‘The Drifters’ hit #1 in 1960 with ‘Save the Last Dance for Me’

‘The Drifters’ were a fantastic doo-wop group from the 50s and 60s. Their unique sound and catchy songs were a hit with listeners. Their hits include ‘Under the Boardwalk,’ ‘Up on the Roof,’ and ‘This Magic Moment.’

One of their bigger hits was ‘Save the Last Dance for Me.’ It was recorded in 1960 by ‘The Drifters’ featuring Ben E. King. The tune spent three non-consecutive weeks at number 1 on the U.S. Pop Chart.

The performance video is set at a party where a couple gets up and heads to the dance floor. ‘The Drifters’ are in tuxedos on stage, in front of the whole party, singing their hit song. The couple moves to the music with a wonderfully choreographed dance. The dancers are swinging their feet and spinning.

The whole crowd joins the couple on the dance floor. Everyone is having a fun time moving and grooving to the great song by ‘The Drifters’ while Ben E. King sings the classic hook, ‘And don’t forget who’s taking’ you home, and in whose arms you’re gonna be. So darling…save the last dance for me.’

The song was initially going to be a B-side of the record until the legendary Dick Clark told ‘The Drifters’ that ‘Save the Last Dance for Me’ was the stronger song. Ironically, the song was released a few months after Ben E. King left the group.

There were many versions of ‘The Drifters.’ Rolling Stone magazine noted they were the least stable group of all the great vocal ensembles. The group was typically low-paid musicians hired by the owner of the Drifter’s name, George Treadwell. He had over 60 musicians pass through that title.

‘Save the Last Dance for Me’ was written by Doc Pomus on his actual wedding day. Doc had battles with Polio, leaving him in need of a wheelchair. As he watched his wife dance with others that day, he penned this classic song. The romantic song and lyrics resonate even more once you know the story behind ‘The Drifters’ and their hit record.

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