12/15/17 — Nostalgia in song: Member of The Platters sings at Brookdale Senior Living

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Nostalgia in song: Member of The Platters sings at Brookdale Senior Living

By Rochelle Moore
Published in News on December 15, 2017 5:50 AM

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Milton Bullock, former member of the singing group The Platters, performs one of their most recognizable hits, "Only You," Thursday for a group of residents at Brookdale Senior Living.

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Milton Bullock of The Platters talks about how he got a chance to sing with the group while performing at Brookdale Senior Living Berkeley Thursday.

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Bullock dedicates the song "To Each His Own" by The Ink Spots to the ladies in attendance. It was the song, he said, that he was discovered.

Milton Bullock took people back to the early rock 'n' roll era by singing The Platters chart-topping hits "Only You" and "The Great Pretender."

Bullock, a former first tenor for the 1950s group, The Platters, held a concert at Brookdale Senior Living on North Berkeley Boulevard Thursday afternoon. The concert, which drew more than 50 people, was open to the community as well as people at the assisted-living facility.

In between songs, Bullock shared stories of growing up in rural North Carolina, being discovered after moving in with an uncle in Brooklyn and his role today of serving as a town commissioner in his hometown of Princeville.

The North Carolina native entered the music industry with his eyes open and focused on avoiding some of the trappings of fame, including drug and alcohol use, he said.

"I had to keep God with me and He could keep me grounded because I could see what was going on," Bullock said.

He also thanked the audience for supporting him in his younger years.

"It was a rough road to hoe," he said. "Back in the day, there were hundreds of groups trying to make it."

Bullock, now 77, sang several Platters hits, starting with "Only You." He also sang "My Prayer," "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes" and "The Great Pretender."

Bullock shared different highlights of his career, including being able to meet such artists as Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra, Nat King Cole, Duke Ellington and Prince.

"Elvis was the most mysterious guy," Bullock said.

When he met Elvis, he learned that the King of rock and roll's music was influenced by the time he spent in black churches.

"Sometimes, I get choked up when I reflect on the days and the people I've been able to meet," he said.

Bullock also had roles in several movies, including "Home Alone 2" and "Straight Talk."

Bullock sang a few hits by other artists, including Smokey Robinson's "Ooo Baby Baby," The Temptations' "My Girl" and Louis Armstrong's "What a Wonderful World."

After the concert, he autographed a copy of a Platters album, which he estimated is worth $6,000, sold CDs, signed autographs and had his picture taken with several fans.

Betty Bell went to the concert after learning it was open to the public.

"Back in the day, my mom had a lot of these big albums and we heard music like that," she said. "My mom and grandma listened to it because they listened to these old LPs. They had beautiful music. I know most of the words to these songs."

Bell said she thought that Bullock's vocals were impressive.

"To be 77 years old, he has one of the most beautiful voices," she said. "He was really good. I enjoyed it."

Eloise Helms, a Brookdale resident, was also impressed with the music that brought back good memories.

"I was familiar with all the songs," she said. "I really was. I tell you, he hasn't lost his voice at all. It's as good as it was. I think everybody enjoyed it."

Michael Coles, executive director of Brookdale Senior Living, said efforts were made to bring in Bullock to provide an uplifting event for the community.

"We wanted to do something special for the community," Coles said. "We've had so much bad news in Goldsboro that we wanted to do something pleasant. That's what we're all about is just doing something positive in Goldsboro."

The event was sponsored by Mike Helms, a realtor with Coldwell Banker. A pig pickin' was also donated by Franklin Lane before the concert.

Brookdale is planning another event during the holiday season, Christmas with Elvis, featuring an Elvis impersonator on Dec. 19 at 6:30 p.m. The event is also open to the public, Coles said.