing Platters groups and fake Platters singers performing. When you see and hear Bo Grant, you can take it for granted that he is the real deal. Bo Grant is no “Great Pretender.”

See you at the Alabama Pecan Festival. 

Jim Zeigler is a former Alabama Public Service Commissioner and State Auditor. You can reach him for comments at [email protected].

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