Today’s Los Angeles Times examines the crowded history of the Drifters, the legendary ’50s vocal outfit that has included more than fifty members (thankfully, not all at once). There are now numerous touring bands that bill themselves as the Drifters, and the daughter of the group’s original manager has filed suit against promoters in New Jersey and London, claiming they’ve “diluted the brand with impostors”:
She is not alone in battling over the lineage of vintage music groups. The Vocal Group Hall of Fame in Sharon, Pa., has encouraged states to adopt legislation making it illegal to use the name of a famous band unless it includes at least one original member or unless management holds a trademark. A bill in California, sponsored by Assemblyman Anthony Portantino (D-La Ca-ada Flintridge), would outlaw the practice of marketing “new” versions of original groups, similar to laws approved in several other states.
“It’s a sophisticated form of identity theft,” said Jon “Bowzer” Bauman, formerly of Sha Na Na and the chairman of the Truth in Music committee of the Vocal Group Hall of Fame. “There’s usually at least one really old guy in the phony group so that you can sit out in the audience and say: ‘That must be “the real one.” ‘ “
Bauman added, “Boo wop de bop, these kinds of impostoring musical entities need to be stopped!”
Drifters sure get around [LA Times]