Herbert "Herb" Reed (August 7, 1928 – June 4, 2012) was an American musician, vocalist and founding member of The Platters, who were known for their hits during the 1950s and 1960s. Reed, who was the last surviving original member of the group, which he co-founded with four other musicians in 1953, is credited with creating The Platters' name. Reed thought of the group's name after noticing that DJs in the 1950s called their records, "platters".
Reed was raised in poverty in Kansas City, Missouri, and moved to Los Angeles when he was fifteen years old. He moved to the Boston area during the 1970s, after the success of The Platters. He was the only member of The Platters who sang on all of the approximately 400 songs recorded by the group. His background vocals can be heard on The Platters' biggest hits, including Smoke Gets in Your Eyes, The Great Pretender, Twilight Time and My Prayer. He is lead vocalist on Sixteen Tons, Singin' in the Rain, In a Little Spanish Town, Sleepy Town Gal, Darktown Strutters' Ball, Blues in the Night and On the Top of My Mind.
As the last surviving original member of The Platters, Reed waged a long, but successful, federal court battle over the rights to the name, The Platters. The courts ruled that Reed was the only heir to the group's name. In 2012, Reed said in an interview, "It's not right to have someone steal your name. It's just not right. We were cheated back then, but that's how things were done...It's theft, and I have to fight it so that no other artist faces this."
Reed toured throughout his career. He performed as many as 200 concerts per year until 2012, when he stopped due to declining health. He died from complications from several ailments, including heart disease, at a hospice in Boston on June 4, 2012, aged 83. He had most recently resided in Arlington, Massachusetts.
- "Herb Reed of vocal group – The Platters dead at 83". Reuters. June 5, 2012. Retrieved June 5, 2012.
- "Platters founder Herb Reed dies at 83". Associated Press. Boston.com. June 5, 2012. Retrieved June 5, 2012.