In 1999, Eddie Platt was 89 years old and young at heart.The saxophonist, who hit with "Tequila" in 1958, was set to marry, and he was enjoying his new recognition with the movie The Iron Giant, which featured his recording "Cha-Hua-Hua."
Born Eddie Platakis, December 8, 1921 in Cleveland, OH, his family moved to Rossford, OH, a small town near Toledo, when he was young. He attended school in Rossford for 11 years; when his dad died, his mom and sister returned to Cleveland. At 16, Eddie formed his first band at Rossford High. He transferred to East High School on 79th & Superior, and requested to use his stage name, Eddie Platt, for graduation, and the school's principal acquiesced, he didn't legally change his name to Platt until the mid-'90s.
He started playing clubs in Rossman and Cleveland, the military interrupted the gigs for three years. Eddie first joined the Army for a few months, and then the Air Force, where he stayed for five months. But it was World War II, and the Army needed infantry, so Platt was boomeranged back to the Army. He did half his duty in the States before getting orders for Europe. Ironically, he never completed basic training in either the Army or the Air Force. After the Army, from 1948 to 1952, he played the strip clubs with the Johnny Pecon Band, a gig he enjoyed. It would have lasted longer if some old fogies hadn't created a stir causing the politicians to shut the clubs down for excessive bumping and grinding, which Platt says was nothing compared to what goes on nowadays.
From 1957 to 1967, he played Hotel Manger on 12th & Chester in downtown Cleveland at Hale York's 21 to 28 (year-old) dances on the second floor every Friday night, local DJ Bill Randle promoted the shows. Platt had the opportunity to record his first single, "Rock Em" b/w "Chinese Lullaby" for Epic Records while playing the Manger. It flopped, but the next year he waxed "Tequila," a cover of the Champs' hit that soared to number 20 Pop. Eddie never saw a penny of royalties, but believes Randle and Bill Buchanan raked in more than $25,000 from ABC Paramount Records. Another cover, "Cha-Hua-Hua" (the Pets) followed and climbed to number 34 Pop, it was later featured as part of The Iron Giant's 12-song soundtrack.
Television appearances included the Perry Como and Dick Clark's shows. The Clark show was one of the eternal teenagers' nighttime specials. In those days, acts always lipsynced their songs, but Platt, with a makeshift band of ten Cleveland musicians including sax player
Tommy LiPuma, wowed them at rehearsals and got to perform live. The band was not Platt's regular five-member crew; this band was doubled with two of everything, including drummers. His regular bandmembers had regular jobs and couldn't get off to travel and do the show.
Bill Randle promoted shows at St. Michaels on Union Avenue, and Platt played there on a regular basis. His band backed the major acts: Pat Boone, Elvis Presley, Bobby Darin, the Everly Brothers, and the Brothers Four on the big rock & roll shows that came through town. Platt's band did their two hits, then backed the other acts on the show.
He released Dance One himself, pressing up 5,000 vinyl copies, and selling 3500 copies over a period of years. Platt's original album consisted of five standards, a polka number, "Festival," and six Latin songs composed by Platt; "Festival" became the theme of the local All Nations Festival.
Platt lives in Euclid, OH, enjoys tennis, golf, ballroom dancing, and other activities with his fiancee, Andrea. His first wife Bobbie died in 1988. Andrea and Platt have been engaged for eight years, and he brags about his future bride being 19 years younger. They go dancing every Friday at the Croatian Hall on Lakeshore Rd. The energetic couple's specialty is the Chicago Hop, an aerobic, innovative dance. His sister, and only sibling, Marge Bell is a youthful 85-year-old, and is Platt's sole surviving relative. His next goal is to record an album of tenor sax music that's danceable and sexy.