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A Summary - Outline of Carl Gardner´s book
" Yakety Yak I Fought Back
- My Life With the Coasters "
Yakety Yak I Fought Back: My Life With the Coasters
(by Carl Gardner, leader & founder - with Veta Gardner).
Yakety Yak I Fought Back: My Life With the Coasters
by Carl Gardner with Veta Gardner
at AuthorHouse (authorhouse.com)
Barnes & Noble
COASTERS FOUNDER GARDNER PENS MEMOIR
Todd Baptista reviews YAKETY YAK, I FOUGHT BACK
From Goldmine magazine
With the assistance and support of his wife of 20 years, Veta, Coasters founder Carl Gardner's autobiography, Yakety Yak, I Fought Back, was published through AuthorHouse and issued in June. The 180-page paperback as penned by Veta traces the now 79-year old Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee from his birth in Tyler, Texas to international stardom, to content retirement in Port St. Lucie, Florida. Although Claus Röhnisch's 27-page discography and timeline gives the reader a great deal of information on the group's history and output, the premise of this book is not names, places and dates. For that, fans should visit Rohnisch's website, www.angelfire.com/mn/coasters/, not only the best Coasters site, but unquestionably the most authoritative and well-researched internet site for any vocal harmony group from any era. Instead, the book reads like an engaging chat with the singer himself, as Gardner recounts the segregation and racism he encountered growing up poor in the Deep South in the late 1930s and early 1940s and yearning to find success in California as a "sophisticated crooner", a solo singer in the Bill Kenny, Billy Eckstine, Nat "King" Cole vein. Once in Los Angeles, Gardner found to his dismay that rhythm and blues groups and combos had captured the country's tastes, and through his association with bandleader Johnny Otis, he wound up sitting in with the Robins in late 1953 while their regular lead, Grady Chapman, was incarcerated. It was a stint that lasted until Gardner and bass Bobby Nunn left to form the Coasters with Leiber and Stoller in the fall of 1955. To R&B fans who hold the Robins in high esteem, Gardner's tales of the group's extra-curricular activities may come as a shock. In order to be able to earn extra cash to send home to his wife and two children, the singer recounts how he worked as a pimp for fellow Robins member Billy Richard's wife, Helen, who ran an exclusive L. A. prostitution house. Readers will find Gardner's matter-of-fact explanation of the Coasters' founding, the firing of fellow originals Bobby Nunn and Leon Hughes, and manager Lester Sill's filing of a fictitious business statement assigning the Coasters' name to himself, equally compelling.
Carl doesn't mince words when addressing some of the individuals he's been associated with through the years, either. Of the late Cornell Gunter, who eventually left the fold and started a rival touring group, the Fabulous Coasters, in the 1960s, the author asserts that Gunter, the victim of an unsolved 1990 murder, was "one of the biggest liars who ever lived". When discussing entrepreneur Dick Clark, who regularly bypassed Gardner's original group and booked Gunter's group for cheaper money, Gardner writes "Mr. Clark is many things, and a ruthless, phony promoter is one of the many faces he wears". Particularly poignant are Gardner's introspective statements, briefly touching upon a long battle with alcohol and providing insight into the loneliness that many entertainers feel on the road and attempt to quench with liquor and drugs. At times, he's bitter. In other instances, he's remarkably astute, noting "I was a pioneer, until the Beatles changed the sound, and then they became the pioneers." Carl's bitterness resonates with the reader as he details a long and costly crusade against fake Coasters groups, culminating in lawsuits involving fellow pioneer Billy Guy and Billy Richard's nephew, who was astonishingly awarded a stake in the group's trademark and licensed the group's name to a New York promoter who booked multiple variations of non-original Coasters groups. The singer's devotion and appreciation of his wife's efforts ring through as he recounts his life in a Mount Vernon, New York apartment in the early 1980s when the Coasters would split $1,500 four ways per show, and were only averaging one gig a month. With Veta, an astute businesswoman, taking over as the group's manager, publicity increased considerably, their salary climbed into the five-figure range, and the number of live dates climbed to 15 per month.
After winning a slim chance for survival against throat cancer in 1993 and suffering a mild stroke in 2004, Gardner turned over the reigns in the Coasters to his son, Carl, Jr., in late 2005. "My mobility is not so good (and) there comes a time when you know it is time to quit," he writes. My only quibble with the finished product is in the editorial process. Some misspellings (Paul McCartney as McCarthy, Doc Pomus as Primus, and Willie Mae Thornton as Willie May Thorton) and occasional grammatical errors ("Billy song lead on Searchin'") apparently slipped through the cracks before the book went to print. That being said, Yakety Yak, I Fought Back is still a thoroughly enjoyable and easy read. I have always believed that the histories of our pioneering artists are best told through the words of the men and women behind the music themselves. Happily, Carl and Veta Gardner have taken the same approach. There's also a generous assortment of photos, including a shot of the Robins I had never seen before, as well as a wonderful montage of the Coasters on stage at the Apollo Theater in 1956. The book is available online from the publisher at www.authorhouse.com for $18.70 per copy. -- Todd Baptista
Please note that the chapter list below is from the manuscript. The book is now published (June 6, 2007) and has 24 Chapters plus Introduction features and appendixes.
