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Paul Robi, 57; Original Singer With Platters

February 04, 1989

Paul Robi, an original member of the Platters, one of popular music's most successful vocal teams in the 1950s and '60s, died Wednesday.

Robi's daughter, Franchesca, said her father was 57 and died of cancer in a Los Angeles hospital.

Another member of the original group, David Lynch, died on Jan. 2, 1981, also of cancer.

At a time when rock 'n' roll was becoming the nation's signature music, the Platters managed to appeal to both rock and traditional movements.

Their renditions of "Only You," "The Great Pretender," "Magic Touch" and "My Prayer" sold in the millions of copies. In a single year--1958--the group had two gold records, both based on older songs: "Twilight Time" and "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes."

The Platters were formed by Herbert Reed in 1953 and originally included Reed, Robi, Lynch and Tony Williams. Later a woman, Zola Taylor, was added.

They came under the management of Buck Ram, who was looking for a group to record some of the songs he had written. One of them was "Only You," and the success saga began.

Franchesca Robi said her father had continued to perform until his health failed several months ago.

Robi is also survived by his wife, Martha; two sons; another daughter, and three grandchildren.

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