Charlie Thomas’ death: Drifters singer battled liver cancer
Charlie Thomas, a singer and longtime member of the R&B group The Drifters, has died. He was 85.
The veteran singer died Jan. 31 at his home in Bowie, Md. after a battle with liver cancer, friend and fellow singer Peter Lemongello Jr. confirmed to the Los Angeles Times. While performing with the Drifters for more than 60 years, Thomas recorded hits like “There Goes My Baby”, “Under the Boardwalk”, “This Magic Moment” and “Save the Last Dance for Me”.
According to The New York Times, Thomas continued touring with the Drifters until the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“He was getting older, but he was active almost every weekend,” Lemongello told the New York Times. “Unfortunately, he switched from active to home and started going downhill.”
In 1988, Thomas was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame along with fellow drifters Ben E. King, Bill Pinkney, Clyde McPhatter, Gerhart Thrasher, Johnny Moore and Rudy Lewis.
“The story of the Drifters is more than the success story of a single group,” wrote Michael Hill in her introductory essay in the Hall of Fame.
“It is also the history of the great rhythm and blues singers who at various times claimed membership in the group… Time has hardly made their work seem curious; Rather, their work has withstood the ravages of the years to become even more special and knowledgeable.”
On Twitter, singer Gary US Bonds remembered Thomas as “a good friend.”
“Rest in Peace Charlie”, Bonds wrote. “We will miss you. #rock’n’roll #Legend.”
“I have so many fond memories that we shared throughout my life growing up that I will forever cherish,” Lemongello wrote on Instagram. “I can still hear Charlie proclaiming, ‘Peter is a star!’ which he often told me and whoever was around. I’ll miss you forever, Charlie!”
Thomas is survived by his wife Rita Thomas; his daughters Crystal Thomas Wilson and Victoria Green; his sons Charlie Jr., Michael Sidbury and Brian Godfrey, and many grandchildren and great-grandchildren, according to the New York Times. A memorial service for Thomas will be held February 16 at the First Baptist Church of Glenarden in Landover, Maryland.
https://www.latimes.com/entertainment-arts/music/story/2023-02-07/charlie-thomas-death-drifters-liver-cancer Charlie Thomas’ death: Drifters singer battled liver cancer