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PRESENTING THE COASTERS
Edited by Claus Röhnisch (updated June 6, 2009
)

The classic Coasters (1958).

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 PRESENTING:  THE COASTERS
"Those Hoodlum Friends"

A Brief Biography  -   by Claus Röhnisch

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The classic Coasters in 1958: Guy, Jones, Gardner, Gunter, and guitarist Jacobs.

"If rock ´n´ roll had produced nothing but the Coasters and Leiber and Stoller, it would still have commanded attention as the sound embodiment of a time and generation", Arnold Shaw wrote in his book "The Rockin´ ´50s". The Coasters are widely regarded as the pre-eminent vocal group of the original rock ´n´ roll era. "There never was - nor will there ever be - another group quite like the Coasters", Neil Slaven stated in late 1997.

The Coasters truly deserve their high rankings in music history - hand-chosen professional performers, all debuting during the early years of rhythm & blues and contributing to the emerging of original rock ´n´ roll - exciting individuals, creating the best of vocal group harmonies ever waxed.

The original Coasters in October, 1955: Carl Gardner, Bobby Nunn, Leon Hughes, and Billy Guy.

The foursome was created September 28, 1955 from the nucleus of the Los Angeles, California based vocal sextet the Robins, originally recording since 1949 with Bobby Nunn - born September 20, 1925 in Birmingham, Alabama - as bass/lead singer. It was the young producing-composing team of Jerry Leiber & Mike Stoller,  who with manager-salesman Lester Sill persuaded Bobby Nunn and Carl Gardner, lead tenor vocalist with the Robins from 1954 on Leiber-Stoller´s tiny Spark label in L.A., to leave that group and launch the Coasters. Gardner - born April 29, 1928 in Tyler, Texas - is still the Coasters´ spokesman and coach today (and sang lead with the group for 50 years). The Robins´ West Coast hits from Spark were later issued on Coasters compilations (a.o. RIOT IN CELL BLOCK #9 and SMOKEY JOE´S CAFE).

Attracted by the success of SMOKEY JOE´S CAFE with Gardner on lead vocal, Atlantic Records signed an independent producer-composer contract with Leiber & Stoller on September 28, 1955. Two hand-chosen Californians, Billy Guy (a young, slick baritone, born June 20, 1936 in Itasca, Texas) from the duo Bip & Bop, and Leon Hughes (born August 26, 1932 in Los Angeles County), completed the original Coasters line-up. They were contracted to Atlantic´s new subsidiary Atco Records. Through the Coasters Leiber-Stoller launched some of the most entertaining songs of the ´50s. The first Coasters´ recording was DOWN IN MEXICO from January 11, 1956. The record became a "sleeper" R&B hit - followed by the minor Pop hit ONE KISS LED TO ANOTHER. The group now hit the road for national promotion and produced R&B´s most famous double-sided smash in 1957 (with Gardner and Guy lead singers on one side each).
YOUNG BLOOD (the original A-side) hit the national R&B Best Seller Chart #1 on June 3 and the week after its flip, SEARCHIN´, occupied that same spot for a further 12 weeks and also went to #1 on the R&B Disc Jockey and Juke Box Charts (with YOUNG BLOOD at # 2). Both titles also became national Pop Top Ten hits, staying on the charts for half a year. This success stands as a rather unique achievement in American music history. After three less successful, but exciting issues, (a.o. IDOL WITH THE GOLDEN HEAD) the Coasters reformed and - with Jerry & Mike - moved from the West Coast to New York. Bobby Nunn and Leon Hughes stayed in California, where Nunn later launched his own "The Coasters, Mark II". Nunn died of heart failure on November 5, 1986 in Los Angeles. His group, now led by Billy Richards Jr, continued to tour as "Billy Richards´ Coasters", and Hughes also started his own off-shoot Coasters group, "The World Famous Coasters" aka "The Original Coasters".

The "Young Blood" and "Yakety Yak" Atco singles.
The classic Coasters in 1960: Guy, Gardner, Jones, and Gunter.

Two new group members were recruited by the Coasters´ prolific manager Lester Sill and shared leads on the first New York Coasters Atco effort, ZING! WENT THE STRINGS OF MY HEART (a beach music classic today). Both new-comers were former L.A. experienced group singers - Will "Dub" Jones, successful bass lead with the Cadets, born in Shreveport, Louisiana on May 14, 1928; and Cornell Gunter, lead with the Flairs, born November 14, 1936 in Coffeyville, Kansas. The two joined Gardner and Guy to establish the classic New York quartet that recorded all the other famous Coasters´ golden million sellers: YAKETY YAK (a #1 Pop and R&B hit in 1958, which  received a Grammy Hall of Fame Award in 1999), CHARLIE BROWN (Pop and R%B #2) and ALONG CAME JONES ( Pop #9) in 1959 and the double-sider POISON IVY  (R&B # 1, Pop #7) b/w I´M A HOG FOR YOU. The classic Coasters had a fifth member in guitarist Adolph Jacobs, born April 15, 1939 Sabine, East Texas, who was succeeded by a Coasters employee, Sonny Forriest, on WHAT ABOUT US b/w RUN RED RUN, which was the last single of the highly successful year of 1959.

The productions of the Coasters´ Atco recordings were far superior to any contemporary group efforts (using the best musicians available, especially Texan King Curtis´ fruity sax breaks) with the lyrics neatly deriding aspects of teenage and/or black ghetto life. The group also worked out hilarious stage routines and became the most professional act in late ´50s Rhythm & Blues and early ´60s International Pop.

Jerry Leiber - Gardner, Stoller, King Curtis and Billy Guy.

In 1960 the Coasters hit with WAKE ME, SHAKE ME and waxed one of their all-time greatest recordings, SHOPPIN´ FOR CLOTHES (with Guy and Jones sharing lead vocals). That year they also released their under-rated, but qualitative "One By One" LP. In 1961 they hit with WAIT A MINUTE (recorded in 1957). After the group´s last U.S. Pop Top 30 hit entry, LITTLE EGYPT (Ying-Yang), Cornell Gunter left the group in June, 1961. He formed his own "Fabulous Coasters" a couple of years later. Gunter died in his car by a gun shot from an unknown in Las Vegas on January 26, 1990. Remnants of his group tour as "The Original Cornell Gunter Coasters".

The famous former lead of the Cadillacs, Earl "Speedo" Carroll, born November 2, 1937 in New York City, became new second tenor in the qualitative line-up of the Coasters, which continued to record for Atco through early 1966, with a.o. the live recording of  T´AIN´T NOTHIN´ TO ME (originally issued on a various-artists "Apollo Saturday Night" LP - hitting the Cash Box R&B Chart #20 in March, 1964); and the original recording of LET´S GO GET STONED. Leiber-Stoller had left Atco/Atlantic in 1963, but the vocal quartet renewed their collaboration with the team in late 1966, recording for the CBS subsidiary Date Records, for which the Coasters waxed DOWN HOME GIRL, and in 1967 SHE CAN (later reissued as TALKIN´ ´BOUT A WOMAN), also the wonderful original of D.W. WASHBURN (released in 1968 and reissued on King Records in the ´70s).

Gardner, Jones, Carroll, and Guy in 1965.Promoting "Love Potion Number Nine" in 1971.