- On December 12, 2007 a 4CD-set on Rhino Handmade with the Complete Atco Recordings, "The Coasters On Atco – There’s A Riot Goin’ On” (Limited Edition) was issued, featuring 113 recordings in sessionography order 1954-1966 (Rhino RHM2 7740). Compilation is produced by James Ritz with annotation by Claus Röhnisch.
- On August 28, 2007 Varèse Vintage issued the Coasters' Date/King sides (the "On Broadway" LP) – the tracks now chronological and with a new title, "Down Home" (Varèse Sarabande CD 302 066 844-2). Collection is produced by Cary E. Mansfield with annotation and liner notes by Claus Röhnisch.
January 26 – Port St Lucie Civic Center, Florida
Please note: The show featured The Coasters managed by Veta Gardner.
The Coasters are J.W. Lance, Dennis Anderson, Primo Candelara, and Eddie Whitfield.
On December 7, 2000 Veta Gardner & Claus Röhnisch started
THE COASTERS FAN CLUB
and made it possible for this web site visitors to order Coasters merchandise.
Carl Gardner, Bill Pinkney and Herb Reed on March 19, 2005.
THE TRUTH IN MUSIC
Carl Gardner's and The Coasters' story is to become a movie. Shooting will commence within the next 8-10 months
(today: November 2008) as soon as all the actors and all the people that will be in the show are recruited.
The film will be produced by Treasure Coast Films with award winning director Jose Garofalo.
NEWARK, N.J. - The
question of who is The Great Pretender and who is merely an impostor
has moved from the stage to the courtroom.
Promoters of several rock 'n' roll oldies groups charged in court Friday that the state overstepped its authority when it served subpoenas on the Atlantic City Hilton Casino last month over a series of performances by bands billing themselves as offshoots of rock 'n' roll legends the Platters, Drifters and Coasters.
The lawsuit against state Attorney General Anne Milgram is believed to be the first legal challenge to the so-called "truth in music" laws designed to prevent the unauthorized use of the names of existing groups like the Platters, who recorded "The Great Pretender" and other hits in the 1950s and '60s.
Seventeen states have passed similar laws in recent years, according to Jon "Bowzer" Bauman, former singer in the revival band "Sha Na Na" and a member of the Vocal Group Hall of Fame Foundation, which has lobbied for the legislation. New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer signed a bill into law last month.
"With these older groups there's a lot more confusion because people aren't familiar with the original members," Bauman said. "Take a group like the Platters, who sold more records than anyone until the Beatles came along. Compare them to U2 now: You can't put any four people up there 50 years from now and call them U2. People will laugh them off the stage."
In arguments on Friday before U.S. District Judge Dickinson R. Debevoise, attorney William Charron, representing plaintiffs Singer Management Consultants and Live Gold Operations, said his clients hold unregistered trademarks on the names and are legally entitled to use them, even though the groups don't feature any original members.
The three groups perform under the names The Cornell Gunter Coasters, The Elsbeary Hobbs Drifters and the Platters. Gunter was an original member of the Coasters who was shot to death in Las Vegas in 1990, according to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's Web site, and Hobbs sang with the Drifters in the late 1950s and died in 1996 of natural causes.
The groups were scheduled to play several concerts at the Hilton between Aug. 18 and Aug. 30. In late July, the state Attorney General's office served a subpoena seeking advertising and marketing materials.
The Hilton subsequently discontinued advertising and ticket sales to the shows, then reprinted tickets that billed the show as "a tribute to" the Coasters, Drifters and Platters. Charron filed a restraining order on Aug. 16, and the shows went on as scheduled.
The state contended that since the group's trademarks are unregistered, they are subject to a subsection of the law that requires them to obtain further authorization or else refer to themselves as a tribute group.
But in court Friday, Deputy Attorney General Lorraine K. Rak conceded, as did Debevoise, that an unregistered trademark can confer the same rights as a registered trademark. Rak said the state would continue its investigation into the validity of the groups' trademark claims.
Debevoise said he would reserve ruling on the lawsuit until he decides a separate case involving the use of the Drifters name.
Charron said Milgram's action could affect his clients in the future since some of the groups have shows scheduled in New Jersey later this year.
