Charlie Thomas, Drifters Singer and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductee, Dead at 85

Charlie Thomas
Bobby Bank/WireImage

Thomas died on Jan. 31 at his home in Bowie, Maryland.

Charlie Thomas, the singer best known for his musical work with The Drifters, has died. He was 85.

The celebrated vocalist died on Jan. 31 at his home in Bowie, Maryland after a battle with liver cancer, Deadline reports.

Thomas began his music career as part of a singing group called The Five Crowns -- all of whom were recruited by George Treadwell to replace the original members of The Drifters and to take up the moniker.

With Thomas and his fellow new Drifters, the group released one of their biggest hits, "There Goes My Baby," in 1959. Thomas himself sang lead vocals on two of the group's other big hits --  "Sweets for My Sweet" and "When My Little Girl Is Smiling."

In 1988, Thomas was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for his work with The Drifters, and earned recognition from the Rhythm and Blues Foundation in 1999 with a Pioneer Award.

Thomas sang as a Drifter for more than 60 years, eventually forming Charlie Thomas' Drifters -- one of the many splinter groups that branched off from The Drifters. They continued performing until the coronavirus pandemic led to mass shutdowns of clubs and music venues.

Thomas is survived by his wife, Rita Thomas, as well as his five children.