In the years of the Coasters´ first revival Will Jones had left for new tasks (in New York and later California), replaced by Ronnie Bright, born October 18, 1938 in New York City and original bass singer in Harlem´s early ´50s group the Valentines. Billy Guy, the great comedian of the group, had started his attempts as a solo artist back in 1962 (still recording and performing with the group up to 1973), sometimes substituted first by Vernon Harrell and later by the hard-working soul veteran Jimmy Norman - born August 12, 1937 in Nashville, Tennessee. He had sung with Jesse Belvin´s Chargers and became a regular Coaster in the revival line-up of the ´70s. The group performed all over U.S. and toured Europe several times. They even made a brief come-back on the U.S. Hot 100 Chart with a re-rendition of the Clovers' classic LOVE POTION NUMBER NINE (for King Records in the winter of 1971/72 with Carl Gardner as happy lead vocal) and issued a great album produced by Leiber-Stoller on King, titled "The Coasters On Broadway". The group continued to make records - although the hits came dry. With Gardner, Speedo, Bright and Guy they had recorded for Lloyd Price's Turntable in 1969 (ACT RIGHT and THE WORLD IS CHANGING, produced by Jimmy Norman). Later Ronnie Bright sang lead on CHECK MR. POPEYE, and the group, now with Guy definately out, did a single for Wilson Pickett's Wicked label (HUSH DON'T TALK ABOUT IT).

B
y the early ´80s Carroll had left to reform his Cadillacs, and Guy and Jones sporadically acted with a special "World Famous Coasters" in California. Will "Dub" Jones died in Long Beach, California on January 16, 2000 at the age of 71 after several years of semi-retirement. Billy Guy died in his sleep at home in Las Vegas, Nevada on November 5, 2002.  In 1987 the Coasters (Gardner, Guy, Jones, and Gunter individually) were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame  - the first vocal group receiving that honor. The true Coasters by-then touring lineup, still fronted by Carl Gardner, included Norman, Bright, and veteran guitarist Thomas Palmer - born in El Paso, Texas on August 15, 1929, who had joined the group already in early 1962 (debuting on the notorious THE CLIMB). This became the longest lasting lineup, touring for 18 years. At times more than ten different "Coasters" sang the hits on stage. Former Coasters Mark II members Grady Chapman and Bobby Sheen (of the late Robins) had a Coasters group (and even Randy Jones, who had sung with Gunter´s and Nunn´s groups, had one). In the late ´90s "Billy Guy´s Coasters" emerged on the scene, semi-coached by Billy Guy - that group (managed by Larry Marshak) nowadays tours in several versions as "The Cornell Gunter Coasters". Carl Gardner and his Coasters have - despite the competition from bogus and off-spring Coasters groups - been heavily engaged in live bookings during the late ´80s and the whole of the ´90s into the new millennium (even performing at the Carnegie Hall). Carl Gardner has been up-front all the time (leading a super-funky live version of SMOKEY JOE'S CAFE - the title which was used for the famous Leiber-Stoller musical).

The Coasters in Orlando, 1988.Ronnie Bright, Carl Gardner, and Jimmy Norman in cirka 1993.

In early 1998 the true Coasters were a singing quartet again (with Palmer still on guitar). Alvin Morse (born in February, 1951) had joined the group - and in time for Gardner´s 70th birthday Carl Gardner Jr (petnamed Mickey - born April 29, 1955) replaced Jimmy Norman, who had left to start a new reggae career. By the end of July, 2001 Joe Lance Williams (aka J. W. Lance, who had sung with Marshak's Coasters), born June 16, 1949, started to substitute for Gardner Jr. In November, 2004 Carl Jr returned to his father's group and Lance stayed. On November 5, 2005 Carl Gardner Jr officially took over lead vocals from his father, who semi-retired (but still coaches the group). The Coasters are probably America´s most exciting veteran vocal group of today. We truly haven´t heard the last from them yet!

All of the Coasters´ Atco recordings are available on a Rhino Handmade 4CD-box (with 113 tracks) issued ion December 11, 2007, titled "The Coasters On Atco - There's A Riot Goin' On". Rhino´s "The Very Best of The Coasters" is their most worthwhile 1CD-anthology. U.S. Rhino have also issued a terrific double CD titled "50 Coastin´ Classics" (although out of catalogue nowadays). A 30-track 2CD-set, titled "The Definitive Soul Collection" is planned (featuring all their pop hits). The Coasters´ fine Date/King sides are to be found on a recommended Varese Vintage CD, "Down Home", issued late August 2007.

by Claus Röhnisch


Robert Christgau on The Coasters  
(copy at this site)


Bill Millar analyses
The Coasters´ innovative years

AT SMOKEY JOE´S CAFE
How the Coasters made rock´s greatest comedy records
- by Bill Millar
(from "The History of Rock" Volume 2 - issue 15, 1982-1984;
a great magazine on the Coasters, Drifters, Platters - Orbis Publishing Ltd, London)
Lester Sill, Jerry Wexler, The Coasters, Ahmet Ertegun, and Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller.

The songwriters and producers Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller developed an unusually adventurous method of recording black singers, using material they often wrote themselves and enhancing the sound by employing hitherto unorthodox studio techniques. For the Coasters they wrote and produced a string of what might be called individual morality plays, in confection of gritty and perceptive lyrics. The overall concept led to no fewer than 17 US hit records between 1955 and 1962. These included some of the most innovative and influental records in rock´s history.

The story of the Coasters really begins with the formation of a group known as the Robins, who worked with Johnny Otis before meeting Leiber and Stoller in 1951. During the previous five years the Robins had helped make Los Angeles the most important centre in the development of postwar R&B. They recorded for Excelsior, Score, Aladdin and Savoy, and hit the R&B Top Ten on two occasions in 1950. The following year, for Modern, the group cut Leiber and Stoller´s "That´s What The Good Book Says". In Leiber´s view it was a botched version of a blues and gospel number, 'a pretty bad song but the first record we ever got'. In 1953 the Robins were signed to RCA-Victor and recorded Leiber and Stoller´s first prison song, "Ten Days In Jail". The disc illustrated some of this song-writing team´s stock production devices, particularly the intrusion of a warm bass voice that echoed a doleful or witty line. This mannerism would soon permeate the novelty records of many black vocal groups.

Recording for Spark
Later in 1953 Leiber and Stoller formed Spark, their own record company. 'At the time', recalled Robins bass singer Bobby Nunn, 'they were living in the colored district down on Pico. I heard ´em say "We´re gonna be millionaires in a couple of years."' The Robins cut seven (acually six; ed.note) singles for Spark, including "Riot In Cell Block Number 9" and "Framed". Both songs were exceptionally good examples of R&B and went deep into the heart of ghetto life. Their final record for Spark was "Smokey Joe´s Cafe" (1955). It displayed the carefully contrived and well-integrated lyrics and music for which the Coasters (later; ed.note) would become internationally famous. It was another in a long series of compact vignettes that dramatized aspects of seamy, sleazy low-life. "Smokey Joe´s Cafe" belongs in the same category as the alleys, strip clubs, pawn shops, street corners, race tracks, prisons and blue-light diners to which the Coasters would return again and again. Smokey Joe (bass singer Bobby Nunn) threatens the lead singer (Carl Gardner), and his use of cutlery is not likely to be confined to eating beans. The deliciously neat characterization and atmosphere evoked, put lyricist Jerry Leiber on a par with Chuck Berry as a leading poet of rock´n´roll. Filled with rhythms you´d expect to hear in a border-town bar-cum-brothel, Smokey Joe´s cafe was the sort of place where you could get your kicks and experience your share of strong sensations. On the strength of the Robins´ records Atlantic signed Leiber and Stoller to an independent production deal in 1955. Some of the Robins left (actually not - it was Gardner and Nunn who left; ed.not), but Gardner (a dance band vocalist from Texas) and Nunn (originally from Alabama) recruited Billy Guy (another Texan) and Leon Hughes to form the Coasters. They were so-named by their manager, Lester Sill, to identify them with the West Coast. Hughes, more a dancer than a singer, was quickly replaced by Young Jessie (only on recordings; ed.note). Ed.note: The Coasters made their recording debut in January, 1956 with "Down In Mexico".