"She should be directing her attention at us, not at other people," Charron said, referring to prospective venues like the Hilton. "This is having a direct, concrete effect on our business."
Copyright © 2007, The Associated Press
THE COASTERS -
HERB REED & THE PLATTERS - THE ORIGINAL DRIFTERS
Okay, let’s just say it:
Take a stroll down memory lane as these authentic kings of nostalgia fill your
night with music from the ’50s and ’60s. You’ll hear solid-gold hits like the
Coasters’ “Poison Ivy” and “Yakety Yak,” not to mention the Drifters’ “There
Goes My Baby,” “Save the Last Dance for Me,” “Under the Boardwalk,” “This Magic
Moment,” and the Platters’ boffo hit-singles, “Only You,” “Great Pretender,” and
“Smoke Gets in Your Eyes.”
CABARET: Dinner, Dessert & Cash Bar $3–10. Doors open at 7 pm.
Regular: $37, 32, 27
UConn Student Hot Seats: $14-20 (2 per ID)
$2 discount for Senior Citizens
Center for the Performing Arts
Storrs, CT 06269
Jan 23 Naples
Jan 26 Civic Center, Port St. Lucie, Florida
Feb 15 Staten Island, St. George Theater
Apr 6 Tarry Town Music Hall, N.Y.
Apr 13 Alabama Theater, Myrtle Beach, S.C.
Apr 19 Marion Palace, Ohio
Apr 26 Union County Art Center, Rahway, N.J.
May 18 Warner Theater,Torrington, Conn.
Jun 9 Akron Civic Center, Ohio
Sep 21 Bristol. Pennsylvania
Sep 28 Alabama Theater, Myrtle Beach, S.C.
Oct 3 Perry Georgia
Oct 5 Grand Opera, Wilmington, Delaware
Oct 6 Wimberly, Texas
Oct 19 Coral Springs Center, Florida
Oct 26 Queens College,N.Y.
Nov 15 Strand Theater, Lakewood, N.J.
Dec 6 Glenside, Pennsylvania
Dec 21 Brooklyn College, Brooklyn, N.Y
Touring Schedule 2011-2012
|Baton Rouge, Louisiana December 3, 2011|
|Years Eve Arizona Dec 31, 2011|
January 28 - Lehman College, Bronx, N.Y,
|March 2 - Florida|
|March 3 - West Virginia|
|March 17 - Florida|
|March 24 - Myrtle Beach. S.C.|
|April 7 - Leland, Michigan|
|June 16 - Lancaster, Pa|
|July 20 & 21 - Liberty Opry, Liberty, Texas|
|August 12 - Washington, Pa.|
|August 25 - Detroit, Michigan|
|September 1 - Ocean Grove, N.J.|
|September 29 - Myrtle Beach, S.C.|
|October 1 - Ocean Grove, New Jersey|
October 29 to November 3 -
- Royal Caribbean Cruise (Malt Shop)
November 11 - Kissimee, Florida
January 26 – Port St Lucie Civic Center, Florida
Touring Schedule 2010
March 20th Alabama Theatre, Myrtle Beach, S.C.
March 27th Civic Center- Port St. Lucie, Florida
April 9th St. Petersburg, Florida
April 10th Nova University, Davie, Florida
April 16th Spring Hill, Florida
May 22nd Pittsburgh, Pa
June 12th Richard Nader DooWop Show Izod Center E. Rutherford, N.J.
June 27th American Music Theatre, Lancaster, PA
Sept 25th Alabama Theater, Myrtle Beach, S.C.
Nov 13th Richard Nader Doo Wop Show, Mesa, Arizona
Touring Schedule 2009
Touring schedule 2007
Touring schedule 2006
The Platters, Ben E. King, and The Coasters in circa 1993 - photo from Ravenna Miceli.
Carl Jr's group - and the late Sr's group at the Shake Rattle & Roll concerts (on May 18 and July 21, 2012 at Liberty Opry near Houston)
Sat, September 3, 2005
May 1, 2005
April 16, 2005
January 1, 2005
November 14, 2004
January 1, 2004: Touring Schedule
May 8, 2003
November 5, 2002
June 9, 2002
April 28, 2002
January 6, 2002:
The Coasters in Detroit
Gardner´s true Coasters made the Motor City together with Dennis Edwards´ Temptations and The Contours (8,000 spectators) last week. Meanwhile Larry Marshak´s bogus groups The Platters, Cornell Gunter´s Coasters and Beary Hobb´s Drifters are beeing booked for New Jersey in a couple of weeks - as you know both Cornell and Beary (The Drifters´ bass singer from late 1958) are no longer with us.
