High Court Drifters

A High Court battle is set to take place over ownership of the name of The Drifters.

The Treadwell family, which musically and legally controls the band that had hits with “Under The Boardwalk,” “On Broadway,” “Save The Last Dance For Me” and “There Goes My Baby,” is accusing four musicians, the group’s former British tour manager Philip Luderman and their former agent Mark Lundquist of passing off a U.K. group as the real thing.

The Treadwells want London’s High Court to rule that the defendants are not entitled to use the name The Drifters and that they must stop operating two Web sites passing themselves off and recording as The Drifters.

U.K. newspapers quoted Tina Treadwell – daughter of the late Drifters founder George Treadwell and his wife Faye – saying, “It is my goal to rid the marketplace of all the warring factions of The Drifters so there is just one group that the fans can depend on. When something is wonderful you always have people who will copy it.”

Between 1954 and 1967, The Drifters were managed by George Treadwell, a music svengali, who had complete artistic control over the band.

He hired and fired all the singers in the group, including all four in one lineup in one night in the 1950s.

Following George’s death in 1967, all rights in the business passed to his wife Faye, who brought the group to the U.K. for their first tour.

With the help of British songwriters such as Roger Cooke, Roger Greenaway and Tony Macauley, they enjoyed a new lease of chart success with hits including “Like Sister And Brother,” “Kissing In The Back Row of The Movies,” “There Goes My First Love,” “You’re More Than A Number In My Little Red Book” and “Saturday Night At The Movies.”

— John Gammon