The classic Coasters of 1958.

Double-sided smash
In 1957 the fresh line-up enjoyed a massive hit with "Searchin´", the first of the group´s songs to draw inspiration from the annals of criminal detection. The song remained on the best-seller list for six months, reaching Number 5 (Pop Best Seller; ed.note), while the reverse, "Young Blood", also made the Top Ten. "Young Blood", a suggestive girl-following song, was about sexual arousal, about being transfixed by comic-strip beauty. The girls in the Coasters´ songs were petite and precocious with tight sweaters and big round eyes. They were also very young. They were subject to parental disciplines, they went roller skating and they skipped around in the park. In "Young Blood" the male group are totally besotted and their agitation increases until they´re barely able to keep their trousers on. Ultimately the street-corner lechers - four middle-aged blacks, remember - reveal a potentially dangerous form of inadequacy, following the young girl all the way home. The innuendo becomes so heavy you half expect a contraceptive to roll out of the record sleeve. Things however, got bad, they meet her Dad, who says (in the bassman´s gloriously deep voice), ' You better leave my daughter alone.' All this was heavy stuff back in 1957. The Coasters´ mumbled lyrics were not only educationally destructive; they were also said to undermine the moral fibre of white children. After several less-heralded goodies such as "Idol With The Golden Head" and "What Is The Secret of Your Success", the Coasters moved to New York, where Cornelius Gunter from the Flairs and Will "Dub" Jones from the Cadets replaced Young Jessie (actually Leon Hughes, ed.note) and Bobby Nunn. They were joined in the studio by King Curtis, whose tenor sax interjections became an integral part of the group´s records. The new line-up, which remained unchanged for the next four years and sang on all of the Coasters´ biggest hits, re-embarked on a comic tradition from which American rock has never entirely departed.

Jerry Leiber, Carl Gardner, Mike Stoller, King Curtis and Billy Guy in the Atlantic studios in 1959.

'Hello Charlie Brown'
Although they had made nuggets before, the Coasters did not achieve worldwide fame until "Yakety Yak" raced up the charts on both sides of the Atlantic in 1958. The title is a throwaway comment at the end of each verse. It follows a list of parental instructions and threats - 'If you don´t scrub that kitchen floor, you ain´t gonna rock´n´roll no more' - which helped to define the generation gap. "Charlie Brown", which reached Number 2 in 1959, was set in the same context. In it the Coasters´ enumerate Charlie´s feeble attacks on authority, while the bass voice gives expression to his wholly unbelievable innocence with the line ' Why´s everybody always pickin´ on me?'. The wheedlesome, subservient voices and Charlie´s simple-minded non-conformism have prompted musicians and writers to complain that Leiber and Stoller created stereotypes of black people and got too many of their laughs by making clowns out of black vocalists. But the R&B singer, long preoccupied with crime, sex, food and gambling, created his own stereotype of himself; Otis Redding, for example sang of chicken-stealing. More importantly, the Coasters were clearly irreverent and opposed institutions that white adults held in high esteem. Authority, parents, fidelity, hard work, piety and the suppression of risky pleasures were questioned with a bold and subversive wit. Jews (Leiber and Stoller) and Southern blacks (the Coasters) were expected to show gratitude towards the system. Instead they stood up and criticized it, a theme that can be recognized in almost all their songs. Southern justice, managerial power and the gulf between black and white were satirized mercilessly. Even the banality of television Westerns came in for gentle parody; the lyrics of "Along Came Jones" (Number 9 in 1959) were funnier than any horse-opera dialogue you ever heard.

Eventually, few records were as contagious as "Poison Ivy (Number 7 in 1959) or the flip "I´m A Hog For You", where the splicing together of a repeated guitar note and grunts and squeals from the tenor sax created a vivid aural picture of pigs feeding at a trough. It demonstrates another of the fundamental reasons for the Coasters´ appeal: if you did miss the point you could still marvel at the sound. "Yakety Yak" and the other discs mentioned above guaranteed the Coasters permanent place in rock´s Hall of Fame and remain unparalleled over 20 years later (now 50; ed.not). The group remained with Leiber and Stoller into the Sixties and the combination resulted in further risible gems that brought vocal group production to impressive new heights. "Shoppin´ For Clothes" (1960) resembled Chuck Berry´s love of automobile gadgetry in its sartorial obsessiveness. The hero is looking for a suit with solid gold buttons, a camel-hair collar and the 'cutaway, flap-over twice'. Billy Guy invested this record, "Girls Girls Girls" and "Little Egypt" (both 1961) with the crafty timing of a long-experienced vaudeville actor. Arguably the Coasters´ last real classic, "Little Egypt" concerned a stripper who began her act wearing nothing but a button and a bow. She ends up marrying the lecherous singer who concludes: 'Little Egypt doesn´t dance there anymore, she´s too busy moppin´ and a-takin´ care of shoppin´ at the store. ´Cos we´ve got seven kids and all day long they crawl around the floor.' Guy snorts the lyrics with the arrogant air of one who can now enjoy Little Egypt´s performance every night of the week. The record was subjected to a wide-spread ban in the South, but rivaled the very best Coasters discs in every way.

The classic Coasters in 1958. Gunter, Jones, Guy, Gardner, and Jacobs.The Coasters in early 1959.
Carroll, Palmer, Gardner, Bright, and Norman (the late 1970s).

A switch of labels
Leiber and Stoller left the Coasters in 1963, and the group played out their Atlantic contract without any chart success thereafter. In 1967 there was news of a reconciliation. The group (now with Earl Carroll from the Cadillacs, who had succeeded Gunter a couple of years earlier; ed.note) were signed to Date, a CBS subsidiary, and fresh Leiber and Stoller productions followed, including "Soul Pad", "Down Home Girl" and "D.W. Washburn". "Down Home Girl" was flecked with country-blues imagery, while "Soul Pad" parodied health food, psychedelic rock, mysticism and other facets of counterculture. All the songs were as sharp as anything Jerry Leiber had ever written, but the producers failed to get the full support of CBS. The songs achieved more success in the hands of such artists as the Monkees ("D.W. Washburn") and the Rolling Stones ("Down Home Girl"). After a further hiatus the Coasters returned to the charts in 1971 with another Leiber and Stoller production, "Love Potion Number 9". Since then the group has pottered about on a variety of small labels without the benefit of Leiber and Stoller´s wizardry.

1969 or poss. 1972.
The Coasters promoting "Love Potion Number Nine" in 1971 with Guy, Carroll, Bright, and Gardner.