July 29, 2001:
November 25, 2000:
June 9, 2000:
May 20, 2000:
March 16, 2000:
February 24, 2000:
January 31, 2000:
Gary/Oldies Magazine - January
February 21, 2001
October 21, 2000
July 2, 2000
June 16, 2000:
May 19, 2000:
April 8, 2000:
February 21, 2000:
February 3, 2000:
February 5, 2000:
February 13, 2000:
January 18, 2000:
December 11, 1999:
From a web
presentation on arranger Jeff Barry:
Touring Schedule of
The Coasters 1956-1959
ctsy Bernd Hermoneit, Bernd Kratochwil, Karl Platten, and Manfred Günter
- Rockin´ Fiftes (German magazine, No. 83, March, 2002)
one week revue, Chicago Palace with Mickey & Sylvia, Ella Johnson with Buddy Johnson Combo.
one week at the Regal Theatre, Chicago.
one week at the Apollo Theatre, New York with Al Hibbler, and Mickey & Sylvia.
Blues Jubilee at the Los Angeles Shrine Auditorium with Fats Domino, Clyde McPhatter, The Six Teens, The Teen Queens, The Turks, and Oscar McLollie.
guests at Leroy Connely´s live show at the 54 Ballroom in Los Angeles.
the Hollywood Shrine Auditorium with Gene Vincent, Alis Lesley, The Six Teens, The Dots, Jerry Wallace, The Turks, The Gassers, and the Ernie Freeman Orchestra.
the Apollo Theatre, New York with The Cardinals, Gloria Lynne, Della Reese, and Erskine Hawkins.
the Broadway Capitol Theatre, Detroit with Faye Adams, Jack Scott, Johnny & Joe, Amos Milburn, Johnny Janis, and the Red Prysock Combo.
one week at the Howard Theatre, Washington, D.C. with Shirley & Lee, The Cleftones, Bobby Marchan, and Huey Smith.
the Apollo Theatre, New York with LaVern Baker, The Heartbeats, Johnny & Joe, Johnny Mathis, and the Red Prysock Band.
five weeks with the "Fantabulous Rock and Roll Show ´57" (touring Charlotte, North Carolina; Knoxville; Birmingham; Louisville; Chattanooga; Greenville; and Kinston, North Carolina; also Chicago) with Ruth Brown, Bo Diddley, The Five Satins, The Drifters, The Schoolboys, and Smiley Lewis:
the Municipal Auditorium, Charleston with the show above plus Bobby Parker, Johnny Hartman, The Spence Twins, and the Paul Williams Orchestra.
the Municipal Auditorium, New Orleans with the show above and Dave Bartholomew´s Orchestra.
six to ten weeks from the Midwest to California (including July 26 in Milwaukee and July 31 in Denver) with The Five Satins, The Cellos, Gene & Eunice, Lulu Reed, and the Sonny Thompson Orchestra.
TV appearance at the Steve Allen TV-show ("Searchin´").
the Mammoth Gardens, Denver, Colorado with The Five Satins, and The Cellos.
travelling Revue in Oklahoma City with Lowell Fulson, Lillian Offitt, The Cadillacs, Johnny "Guitar" Watson, and the Ernie Freeman Combo.
one week at the Howard Theatre in Washington, D.C. with The Hollywood Flames, and the Ernie Freeman Combo.
the Apollo Theatre, New York with Fats Domino, the Flamingos, the Spaniels, the Dells, and dj Tommy Smalls.
the Apollo Theatre, New York with Frankie Lymon, Lee Andrews & The Hearts, Robert & Johnny, Jerry Butler & The Impressions, The Kodaks, Ed Townsend, and The Storey Sisters.
the Armory in Klamatch Falls, Oregon with Ernie Freeman and his orchestra.
TV appearance on the American Bandstand ("Yakety Yak").
TV appearance at the Dick Clárk Show with Frankie Avalon, Patrick Wayne, and Mary Swan.
the Apollo Theatre with The Spaniels, The Danleers, The Olympics, Bobby Hendricks, The Quintones, and Sil Austin´s Combo.
the Howard Theatre, Washington, D.C. with The Danleers, The Dubs, and Wynona Carr.
17-days tour with "The Biggest Show of Stars for 1958 - Autumn Edition" (Massachusetts, Connecticut, Quebec, Ontario, Ohio, Indiana. Pennsylvania, New York, and Virginia) with Frankie Avalon, Bobby Darin, The Olympics, Dion & The Belmonts, Bobby Freeman, The Elegants, Jimmy Clanton, The Danleers, Clyde McPhatter, Buddy Holly & The Crickets, Jack Scott, and the Sil Austin Orchestra:
October 25 & November 4:
Fantabulous show at Memorial Auditorium in Sacramento, Calif with Sugar Pie and Pee Wee plus Johnny Fuller.
the Howard Theatre, Washington, D.C. with The Chantels, and Buddy and Ella Johnson.
