Sonny Turner (born September 24, 1939 in Fairmont, West Virginia) is an American singer best known for replacing Tony Williams as lead singer of The Platters.
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.
Turner began his entertainment career in the mid-1950s by performing with a local R&B group named the Metrotones, The group performed at high school assemblies and local amateur vocal contests. They also opened up for The Five Keys, The Moonglows, The Flamingos, and Buddy Johnson. The Metrotones broke up when Andy Forester and James Fryerson were drafted into the United States Army. Turner then performed as a solo artist and master of ceremonies inside of local lounges and bars. He served as the opening act at the Chatter Box in a musical show that featured Billie Holiday and Arthur Pricesock.
While performing in a local club in Cleveland as the opening act for Redd Foxx, Turner was approached by local DJ Bill Crane and asked if he would be interested in auditioning for The Platters, as their lead singer as Tony Williams was soon to be leaving the group. Turner was chosen out of 100 hopeful auditioners to replace Williams in late 1959. Sonny at the young age of 19, toured the world with “The Platters” bringing their music to people of all nations.
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 Platters 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 DeNiro.
There is only one surviving member 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, and that is Sonny Turner. Sonny remained with The Platters from late 1959 until 1970 when he left to pursue a solo career.
In 2005, Mr. Turner received The Lifetime Excellence in Entertainment presented to him by consumer’s entertainment exchange and Doo Wop Hall of Fame.
In 2009 at Wildwood New Jersey, Sonny Turner was inducted 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. Also Sonny has 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.
In 2013, Sonny’s home state, The State of West Virginia and Senator A James Manchin, honored Sonny with a plaque, and enducted him into the Hall of Fame.
Today Sonny resides in Las Vegas with his wife and manager, Lois. Most of his performing time is spent in Las Vegas, Reno, and Lake Tahoe. (Info edited from Wikipedia, the historymakers.com & sonnyturner.com)