The historical contribution of the Coasters is real enough, however. There were cover versions and revivals by, for example, the Hollies, Lord Sutch, the Beatles, the Fourmost, Ray Charles, the Lambrettas, and the Tremeloes. The Coasters´ black (in both senses of the word) humor had a formidable influence on such diverse artists as Frank Zappa, social satirist Shel Silverstein, and Eddie Cochran - Cochran´s records often featured that moronic, disembodied bass voice. An no less a black progressive than Curtis Mayfield stated: 'I especially loved the Coasters.' Many groups tried to imitate the Coasters, but - unlike the imitations - the Coasters´ records improve with age.
BILL MILLAR   - 1982, 1984.


Lee Hildebrand´s Presentation of

The Coasters in 1960: Jones, Gardner, Gunter, Guy.
THE COASTERS
(from "Billboard HitMakers" series)

 

The Coasters were, in the words of critic Dave Marsh, "the funniest group in rock and roll history". No other rhythm and blues act of the 1950s better captured the rebellious spirit of teenaged America, with the possible  exception of Chuck Berry. the versatile southern California vocal quartet served as a sounding board for the brilliant  musical vignettes of lyricist Jerry Leiber and tunesmith Mike Stoller, delivering such three-minute slices of social satire as "Yakety Yak" and "Charlie Brown" with punch lines perfectly timed for optimum comic effect. "If rock ´n´ roll had produced nothing but the Coasters and Leiber and Stoller", author Arnold Shaw stated in The Rockin´ ´50s, "it would still have commanded attention as the sound embodiment of a time and generation. They reflected the world of the young with understanding, good humor, and social insight. This was rock ´n´ roll at its best - ebullient, energizing, entertaining, expressive and danceable".

The Coasters evolved from a group, formed in 1947 and comprising Ty Terrell (Leonard) and brothers Billy and Roy Richards, called the A Sharp Trio. They were spotted at the barrelhouse Club in Los Angeles by bandleader Johnny Otis, who added bass singer Bobby Nunn to the lineup and rechristened them the Bluebirds, then the Robins. Between 1949 and ´54, the Robins recorded prolifically, for such labels as Aladdin, Savoy, Recorded in Hollywood, Modern and RCA Victor, hitting the top of the R&B chart in 1950 with Savoy´s "Double Crossing Blues" on which they were joined vocally by Little Esther and backed by the Otis band. Their first association with Leiber and Stoller came with 1951´s "That´s What the Good Book Says" on Modern, followed by 1953´s "Ten Days in Jail" on RCA, the first tune in which the group adopted character parts inspired by Leiber´s interest in such radio dramas as "The Shadow", "Gangbusters" and "Amos ´n´ Andy".

With profits from their first major hit, 1953´s "Hound Dog" by blues belter Willie Mae "Big Mama" Thornton on Peacock, Leiber and Stoller launched Spark Records in 1954. At their own label, the songwriting-producing team perfected their sitcom approach with the Robins (now featuring lead singer Carl Gardner) on such tunes as "Riot in Cell Block #9" (with bass singer Richard Berry subbing for Nunn), "Framed" (containing an element of protest against racism), and "Smokey Joe´s Cafe". Those sides were strong sellers in southern California, but not nationally, due to the company´s limited distribution.

"Smokey Joe´s Cafe" sparked the interest of Atlantic Records, which not only purchased the Spark catalog, but signed Leiber and Stoller to an unprecedented contract as independent producers. Reissued on Atlantic´s new Atco subsidiary, the song rose to number 10 on Billboard´s R&B chart. There was a hitch, however. Several members of the group didn´t want to be with the New York company and organized a new group of Robins to record for manager Gene Norman´s Whippet label that quickly sunk into obscurity. Gardner and Nunn chose to remain with Leiber and Stoller and Atco and recruited singers Leon Hughes and Billy Guy, along with guitarist Adolph Jacobs, to become the Coasters.

Between 1956 and ´61, the Coasters cut a nearly unbroken string of hits (all written and produced by Leiber and Stoller, excepting 1960´s Billy Guy-penned "Wake Me, Shake Me") as well as provided backing for LaVern Baker on her 1957 Atlantic hit "Jim Dandy Got Married" and for Bobby Hendricks on his 1958 Sue hit "Itchy Twitchy Feeling". Beginning with the double-sided 1957 single "Searchin´" b/w "Young Blood", the Coasters were also consistent favorites on the pop charts. Hughes was (shortly) replaced by Obie Jessie, then Cornell Gunter, in (late) 1957, and Nunn by Will "Dub" Jones, the comic bass voice of 1959´s "Charlie Brown". Gunter left two years later (three and a half years after his entrance; ed.note), his place taken by former Cadillacs lead Earl "Speedo" Carroll.

Carl Gardner and The Coasters in 1998: Morse, Palmer, Gardner, Bright, and Gardner Jr.

The Top 40 R&B Songs of the Coasters: "Down in Mexico", "One Kiss Led To Another" (´56), "Searchin´", "Young Blood" (´57), "Yakety Yak" (´58), "Charlie Brown", "Along Came Jones", "Poison Ivy", "What About Us", "Run Red Run" (´59), "Wake Me, Shake Me" (´60), "Little Egypt" (´61). The Coasters had no more top 40 hits on either the R&B or pop charts, after 1961. They were dropped by Atco four years later, then recorded briefly for Lloyd Price´s Turntable label (the Turntable single was actually recorded in 1969; ed.note) before being reunited in 1966 with Leiber and Stoller at Columbia´s Date subsidiary, for which they recorded such non-hit numbers as "Soul Pad", "Down Home Girl", and the original version of "D. W. Washburn", later a hit for the Monkees.

Various editions of the Coasters have toured the oldies circuit since the late 1960s, including one led by Gardner, another by Guy and Jones, and three others by Nunn, Gunter, and Hughes. Nunn died of a heart attack in 1986, a year before the Coasters´ induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Gunter was murdered in Las Vegas three years later (Will Jones died in early 2000 and Billy Guy in November 2002; ed.note).

Copyright (c) 1994 by Lee Hildebrand -
from "Billboard HitMakers" series: "Stars of Soul and Rhythm & Blues" -
author: Lee Hildebrand (Billboard Books - Watson Guptill Publications/New York, 1994)
ISBN 0-8230-7633-4   (text above slightly edited by Claus Röhnisch)

The Coasters at the Apollo in 1969.
Guy, Carroll, Gardner, and Bright.
The Coasters' first EP.The original 78rpm of "Yakety Yak".
The Coasters fourth EP.The Coasters´ third EP.
"Charlie Brown" sheet.Poster of 1971/72 with Bright, Gardner, Guy, and bottom: Carroll. Note that this poster differs from a more often issued one.

Veta Gardner, J.J. Jeffrey of Las Vegas, and Carl Gardner (in the 1990s).

The Coasters at Vocal Group Hall of Fame
with biographical presentations
and a copy of this page


Claus Röhnisch (the editor) and Carl Gardner in 1992.
The editor and Carl in 1992.
 
Robert Chistgau's essay of The Coasters



THE COASTERS
Guy, Jones, Gardner, Gunter in recording studios 1960.
"THOSE HOODLUM FRIENDS"
- Summary - Extended Biography -
& Recordings

  

 
The Coasters - A Summary
as presented by  All Music Guide
 

The classic Coasters.