The Dick Clark TV Show with Dale Hawkins, Paul Anka, and Jaye P. Morgan.
one week at the Howard Theatre, Washington, D.C. with Clyde McPhatter, and Nina Simone.
five days tour with "The Biggest Stars of ´59" (Richmond, Charlotte, Norfolk) with Lloyd Price, Clyde McPhatter, The Chantels, The Crests, Bo Diddley, LaVern Baker, Frankie Lymon, Wade Flemons, Bobby Hendricks, and Little Anthony & The Imperials.
the Auditorium at Klamath Falls, Oregon with Ernie Freeman and his orchestra.
one week at the Apollo Theatre, New York with The Falcons.
one week at the Howard Theatre, Washington, D.C. with Milt Buckner, Tiny Topsy, and the Jesse Powell Combo.
four days at the Michigan State Fair, Detroit with Frankie Avalon, LaVern Baker, Billy & Lillie, Jack Scott, Anita Bryant, Freddie Cannon, Bobby Rydell, Rusty York, Skip & Flip, Jan & Dean, Santo & Johnny, Duane Eddy, and Dick Clark.
44 one-nights up to October 31 with the "Dick Clark Caravan" (including Syracuse, Montreal, Toronto, Rochester, Richmond, and Norfolk) with Paul Anka, Duane Eddy, Lloyd Price, LaVern Baker, Annette, The Skyliners, Bobby Rydell; and the first week also The Drifters, and Phil Phillips.
TV appearance on "American Bandstand" ("What About Us").
Multiple / Bogus Coasters
ORLANDO BUSINESS JOURNAL
.. and the tuff story continued - here´s a court decision vs. vs. Dick Clark.
A court battle over modern-day rights to the names of two 1950s doo-wop groups -- The Platters and The Coasters -- has now sparked an appeal that could have far-reaching effects in civil rights litigation. In Singer Management Consultants Inc. v. Milgram, the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has granted en banc rehearing before a 16-judge court to decide on the proper test for determining when a plaintiff is entitled to attorney fees as the "prevailing party." The vote to rehear the case en banc was a swift one, and it vacates an Aug. 5 decision that said plaintiffs may be entitled to fees even when a case is declared moot if the presiding judge played a role in persuading government officials to change their legal positions.
A dissenting judge, however, said he believes that a plaintiff never enjoys the status of prevailing party unless he emerges from court with an enforceable order. Apparently that dissenting view has now swayed a majority of the court's judges to vote for rehearing. The underlying court battle started when New Jersey officials threatened to take action against a music promoter who was selling tickets for an August 2007 concert series in Atlantic City featuring The Platters (best known for "Only You" and "The Great Pretender") and The Coasters (whose greatest hit was "Yakety Yak"). The officials warned that New Jersey's Truth in Music Act prohibits advertising such concerts without identifying it as a "tribute" or "salute." But Live Gold Operations Inc. insisted that it had every right to advertise the two musical groups however it saw fit because it was the rightful owner of the trademarks for both names.
At an emergency injunction hearing, U.S. District Judge Dickinson Debevoise of the District of New Jersey sided with the promoter and issued a TRO that enjoined the state from "interfering in any way" with the concert. The case was poised to proceed to further injunction hearings, and it seemed at first that the state would be defending its right to enforce the law. In its brief, the state argued that an unregistered trademark satisfied the Truth in Music Act only if the performing group obtained express authorization from an original group member, or included an original member. When Debevoise made clear that he was rejecting the state's arguments, the state capitulated, effectively adopting Live Gold's interpretation of the law. Live Gold's lawyer said in the hearing that the state had made "a 180-degree shift in position." Debevoise agreed and declared that the state would now be "bound" by its newly announced interpretation of the law.
