Musician Bill Pinkney was one of the founders of the Original Drifters, the legendary soul ensemble founded in 1953 that became a staple of the "beach music" genre. When he died on July 4, 2007, Pinkney was the last surviving member of the group that was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1988.
The group was closely affiliated for many years with the Atlantic Record Company and produced many classic recordings for the label, including "Under the Boardwalk," "Up on the Roof," "On Broadway" and "There Goes My Baby." The music of the Drifters is closely associated with South Carolina's state dance, the Shag.
He received letters of commendation from many world leaders, including President Clinton and Nelson Mandela of South Africa. Among the numerous honors he received are the the Order of the Palmetto, South Carolina's highest civilian honor and the Rhythm & Blues Foundation Pioneer Award.
Pinkney pitched for the New York Blue Sox of the Negro Baseball League in the late 1940s and early 1950s and was decorated for his service in the United States Army during in World War II. He was born in Dalzell, S.C..
Pinkney was awarded the honorary degree Doctor of Fine Arts from Coastal Carolina University during the May 2001 commencement ceremony.