The Coasters are one of the few artists in rock history to successfully straddle the line between music and comedy. Their undeniably funny lyrics and on-stage antics might have suggested a simple troupe of clowns, but Coasters records are no mere novelties -- their material, supplied by the legendary team of Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, is too witty, their arrangements too well-crafted, and the group itself too musically proficient. That engaging and infectious combination made them one of the most popular early R&B/rock & roll acts, as well as one of the most consistently entertaining doo wop/vocal groups of all time.

The Coasters grew out of a successful Los Angeles doo wop group called the Robins, which had been recording since 1949 and working with Leiber & Stoller since 1953. Atlantic Records acquired the Robins in 1955, when the Leiber & Stoller composition "Smokey Joe's Cafe" was becoming too big a hit for their small Spark label to handle; its success scored the duo an independent contract with Atlantic as producers and composers. Amid uncertainties over their new major-label arrangement, the Robins split up that fall; lead tenor Carl Gardner (a more recent addition) and bass Bobby Nunn formed a new group, the Coasters (named for their West Coast base), which maintained the Leiber & Stoller association -- an extremely wise move. The initial Coasters lineup was completed by baritone Billy Guy (a gifted comic vocalist) and second tenor Leon Hughes, with guitarist Adolph Jacobs figuring prominently on their recordings through 1959. Their first single, "Down in Mexico," became a Top Ten R&B hit in 1956, epitomizing the sort of humorous story-song Leiber & Stoller were perfecting. The Coasters hit again in 1957 with the double-sided smash "Young Blood"/"Searchin'," both sides of which reached the pop Top Ten. The follow-ups weren't as successful, and it was decided that both the group and Leiber & Stoller would move their operations to New York, where Atlantic was based. As a result, Nunn and Hughes left the group in late 1957, to be replaced respectively by bass Will "Dub" Jones (ex-Cadets, of "Stranded in the Jungle" fame) and second tenor Obie Jessie (who only substituted for Hughes on the "Young Blood" session), then Cornell Gunter (ex-Flairs).

The Coasters' first recording in New York was 1958's "Yakety Yak," which featured King Curtis on tenor sax. Its witty, slice-of-life lyrics about a teenager being hassled by his parents struck a resounding chord, and "Yakety Yak" became the Coasters' first number-one pop hit that summer, topping the R&B charts as well. "Charlie Brown," which cast Jones in the title role of class clown (and immortalized him with the catch-phrase, "why's everybody always pickin' on me?"), hit number two on both the pop and R&B charts in 1959, firmly establishing the Coasters' widespread crossover appeal. More hits followed: the Western-themed "Along Came Jones," "Poison Ivy," "Shoppin' for Clothes," and the group's final Top 30 hit, 1961's burlesque-dancer tribute "Little Egypt."

Following "Little Egypt," Gunter departed, to be replaced by Earl "Speedo" Carroll (of the Cadillacs). Other personnel shifts ensued over the next few years, especially as the hits dried up; even more discouragingly, Leiber & Stoller left Atlantic in 1963. The Coasters parted ways with Atlantic in early 1966, signing with Columbia's Date subsidiary and reuniting with Leiber & Stoller for a time (recording among others "D.W. Washburn"). Although they charted several times, no more hits were forthcoming, given the radically different musical climate; their last chart single was a 1971 cover of "Love Potion Number Nine" (by which time Gardner was the only remaining original member, now supplemented by Jimmy Norman, Earl Carroll, new bass Ronnie Bright, and guitarist Thomas "Curley" Palmer). Since then, numerous different Coasters lineups have toured the oldies circuit (and also have recorded revivals as "The Coasters"); Gardner's holds the legal claim to legitimacy, but Gunter, Guy, Jones, Nunn, and Hughes all led differing lineups at one point or another (as did remnants of their groups after Nunn´s and Gunter´s deaths). Nunn died of a heart attack in 1986, one year before the Coasters became the first vocal group inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Gunter was murdered in Las Vegas in 1990. Jones passed away in early 2000 and Billy Guy died in November 2002.

All Music Guide, Steve Huey (slightly revised by Claus Röhnisch).

"The Coasters" - Atco 33-101"The Coasters' Greatest Hits"  Atco 33-111"The Coasters One By One" - Atco 33-123Atco LP 33-135 "Coast Along With The Coasters".
    

  

 
The Coasters - Extended Biography
by Claus Röhnisch
The Coasters in 1958: Jones, Gardner and Gunter with Jacobs and Guy bottom.
 

 

"If rock ´n´ roll had produced nothing but the Coasters and Leiber and Stoller, it would still have commanded attention as the sound embodiment of a time and generation", Arnold Shaw wrote in his book "The Rockin´ ´50s". The Coasters are widely regarded as the pre-eminent vocal group of the original rock ´n´ roll era. "There never was - nor will there ever be - another group quite like the Coasters. Although they worked within the standard conventions of vocal group harmony, their signal achievement was to create - or to have created for them - a variety of comedic roles that both celebrated and satirized the mores of contemporary American life without falling victim to racial stereotyping. It´s impossible to gauge which was the luckier party, whether the Coasters were most fortunate to have Leiber and Stoller as their providers or the songwriters to have such capable vocalists to draw out the nuances and downright insinuations in their songs", Neil Slaven stated in a review in "Blues & Rhythm" magazine in late 1997.

The Coasters truly deserve their high rankings in music history - hand-chosen professional performers, all debuting during the early years of rhythm & blues and contributing to the emerging of original rock ´n´ roll - exciting individuals, creating the best of vocal group harmonies ever waxed.

This exciting new vocal group was born on September 28, 1955 through a recording / producing contract signed by Atlantic Records. The new foursome had its origins in the Los Angeles, California based vocal sextet the Robins, originally promoted by Johnny Otis and recording since 1949 with Bobby Nunn - born September 20, 1925 in Birmingham, Alabama - as bass/lead singer. It was the young producing /composing team of Jerry Leiber & Mike Stoller,  who with manager /salesman Lester Sill persuaded Bobby Nunn and Carl Gardner, lead tenor vocalist with the Robins from 1954 on Leiber-Stoller´s tiny Spark label in L.A., to leave that group and launch the new group - called The Coasters. Gardner - born April 29, 1928 in Tyler, Texas - is still the Coasters´ spokesman and coach today (and sang lead with the group for 50 years. The Robins´ West Coast hits from Spark were later issued on Coasters compilations (a.o. RIOT IN CELL BLOCK #9, FRAMED, LOOP DE LOOP MAMBO, and SMOKEY JOE´S CAFE).

Attracted by the success of SMOKEY JOE´S CAFE with Gardner on lead vocal, Atlantic Records signed an independent producer/composer contract with Leiber & Stoller on that historic day of September 28, 1955. Two hand-chosen Californians, Billy Guy (a young, slick baritone, born June 20, 1936 in Itasca, Texas)
from the duo Bip & Bop, and Leon Hughes (born August 26, 1932 in Los Angeles County, who had sung with the Hollywood Flames and the Lamplighters), completed the original Coasters line-up. They were contracted to Atlantic´s new subsidiary Atco Records (ratified in 1959 for a further seven years). Through the Coasters Leiber-Stoller launched some of the most entertaining songs of the ´50s. The first Coasters recording was DOWN IN MEXICO from January 11, 1956 (Carl did great versions of that song in later years). The record became a "sleeper" R&B hit - followed by the minor Pop hit ONE KISS LED TO ANOTHER.

