Buck Ram, the longtime mentor of the Platters who wrote such 1950s hits as “Only You,” “The Great Pretender,” “Magic Touch” and “Twilight Time,” has died, a spokeswoman said Wednesday. He was 83.
Ram died New Year’s Day at Valley Hospital after a long illness, said Jean Bennett, his assistant for 35 years.
Ram started as an arranger under such big band leaders as Count Basie, Glenn Miller and Cab Calloway in the 1930s and 1940s, and was credited with getting jazz legend Ella Fitzgerald her first singing job.
Gayle Schreiber, a former associate, said he also was responsible for forcing record companies to stop using different-colored labels to differentiate black groups from white musicians.
Ram, as the Platters’ manager, waged long legal battles with former members of the Platters who invoked the group’s name after leaving it. The Buck Ram Platters, a group Ram formed to perform the original group’s hits, currently is touring Japan.
Bennett said Ram is survived by his wife, Lucille, two daughters and two grandchildren.