The Drifters promise some magic moments at the Egyptian Theatre
February 23, 2016
When people hear a song by The Drifters, they are taken back to a special time, even if they’re too young to remember or weren’t even born yet. Somethinb about the music oozes nostalgia.
For vocalist Jerome Jackson, The Drifters, who will perform at the Egyptian Theatre from Friday, Feb. 26 to Sunday, Feb. 28, means greatness.
"The music speaks for itself and it’s good for everybody," Jackson said during phone call from Las Vegas, Nevada. "It’s a family thing because all ages can come and enjoy the show."
The Drifters, a 1988 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee, are known for the hits "Up on the Roof," "Under the Boardwalk," "This Magic Moment" and "Stand Me."
Performing these songs today is a big responsibility for Jackson.
"I have to make sure that the music stays as authentic as possible and I have to keep the legacy going," Jackson said. "I don’t stray away too far from what the music was and what the emotions of the singers were at the time they made these songs.
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"I try to [preserve] what people are familiar with," he said. "To do that, you need to keep it honest and pure and be sure to not go overboard with it."
When Jackson joined The Drifters 28 years ago, he knew the music, but didn’t know the scope of the catalog.
"Their music is classified alongside The Beatles’ and Elvis Presley’s catalogs," he said. "It came at a good time when the people of our nation were looking for some good music, and many of the artists who came out the same time The Drifters did are part of that rich tradition."
The group started in the ’30s and ’40s with Clyde McPhatter and [continued with] Ben E. King and Charlie Thomas and Elsbeary "Beary" Hobbs and Doc Green in the later 1950s, Jackson said.
While with The Drifters for nearly 30 years, the singer was able to learn from the group’s former lead singers — Hobbs, Thomas and King.
"Elsbeary was the closest one to me," Jackson said. "He passed away in the mid-1990s, but he was very instrumental for me with the Drifters. He taught me a lot about the business and the do’s and the don’ts along the way and introduced me to the group’s legacy."
Thomas showed Jackson another perspective.
"He was a great guy, but the industry had tampered with his spirit and taught me about the other side of the business," he said. "I didn’t get a chance to pick Ben E. King’s brain as much, but he was a pretty good guy."
Jackson still remembers the first Drifters song he ever heard.
"It was ‘There Goes My Baby’ in 1959," he said wistfully. "I was a youngster back then, but I do remember it."
Today his favorite Drifter song is "Up on the Roof."
"I enjoy singing that one, but really all of the music is wonderful," he said. "I get to see the joy of the people we entertain and I can see how this music touches their hearts and souls. It’s wonderful to be a part of this great thing."
Jackson is looking forward to the performance at the Egyptian Theatre and he has one suggestion for the audience.
"We want people to bring their dancing shoes because we love audience participation," he said. "We want to make the people feel good so they can spread love through the world."
The Egyptian Theatre, 328 Main St., will present The Drifters from Friday, Feb. 26, through Sunday, Feb. 28. The Friday and Saturday concerts will begin at 8 p.m. Sunday’s performance will begin at 6 p.m. Tickets range from $35 to $55. Tickets can be purchased by visiting http://www.parkcityshows.com.
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