McPhatter was the fourth of six children born and grew up in Durham. As a little boy he was soprano singer in the choir of the Mount Calvary Baptist Church, where his father George McPhatter preached and his mother played the organ Beulah McPhatter. 1945 attracted the McPhatters to New Jersey, where Clyde McPhatter in the same year founded his first gospel band. A little later the family moved once again, this time to New York City. McPhatter joined the Mount Lebanon Singers in there, a gospel band that was very popular on the east coast of America. He remained there through the second half of the 1940s.
Billy Ward & the Dominoes
End of 1950, McPhatter joined Billy Ward & the then Dominoes, with whom he is still in the same year Sixty Minute Man recorded. The song was the biggest R & B hit of the year in 1951 and even made it into the pop charts in the Top 30 (# 23). McPhatter remained for some time at the Dominoes, with whom he still recorded some hits, felt over time, however, Ward too much into the shade and left the band in early 1953.
Later that year founded McPhatter together with his manager George Treadwell then The Drifters, who received soon offered by Ahmet Ertegun signed a contract with Atlantic Records. The career of the group began in 1953 with Money Honey, the biggest R & B hit of the year 1953. Was followed by a number of other hits, but in the same year had McPhatter to the military. Since it was posted, however within the U.S., he was able to continue the photographic work with the Drifters. Nevertheless, he left the band in 1955 to start a solo career.
This began in the form of Love Has Joined Us Together, a duet with Ruth Brown, which made it to number 8 in the R & B charts. In early 1956 was followed by the solo single Seven Days, which even made a 2nd place. In the spring of Treasure of Love came to the forefront of R & B chart and at # 16 on the pop charts, a rather rare success for an R & B song at this time. In 1957 he was able to continue his success with Just to Hold My Hand and Long Lonely Nights. 1958, then even the publication of two LPs Clyde McPhatter & the Drifters and Love Ballads, and his greatest hits on Atlantic, A Lover 's Question, which topped the R & B charts and reached a place 6 on the pop charts. 1959 was followed by three mini- hits and the LP Clyde McPhatter. His last hit for Atlantic Records was Lovey Dovey, then his contract expired and he left the label.
MGM and Mercury
McPhatter then signed with MGM Records, where he total of only one album and four singles ( the most successful of them Let's Try Again ) published. In 1960 he transferred to Mercury Records, where the singles Ta Ta and I Never Knew reaped some success. Lover Please succeeded in 1962 even in the Top 10 on the pop charts. Meanwhile fell McPhatter However, more and more alcohol, the successes lessened significantly. He received his degree at Mercury was formed in 1964, the concert album Live at the Apollo. In the following years McPhatter published on some small labels a few singles all flopped.
England and return to the U.S.
Meanwhile, Bill had Pinkney, a former member of McPhatters Drifters, founded a new band, which is known now made McPhatters song material with performances in England, which eventually prompted McPhatter to also move there. He then sang for a time at various clubs until the early 1970s, decided to return to the United States. He signed with Decca Records and released there in 1970 Welcome Home, which turned out to be a total flop. On 13 June 1972, the now severely alcohol addicted McPhatter died in New York City of a heart attack. In 1987 he was admitted posthumously inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.