The group now hit the road for national promotion and produced R&B´s most famous double-sided smash in 1957 (with Gardner and Guy lead singers on one side each). YOUNG BLOOD (the original A-side) hit the national R&B Best Seller Chart #1 on June 3 and the week after its flip, SEARCHIN´, occupied that same spot for a further 12 weeks and also went to #1 on the R&B Disc Jockey and Juke Box Charts (with YOUNG BLOOD at #2). Both titles also became national Pop Top Ten hits, staying on the charts for half a year. This success stands as a rather unique achievement in American music history. Young Jessie had substituted for Hughes on that record. After three less successful, but exciting issues, (IDOL WITH THE GOLDEN HEAD, SWEET GEORGIA BROWN, and DANCE!) the Coasters reformed and - with Jerry & Mike - moved from the West Coast to New York. Bobby Nunn and Leon Hughes stayed in California, where Nunn later launched his own "The Coasters, Mark II". Nunn died of heart failure on November 5, 1986 in Los Angeles. His group, now led by Billy Richards Jr, continued to tour as "Billy Richards' Coasters". Hughes also started his own off-shoot Coasters tribute group, "The World Famous Coasters" aka "The Original Coasters".

Mike Stoller (at the piano) and Jerry Leiber (in 1959).
LeiberStoller.com

 
| Leiber-Stoller |
Leiber & Stoller Story Vol 1Spark Records




New Book:
Hound Dog - The Leiber & Stoller Autobiography:
Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller with David Ritz (US June, 2009)


Further reading;
Always Magic In The Air
- The Bomp and Brilliance of the Brill Building Era
by Ken Emerson (US Penguin - Viking  2005)
and
Tell the truth unitl they Bleed
by Josh Alan Friedman (US Backbeat Books, 2008)

|| The Legacy of Leiber-Stoller |
| Leiber-Stoller at Wikipedia |

| Smokey Joe´s Cafe |
| The Songs of Leiber-Stoller |

| More on Leiber-Stoller |

Bill Millar´s book "The Coasters" of 1975.
Bill Millar's book "The Coasters" and !Young Blood" ad.


 
The Coasters'  first LP - 33-101.

Two new group members were recruited by the Coasters´ prolific manager Lester Sill and shared leads on the first N.Y. Coasters Atco effort, ZING! WENT THE STRINGS OF MY HEART (a beach music classic today), recorded on March 17, 1958 in Atlantic´s new studios. Both new-comers were former L.A. experienced group singers - Will "Dub" Jones, successful bass lead with the Cadets, born in Shreveport, Louisiana on May 14, 1928 (not 1930 or 1936) - and Cornell Gunter, lead with the Flairs, born November 14, 1936 (not 1938) in Coffeyville, Kansas. The two joined Gardner and Guy to establish the classic New York quartet that recorded all the other famous Coasters' golden million sellers. YAKETY YAK (Zing's A-side, with the significant unison singing) went # 1Pop and R&B in 1958 (and received a Grammy Hall of Fame Award in 1999), although its follow-up THE SHADOW KNOWS failed. CHARLIE BROWN (Pop and R&B #2 - with its great flip THREE COOL CATS) became an international hit and was followed by ALONG CAME JONES (a #9 Pop hit in 1959) b/w THAT IS ROCK & ROLL. The double-sider POISON IVY  (R&B #1 and Pop #7) b/w I´M A HOG FOR YOU became the fourth million-seller. The classic Coasters had a fifth member in guitarist Adolph Jacobs born April 15, 1939 in Sabine, East Texas, who was succeeded by a Coasters employee, Sonny Forriest, on WHAT ABOUT US b/w RUN RED RUN, which was the last single of the highly successful year of 1959.

The Atco single "Poison Ivy" c/w "I´m A Hog For You".

The productions of the Coasters´ Atco recordings were far superior to any contemporary group efforts (using the best musicians available, especially Texan King Curtis´ fruity sax breaks) with the lyrics neatly deriding aspects of teenage and/or black ghetto life. The group also worked out hilarious stage routines and became the most professional act in late ´50s Rhythm & Blues and early ´60s International Pop.

In 1960 the Coasters hit with WAKE ME, SHAKE ME and waxed one of their all-time greatest recordings, SHOPPIN´ FOR CLOTHES (with Guy and Jones sharing lead vocals). The flip was THE SNAKE AND THE BOOK WORM (one of the few tracks not written by Leiber-Stoller). That year they also released their under-rated, but qualitative "One By One" LP. In 1961 they hit with
WAIT A MINUTE (recorded in 1957). After the group´s last U.S. Pop Top 30 hit entry, LITTLE EGYPT (YING-YANG), Cornell Gunter left the group in June, 1961. He formed his own "Fabulous Coasters" a couple of years later. Gunter died in his car by a gun shot from an unknown in Las Vegas on January 26, 1990. Remnants of his group tour as "The Original Cornell Gunter Coasters".

1965 with Gardner, Jones, Carroll, and Guy (publ. photo by JamesJ. Kriegsmann, James Evans Management).

The famous former lead of the Cadillacs, Earl "Speedo" Carroll, born November 2, 1937 in New York City, became new second tenor in the qualitative line-up of the Coasters, which continued to record for Atco through early 1966, with a.o. the live recording of  T´AIN´T NOTHIN´ TO ME (originally issued on a various-artists "Apollo Saturday Night" LP - hitting the Cash Box R&B Chart #20 in March, 1964); and the original recording of LET´S GO GET STONED. Three of the mid '60s Coasters issues on Atco included a re-rendition of I MUST BE DREAMING (originally recorded by the Robins), MONEY HONEY (a great rendition of the original Drifters' hit) and SHE'S A YUM-YUM (the Coasters'  last Atco single, produced by King Curtis). Leiber-Stoller had left Atco/Atlantic in 1963, but the vocal quartet renewed their collaboration with the team in late 1966, recording for the CBS subsidiary Date Records, for which the Coasters on November 18. 1966 waxed SOUL PAD b/w DOWN HOME GIRL. In late October 1967 they recorded SHE CAN (later reissued as TALKIN´ ´BOUT A WOMAN) and the wonderful original of D.W. WASHBURN (released in 1968 and reissued on King Records in the ´70s).

By the time of the Coasters´ revival Will Jones had left for new tasks (in New York and later California), replaced by Ronnie Bright, born October 18, 1938 in New York City and original bass singer in Harlem´s early ´50s group the Valentines. Billy Guy, the great comedian of the group, had started his attempts as a solo artist back in 1962 (still recording and performing with the group up to 1973), sometimes substituted first by Vernon Harrell and later by the hard-working soul veteran Jimmy Norman - born August 12, 1937 in Nashville, Tennessee. He had sung with Jesse Belvin´s Chargers and became a regular Coaster in the revival line-up of the ´70s. The group performed all over U.S. and toured Europe several times. They even made a brief come-back on the U.S. Hot 100 Chart with a re-rendition of
the Clovers' classic LOVE POTION NUMBER NINE (for King Records in the winter of 1971/72 with Carl Gardner as happy lead vocal) and issued a great album produced by Leiber-Stoller on King, titled "The Coasters On Broadway". The group continued to make records - although the hits came dry. With Gardner, Speedo, Bright and Guy they had recorded for Lloyd Price's Turntable in 1969 (ACT RIGHT and THE WORLD IS CHANGING, produced by Jimmy Norman). Later Ronnie Bright sang lead on CHECK MR. POPEYE, and the group, now with Guy definately out, did a single for Wilson Pickett's Wicked label (HUSH DON'T TALK ABOUT IT).