But when Live Gold's lawyers petitioned for attorney fees, Debevoise refused, saying the state's decision to concede the case had left the plaintiff without a judgment in its favor and therefore unable to claim the status of "prevailing party." On appeal, Live Gold won a ruling on Aug. 5 that said it should be entitled to fees when the 3rd Circuit, by a 2-1 vote, declared that Debevoise was too strict in his reading of the U.S. Supreme Court's 2001 decision in Buckhannon Board and Care Home v. West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources. In Buckhannon, the justices declared that a "voluntary change in conduct" lacks the necessary judicial imprimatur, and that a plaintiff does not become a prevailing party solely because his lawsuit causes a voluntary change in the defendant's conduct. Writing for the majority, Senior Judge Jane R. Roth concluded that Buckhannon did not control because New Jersey did not concede its position until Debevoise made clear that he was poised to rule in Live Gold's favor. "As a practical matter, the state's unilateral actions mooted Live Gold's claims just when it appeared that the District Court would enter an order in Live Gold's favor," Roth wrote in an opinion joined by Senior Judge Ruggero J. Aldisert. But in a lengthy dissent, Judge Thomas L. Ambro said he believed his colleagues were wrong to ignore the clear mandate of Buckhannon. "Because no enforceable judgment on the merits was issued in this case, and the state's actions that mooted the case were voluntary, I believe Buckhannon tells us that Live Gold was not a prevailing party," Ambro wrote. Live Gold is represented in the appeal by attorney William L. Charron of Pryor Cashman in New York. Assistant Attorney General Jeffrey Koziar argued the appeal for the state.
Charron could not be reached for comment. Koziar declined to comment on the court's vote.
CARL GARDNER´S DILEMMA !
Bobby Sheen with a Coasters group in 1992 - fr l:
Tony Ruiz, Billy Foster, Randy Jones, and Bobby Sheen.
Billy Richards´ Coasters
FAKE & BOGUS
| Billed as:
The Coasters, Mark II
The (West) Coasters
Billy Richards´ Coasters
´80s, ´90s, 2000+
Grady Chapman´s Coasters
or The Fabulous Coasters
´80s, ´90s, 2000+
featuring Bobby Hendricks
and Tommy Evans
- fronted by Billy Richards after
Nunn´s death and still operating
Guested by several original Coasters.
Bobby Sheen also led the group
with Grady Chapman out (Grady is still
active using "The Robins" name)
Randy Jones led a group in the ´90s.
The Fabulous Coasters
Cornell Gunter´s Coasters,
´80s, ´90s and 2000+
Cornell Gunter's Coasters
featuring Edwin Cook
The Original Cornell Gunter's Coasters
(Edwin Cook and Charlie Duncan
touring after Gunter´s
death; today two groups;
(note: not the bogus Marshak group)
click this for more
Today and Today
Billy Guy & The Coasters
Billy Guy´s Coasters
(Guy coach and cameo ´90s with the
Larry Marshak bogus Coasters)
World Famous Coasters
´80s, early ´90s
Will Jones & Leon Hughes
and later Will Jones & Billy Guy
The "Original" Coasters
Leon Hughes - one of the
original Coasters ´90s plus
|Leon Hughes check here|
´70s, ´80s, ´90s
Cornell Gunter´s Coasters or:
The Cornell Gunter Coasters
no-one - several bogus lineups
(promoted by Larry Marshak,
not including any ex.member,
Cornell Gunter´s Coasters "authorized"
by Gunter´s sister Shirley);
check here here too
(often referred to as being transformed
into the Coasters, only presented as
"The Robins" - but including Coasters
recordings in presentations; or vice
above charts compiled by
Larry Marshak originally managed Billy Richards´ Coasters, and when Richards cancelled that contract, Billy Guy sold his name to Marshak - when Guy settled his differences with Gardner, Shirley Gunter sold the Cornell Gunter Coasters name to Marshak. There were more acts using The Coasters´ name:
Carl Gardner, Jr
A Tribute group - The Coasters Review featuring Carl Gardner, Jr. was active in California during 2002 - 2004.
Late 2004 Jr returned to Sr's real Coasters group, and took over his father's role as lead on November 5, 2005.
THE REAL COASTERS
"Truth in Musical Advertising Bill"
Under the law (nowadays past in several States in U.S), a band can use an original act's name only if it includes at least one member of the group that released a recording under that name; the performers own the rights to the name; or the performers have permission from the group to use the name. Otherwise, the group would have to advertise itself as a tribute or salute.
The Coasters at
the Eldorado Hotel
- Millennium Swing
Welcome to the Coasters of the 21st Century
courtesy of Billy Guy; founding member, Rock and Roll icon,creative force behind these
Rock and Roll legends, as well as the comedy inspiration that made the group the
"Clown Princes of Rock and Roll," and the first group inducted into the Rock and
Roll Hall of Fame. And today, more than forty years after the Coasters stormed the pop and
R 'n' B charts with their first million seller, "Searchin'," it is still Billy
Guy's touch that makes the Coaster's show a "Nostalgic treat for the senses,"
"A rock and roll comedy riot," and "As exciting in the nineties as it was
in the fifties," to quote three recent reviews. Billy Guy still inspires their team
of comedy writers, oversees their choreography and of course, blends their unique vocal
arrangements, not to mention occasional cameo appearances that still bring down the house.
