June 5

“Only You (And You Alone)”: The Platters’ First No. 1 Hit

"Only You (And You Alone)": The Platters' First No. 1 Hit 1
The Platters. Photo Credits: dailydoowop.com

Song Background

Composed by Buck Ram, “Only You (And You Alone)” was originally recorded by American vocal group The Platters and was released in May 1955. Lead singer Tony Williams played the lead vocals. With a lengthy title, the song was often shortened to “Only You” which was more popularly known.

"Only You (And You Alone)": The Platters' First No. 1 Hit 2
Tony Williams. Photo Credits: discogs.com

On May 20, 1954, The Platters initially recorded the song for Federal Records. However, the recording was not released. The following year, the band re-recorded the song after moving to Mercury Records. Interestingly, it went on to be a big hit after it was released in May 1955.

In an interview, the group’s bass singer Herb Reed recalled how The Platters came up with their successful version:

“We tried it so many times, and it was terrible. One time we were rehearsing in the car … and the car jerked. Tony went ‘O-oHHHH-nly you.’ We laughed at first, but when he sang that song—that was the sign we had hit on something.”

Furthermore, according to the songwriter and manager of The Platters, Buck Ram, he revealed that Tony Williams’ voice actually “broke” in their rehearsal. However, they decided to keep it as an effect in the recording. In addition, in the original recording, Ram played the piano accompaniment.

Song Chart Performance

"Only You (And You Alone)": The Platters' First No. 1 Hit 3
The Platters. Photo Credits: discogs.com

Only You” was a chart-topper for The Platters. For seven weeks, it stayed at the no. 1 spot on the U.S. R&B charts while no. 5 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. Overall, the song remained on the charts for a total of 30 weeks beating out a cover version by another band, The Hilltoppers.

When the second hit of the group, “The Great Pretender“, was produced and released in the later part of 1955, both songs (including “Only You”) were included in a release in the U.K. as Europe’s first introduction to The Platters.

Here’s the last stanza of this love song:

Only you can make this change in me
For it’s true, you are my destiny
When you hold my hand I understand the magic that you do
You’re my dream come true, my one and only you

Watch The Platters perform their 1955 hit “Only You (And You Alone)” below:

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Only You (And Only You), The Platters

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