By the early ´80s Carroll had left to reform his Cadillacs, and Guy and Jones sporadically acted with a special "World Famous Coasters" in California. Will "Dub" Jones died in Long Beach, California on January 16, 2000 at the age of 71 after several years of semi-retirement. Billy Guy died in his sleep at home in Las Vegas, Nevada on November 5, 2002.  In 1987 the Coasters (Gardner, Guy, Jones, and Gunter individually) were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame - the first vocal group receiving that honor. The true Coasters by-then touring lineup, still fronted by Carl Gardner, included Norman, Bright, and veteran guitarist Thomas Palmer - born in El Paso, Texas on August 15, 1929, who had joined the group already in early 1962 (debuting on the notorious THE CLIMB). This became the longest lasting lineup, touring for 18 years. At times more than ten different "Coasters" sang the hits on stage. Former Coasters Mark II members Grady Chapman and Bobby Sheen (of the late Robins) had a Coasters group (and even Randy Jones, who had sung with Gunter´s and Nunn´s groups, had one). In the late ´90s "Billy Guy´s Coasters" emerged on the scene, semi-coached by Billy Guy - that group (managed by Larry Marshak) nowadays tours in several versions as "The Cornell Gunter Coasters". Carl Gardner and his Coasters have - despite the competition from bogus and off-spring Coasters groups - been heavily engaged in live bookings during the late ´80s and the whole of the ´90s into the new millennium (even performing at the Carnegie Hall). Carl Gardner has been up-front all the time (leading a super-funky live version of SMOKEY JOE'S CAFE - the title which was used for the famous Leiber-Stoller musical).

The Coasters in July, 1993. Bright, Gardner, Palmer and (bottom) Norman.
The Coasters in 1993

In early 1998 the true Coasters were a singing quartet again (with Palmer still on guitar). Alvin Morse (born in February, 1951) had joined the group - and in time for Gardner´s 70th birthday Carl Gardner Jr (petnamed Mickey - born April 29, 1955) replaced Jimmy Norman, who had left to start a new reggae career. By the end of July, 2001 Joe Lance Williams (aka J. W. Lance, who had sung with Marshak's Coasters), born June 16, 1949, started to substitute for Gardner Jr. In November, 2004 Carl Jr returned to his father's group and Lance stayed. On November 5, 2005 Carl Gardner Jr officially took over lead vocals from his father, who semi-retired (but still coaches the group). The Coasters are probably America´s most exciting veteran vocal group of today. We truly haven´t heard the last from them yet!

All of the Coasters´ Atco recordings are available on a Rhino Handmade 4CD-box (with 113 tracks) issued on December 11, 2007, titled "The Coasters On Atco". Rhino´s "The Very Best of The Coasters" is their most worthwhile 1CD-anthology. U.S. Rhino have also issued a terrific double CD titled "50 Coastin´ Classics" (although out of catalogue nowadays). A 30-track 2CD-set, titled "The Definitive Soul Collection" is planned (featuring all their pop hits). 
The Coasters´ fine Date/King sides are to be found on a recommended Varese Vintage CD, "Down Home", issued late August 2007.

- by Claus Röhnisch


The most worthwile Coasters CD, "50 Coastin´ Classics" on Rhino.
"50 Coastin´ Classics" on Rhino 2-setCD

Read more on the roots at
:
In the Beginning |
Sill-Leiber-Stoller, the Robins and the original Coasters.


Jones, Gardner, Gunter, and Guy in 1958.

Jay Warner's presentation of The Coasters
(from American Singing Groups) and more.


Song Titles Chronology
 
The Coasters´ ad in the Cash Box magazine, 1957.1958: Guy, Jones, Gardner, Gunter, and Jacobs.
All titles composed by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, unless otherwise noted.
Leiber-Stoller´s publishing firms (Quintet, Tiger, Quartet, and Trio) nowadays on Jerry Leiber Music / Mike Stoller Music
(recently sold to Sony /ATV).  Most Tiger publishings later on Quintet.

Jerry Leiber Songwriters Hall of Fame | Mike Stoller Songwriters Hall of Fame

1954-1955
(The Robins)

Los Angeles, c:a February-March 1954
The Hatchet Man
I Love Paris (Cole Porter)
Whadaya Want
If Teardrops Were Kisses
Early 1954
Wrap It Up
Riot In Cell Block # 9
c.a August 1954
Loop De Loop Mambo
One Kiss
I Must Be Dreamin´
Framed
July 7 (or poss January), 1955
Smokey Joe´s Cafe
Just Like A Fool

1956-1957
(the original Coasters)

Los Angeles, January 11, 1956
Brazil  (Ary Barrosso - S.K. Russell)
Down In Mexico
One Kiss Led To Another
Turtle Dovin´
February 12/15, 1957
Lola
Sweet Georgia Brown (Barney - Casey - Pinkard)
Young Blood  (Leiber - Stoller - Doc Pomus)
Searchin´ 
New York City, June 12-13, 1957

Wait A Minute (rejected)
Chicago, July 24, 1957
My Baby Comes To Me (2 takes)
Idol With The Golden Head
What Is The Secret Of Your Success?
New York City, December 4, 1957

Wait A Minute
(issued edition) (Bobby Darin - Don Kirshner)
I´m Fallin´ (unissued)
Dance! (2 editions)
Gee, Golly

1958-1959
(the classic Coasters)

New York City, March 17, 1958
Zing! Went The Strings Of My Heart (James Hanley)
Three Cool Cats (3 versions)
Yakety Yak (4 versions) 
Stewball (2 versions)
August 8, 1958

Sorry But I´m Gonna Have To Pass
The Shadow Knows (2 takes)
I´m A Hog For You (3 versions; plus below)
Crocodile (two takes)
December 11, 1958

Charlie Brown (2 takes) 
Hey Sexy (2 versions)
March 26, 1959

Along Came Jones (2 editions) 
That Is Rock & Roll (2 editions)
July 16, 1959

What About Us (2 editions)
Poison Ivy (3 editions)
Edited July 17, 1959

I´m A Hog For You (released edition)
July 23, 1959

Run Red Run (2 editions)
Guitaritious (unissued instr)  (Leiber-Stoller-Albert Forriest)

1960-1961
(the classic Coasters)

New York City, February 26, 1960
Keep On Rolling (2 editions)
Besame Mucho (Parts I and II) (Velasquez - Skylar)
The Snake And The Book Worm (2 editions) (Doc Pomus - Morty Shuman)
Wake Me, Shake Me  (2 editions)  (Billy Guy)
Lady Like
June 13 and June 15, 1960

the "One By One" LP (stereo and mono) (different composers)
July 29,1960

Thumbin´ A Ride
Dog Face (unissued)
Shoppin´ For Clothes (Kent Harris *)
Los Angeles, December 7, 1960