|Posted at 03:31 a.m. PST;
Tuesday, March 23, 1999 '50s rockers fight against imposters
by Katherine Rizzo
Associated Press writer
WASHINGTON - Yes, indeed, rock 'n' roll is here to stay. And in some cases, it's not only lasted, it's multiplied, with several sets of Platters, Drifters and other '50s favorites performing at the same time in different cities. Carl Gardner, an original member of The Coasters, has been irritated by what he considers impostors for more than 20 years. Now he's one of about a dozen golden-oldie performers who've asked Congress to protect them from competitors using the same names and singing the same songs. "These guys are making like they're the real Coasters. They're in their 20s and 30s and I'm 70 years old," said Gardner. "This trademark law must be changed." "We are all affected by bogus groups because there is only a finite amount of work for people from our time period," said Peggy Davison, who sang the lead on the Angels' hit "My Boyfriend's Back." "We are national treasures," added Mary Wilson, who along with Davison, Gardner, two Drifters, one Shirelle, one Letterman and other rock originals performed at a Capitol Hill news conference last week. "We need to have that respect." Wilson was one of Motown's original Supremes, along with Diana Ross and the late Florence Ballard.
Reps. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio, and Charles Norwood, R-Ga., were introducing legislation that would help old chart-toppers defend their crowns. If they sue for damages under trademark law and win, the law would allow higher damages. "You have to pay a $50,000 bond just to start a court case, in case you lose. That's a lot of money," said Gardner. "I'm working, but sporadically. These other guys, they don't even charge the kind of money I charge. If I charge $10,000 a night they'll charge $2,000 a night." The groups that climbed the Top 40 in the 1950s and 1960s often had rosters that changed through the years. Sometimes, later-year replacements took the material on the road with their own groups, even though some members of the core group were still performing. Other times, dispute over the ownership of the group's name made it possible for entire new bands to be hired to re-create the music without any direct link to the original group.
Larry Marshak of RCI Corp. in New
York, who packages East Coast and West Coast versions of the Platters, Drifters and
Coasters, said he has valid, legal rights to those names, and does nothing deceptive with
his troupes of young singers performing old hits. "We make no illusions to be
otherwise than what they are. Nobody expects to see the original members when they see
us," he said. Kucinich, who takes seriously his home town's role as host of the Rock
and Roll Hall of Fame, said he was pushing for a change in a 1947 trademark law because
both artists and consumers need protection. "The knockoff groups should not be
permitted to pass themselves off as the real thing," the Cleveland congressman said.
Las Vegas SUN - June 15, 1999
In a makeshift showroom in the Sahara hotel-casino, a couple
hundred baby boomers are thrilling to the sounds of yesteryear. The band -- four men
snazzily attired in black pants and white jackets, and billed as "Billy Guy's Coasters" -- launches into hit after hit, from
"Love Potion No. 9" to "Yakety Yak," earning a standing ovation. Near
the end of the set, the lead singer finally introduces himself and his fellow band
members. But where is Billy Guy? It seems the billed member
of the original Coasters is nowhere in the bunch. How strange. Next up on the evening's
triple bill: The Platters. A keen eye will note that there isn't a gray hair in the bunch,
and that lead singer Curtis Michael probably wasn't even alive in 1956, the time the group
was scoring hits such as "The Magic Touch" and "The Great Pretender."
Ah, well. Last, but not least, the emcee introduces The "Mighty, Mighty"
Drifters. As singer Rick Shepherd launches into one of the band's biggest numbers --
"Under the Boardwalk" -- he confides to the crowd, "As the Drifters, we
went on to have hit after hit." There's only one problem: The "we" he
refers to are not the three other singers on the stage with him. Shepherd is, in fact, the
only singer on the Sahara stage who can legitimately claim to have performed as an
original artist in the headlined acts. Consumers beware: Oldies revival acts frequenting
Las Vegas showrooms may not be what -- or who -- you think they are. These so-called
"imposter" acts are actually put together by savvy booking agents who have come
to control the band's trademark name. Often they don't include any of the artists who made
the songs memorable. This infuriates the remaining original artists who are starting to
fight back, saying these imitation groups hurt their careers by charging much less to
perform and devaluing their market worth. Even worse, they gripe, the imposters often do a
lousy imitation, costing them fans and future bookings to boot. Others in the industry say
that the fight is more one of sour grapes: "The guy who
was smart enough to own the name is being harassed because he had the money and guys to
put it together," observes one local promoter, who prefered to go unnamed. "I
think he's going to win."
Sunday, September 3, 2000 - Eagle Tribune
Who is really playing that rock n´ roll music?
