Sonny Turner Celebration Of Life : The Impossible Dream
Charles Arnold "Sonny" Turner is my dad. Born in Fairmount, West Virginia he was a man who wore many hats before he found his calling as the lead singer of the world-famous Platters. He followed in his dad's footsteps or at least tried to become a boxer. My grandfather is Carl Turner, better known as The Chocolate Kid. He was a welterweight and middleweight who competed on a pro level in boxing from 1921 to 1941. Gramps had 92 bouts, with 39 KOs until his career came to an end when he got sick. Records showed he had a brain aneurysm and possible brain injuries from being hit too many times in the head. He never recovered and died at the Lakin State Hospital in West Virginia. He was only 36.
Dad found out pretty quickly that boxing wasn't for him. As he put it, " I realized I didn't like to be hit!" So, that being said he found another way to honor his father. Papa Sonny, as the grandkids called him, followed a couple of his other passions, comedy, and singing instead. He began hosting comedy shows, singing between performances, and doing stand-up comedy. Before long he was opening for Redd Foxx. It was through comedy that he found his gift which was singing. While opening for Foxx, Dad became the lead singer for a group called The Metrotones, and his group followed Foxx around the countryside as his opening act.
One night while performing in a Cleveland club, my dad was approached by local DJ Bill "Butter Ball" Crane and was asked if he would be interested in auditioning to replace Tony Williams (1955-1959) who was leaving The Platters, to pursue a solo career. He did just that and got the gig in late 1959 out of 100 other hopeful auditions. Dad was only 19 at the time and though members changed throughout the years one thing remained the same. My dad remained the lead singer of the Platters until he passed away at the age of 82 this year on January 13, 2022. The rest is music history!
My dad leaves behind a loving family and more than 40 decades of music to ensure his legacy lives on. He's traveled the globe a dozen times while living out his God-given gift and wildest dreams. Very few people can say that. He lived his life to the fullest, "literally!" and I am so proud to be a part of his legacy. This week after much preparation, my sisters painstakingly matched the schedules of family, friends, and fellow entertainers near and dear. We all came together and had a celebration of life memorial and musical tribute. It was wonderful! I know he was with us and I know he was very happy with the way he was remembered.
My sisters Kyle and Tammy asked me if there was anything out of his hundreds of pieces of memorabilia that I like to have after my dad passed. I told them I only wanted one thing...one of his vintage microphones. Out of everything he had, that's really all I wanted. Well, after the musical tribute as we all went to eat, and because my plane was leaving out so early. I had to leave before dinner was over. After saying my goodbyes and preparing to head out the door my sisters surprised me with his Shure 55 II Snyder golden vintage microphone. I nearly passed out! I am so grateful to have it and I will cherish it for the rest of my days.
Below are a few memories from this week's events. I can't thank my sisters, their spouses, my nieces and nephews, sister-in-law, family, Dad's band members, music counterparts, friends, and many fans enough for all the effort it took to put everything together. You are all golden. Last, but certainly not least my best buddies Elisha and Vanessa for being by my side. Thank you! I love you all! I Can't wait to see you all again.