Ridin´ Hood (4 editions)  (Dallas Frazier - Tommy Floyd)
New York City, February 9, 1961

Girls Girls Girls Part I (2 editions)
Girls Girls Girls Part II (alternate version of above)
Little Egypt (Ying-Yang) (2 editions) 
Weddin´ Days (unissued)
Los Angeles, April 10, 1961

Giving Up (unissued) (unknown comp)
Hongry
Teach Me How To Shimmy
I´m A Hum Dinger (unissued)  (prob. Billy Guy)

1961-1966
(the qualitative Coasters)

New York City, September 25, 1961
My Babe (Willie Dixon)
Bad Blood (2 editions)
(Ain´t That) Just Like Me (Earl Carroll - Billy Guy) 
July 31, 1962

The Climb (2 vocal editions & one instrumental)
The Slime (alternate of above)
Bull Tick Waltz
January 10-11, 1963

The P.T.A. (Fred Tobias - Paul Evans)
The Apollo Theater, November 16, 1963

T´Ain´t Nothin´ To Me  (Pat "Lover" Patterson - see notes)
Speedo´s Back In Town (Earl Carroll)
What´s The Secret Of Your Success (unissued)
Girls, Girls, Girls (unissued)
New York City, December 17, 1963

Bad Detective  (Keni St Lewis)
Lovey Dovey (Ahmet Ertegun - Memphis Curtis)
Cotton Fields (unissued)  (unknown comp)
Skylark (unissued) (unknown comp)
August 28, 1964

Wild One  (Billy Guy)
Speedball (unissued)  (unknown comp)
I Must Be Dreaming
April 21, 1965 (and September 8, 1965)

Money Honey (Jesse Stone)
Bell Bottom Slacks And A Chinese Kimono  (Ahmet Ertegun)
Let´s Go Get Stoned  (Simpson - Ashford - Armstead)
Crazy Baby (Billy Guy)
January 26, 1966

She´s A Yum Yum  (Dallas Frazier)
Saturday Night Fish Fry  (Louis Jordan - Walsh)

1966-1972
(the revival)

New York City, November 18, 1966
Soul Pad
Down Home Girl  (Jerry Leiber - Artie Butler)
June 28, 1967

Everybody's Woman (unissued prob demo)
Teeny Bopper (unissued) (unknown)
October 30, 1967

She Can (Talkin´ ´ Bout A Woman)
Mohair Sam  (Dallas Frazier)
Everybody´s Woman
October 31, 1967

D. W.  Washburn
February 13/14, 1968

Shake ´Em Up And Let ´Em Roll
Love Potion Number Nine (edited Autumn 1971)
Down At Papa Joe´s (Jerrry D. Smith)
Personality (unissued)  (Price - Logan)

Boston Tea Party Room, 1969
Intro and Walk Right In  (unknown comp)
Yakety Yak
Searchin´
Poison Ivy
Youngblood  -sic (Leiber - Stoller - Doc Pomus)
Zing! Went The Strings Of My Heart (Hanley)
Little Egypt
Charlie Brown
Speedo´s Back In Town (Carroll)
Along Came Jones
New York City, 1969

Act Right  (Jimmy Norman)
The World Is Changing (Jimmy Norman)
New York City, Autumn 1971

Cool Jerk (Donald Storball)
Mustang Sally  (Bonny "Mack" Rice)
On Broadway (Barry Mann - Cynthia Weil - Leiber - Stoller)
The In Crowd (Billy Page)
Good Lovin´ (unissued)  (Rudy Clark-Arthur Resnick)
Madison Square Garden, 1972
Poison Ivy
Charlie Brown

1973-onw.
(the resurrection
and current)

New Jersey, c:a 1973
Down In Mexico
Young Blood (Leiber - Stoller - Doc Pomus)
Love Potion #9
Charlie Brown
Yackety-Yak (Yakety Yak)
Run Red Run
Searchin´
Little Egypt
Poison Ivy
Along Came Jones
Boston Tea Party, c:a 1973

Poison Ivy
Love Potion No. 9
Zing Went The Strings Of My Heart  (Hanley)
Charlie Brown (encore)

New York City, 1976
Hush Don´t Talk About It
The World Keeps On Turning

(both titles above: Norman, Bright, Gardner, Carroll, Palmer)

1977

Check Mr. Popeye (Dolores Johnson)
Little Darlin´s Orlando, Florida 1988 (re-edited 1992)

Baby That´s Rock And Roll (Rock ´N´ Roll)
Yakety Yak
Charlie Brown
Young Blood  (Leiber - Stoller - Doc Pomus)
Poison Ivy
Down In Mexico
Little Egypt
Frosty The Snowman (Strait)

The Palace of Auburn Hills, Detroit, Michigan, December 26, 2001
Baby That´s Rock & Roll
Searching
Yakety Yak
Poison Ivy
Zing Went The Strings of My Heart 
(Hanley)
Young Blood 
(Leiber - Stoller - Doc Pomus)
Stormy Monday 
(Aaron T-Bone Walker)
I´m A Hog For You
Little Egypt
Smokey Joe´s Cafe
Charlie Brown

*) "Shoppin´ For Clothes"´ first pressings issued with Elmo Glick (a pseudonym for Mike Stoller) as composer on label. The second pressing, titled "Clothes Line (Wrap It Up)", has Harris-Leiber-Stoller as composers (publ American Music - Trio). The Rhino CD has (publ Leiber-Stoller Music / Five Point).
Notes: "Lola" originally recorded by Bob London for Spark in 1954. "Hey Sexy" was retitled "Lovey" (with slightly different lyrics) and recorded by the Clovers for United Artists in 1959. "What About Us" originally published as "What About Me?" (recorded by Larry Evans for Fabor in 1956). "Besame Mucho" issued with Wilke - Velasquez - Skylar as composers on London(E) single. "The Snake And The Book Worm" (that’s how the single in US was spelled) originally recorded by US singer Pat Shannon and UK singer Cliff Richard in 1959 (with slightly different lyrics). "T´Aint´t Nothin´ To Me" originally issued on LP with the Coasters as composers. "Saturday Night Fish Fry" issued with Jordan - Walsh - Carrington as composers on Atlantic(E) single, and is a revival of the Jordan hit. "Lovey Dovey" and "Money Honey" are revivals of original Clovers´ and Drifters´ hits. "Down Home Girl" originally recorded by Alvin Robinson for Leiber-Stoller´s Red Bird (1964). "She Can" originally recorded as "I´m A Woman" by Christine Kittrell in 1962 and by Peggy Lee for Capitol in 1963. It was reissued by the Coasters as "Talkin’ ‘Bout A Woman". "Love Potion Number Nine" originally recorded for United Artists by the Clovers in 1959. "Cool Jerk" originally recorded by the Capitols in 1966. "My Babe" is a revival of the Little Walter hit. "On Broadway", "Mohair Sam", "The In Crowd", "Down At Papa Joe´s" and "Mustang Sally" are revivals of hits from 1960s´ records by the Drifters, Dallas Frazier (C&W), Ramsey Lewis (instr) & Dobie Gray (vocal), the Dixiebelles, and Sir Mack Rice (original) & Wilson Pickett (hit cover). "Shake ´Em Up And Let ´Em Roll" recorded by Earl Richard for United Artists in 1968. The two songs of 1976 written by Jimmy Norman and published on his There Music Company.


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