By Will Courtney
As a consumer, Maxine Porter says if she buys a can of Coke, there shouldn't be 7-Up inside. Likewise, she says when you buy a ticket to see The Drifters, you should get to see the last surviving Drifter. However, Mrs. Porter isn't just a consumer, she's the business manager for 75-year-old Bill Pinkney, who was with the original band from the start. Mr. Pinkney is on his 47th Anniversary Tour with three others as Bill Pinkney's Original Drifters, a trademarked name that he owns. The trademark for The Drifters is owned by U.S. Federal Court while litigation over its true ownership continues. In the meantime, a band going by the name The Drifters played the Feast of Three Saints in Lawrence Friday night, and in all likelihood, other bands called The Drifters drew crowds in a handful of venues across the country, many of them with members younger than the songs they were singing. The Platters did not play Lawrence Friday night as scheduled because Herb Reed, an original Platter, was awarded the trademark to the name on Aug. 8 and enforced his right to it in Federal District court. So The Platters imposters were replaced by The Coasters imposters, because the owner of The Coasters trademark, original member Carl Gardner, was powerless to do anything about it. For the surviving members of classic '50s doo-wop bands such as these, their senior years have been spent battling for the right to make money off a name they brought to fame. They spend as much time in court and with lawyers as they do on stage. Mr. Reed won a small battle, but the imposters are winning the war. "The sad thing about our justice system, as wonderful and effective as it is, is that the wheels grind so slowly," Mrs. Porter said. "The perpetrators are making a fortune while the original artists are waiting for a decision." Mr. Reed still tours, and in fact, Topsfield Fair publicity indicates Herb Reed and the Platters will be playing the fair Oct. 8 and 9 this year. He was able to fight his battle on the front lines, because he lives in Arlington. Reached at his home in Florida, Mr. Gardner, the last performing member of The Coasters, was incensed to hear that a knock-off of The Coasters was taking the place of the imposter Platters. He could fight it or sue, but that would mean hiring a Massachusetts lawyer that would take the case and get it into a Commonwealth court. "I'm trying not to let it stress me out," said Mr. Gardner, getting more and more frustrated as he spoke. "But right now, I'm getting a little stressed out about it. They're making money off of my fame. I started The Coasters in 1955 and I want it to continue." To put a stop to all the imposters, Mr. Gardner would need to pursue litigation across the country and Canada, too. "I'm 72. I can't sue for the rest of my life just to get all the money I have coming," Mr. Gardner said. The Gardners have been in court fighting for The Coasters name for 10 years, they estimate. They recently sued Larry Marshak, a promoter of imposter bands who has become the true oldies bands' worst nightmare. Over the last decade, Mr. Marshak has reportedly made millions promoting knock-off versions of the Coasters, Platters and Drifters. He swooped in and grabbed The Drifters trademark when the group stopped touring in 1976, but Faye Treadwell, the wife of the band's original manager, won the name back in Federal District Court. Mr. Marshak has appealed, so the court holds the trademark.
In a 1997 television interview with ABC's PrimeTime Live, Mr. Marshak told Diane Sawyer that on any given night, he might have three different Coasters bands playing in different venues. "The Coasters are no longer a show where individuals matter," Mr. Marshak said in the interview. "The only thing that matters about the individuals is that they are top quality." He told the Associated Press in 1999 that there was no deception going on, even though he often billed The Coasters as being members of the Rock N' Roll Hall of Fame. The Hall of Fame said they inducted only the four original members, including Mr. Gardner. Mr. Gardner won a judgement for $190,000 from Mr. Marshak in February, of which he says he's seen only $75,000. In February, 2001, the Gardners are scheduled to be in court with the legendary Dick Clark, who according to the couple, introduced imposter Coasters as "the legendary Coasters" on more than one occasion. "He knows me like he knows his son," Mr. Gardner said. But Mr. Gardner alleges that on at least three different occasions, including once on national TV, Mr. Clark introduced "phony" Coasters as the real thing. The Gardners, along with former members of The Supremes, The Shirelles, The Crystals, The Chantelles, The Platters, Danny and the Juniors, and The Drifters have formed the Truth in Rock Foundation which is trying to get the federal government to step in. Before his death, California Congressman Sonny Bono was working to get a Truth in Rock bill passed into Congress. The official Danny and the Juniors played the Festival of Three Saints on Friday, though "Danny" is no longer living. Joe Terry, an original member, owns the trademark and still tours with the group. He has also been in fights with groups which perform under the same name. "Even though we own it, there are still some problems with groups that come out because of the way the laws are structured," he said. He said the copyright laws don't do a good job protecting bands who own trademarks.
The Gardners said the people who can best fight against imposter bands is the paying public. "Is the American public so stupid that they can't see that there's a difference in age group of the guys and that they're not The Coasters?" Mr. Gardner said. "Carl Gardner, the original Coaster, is very alive and well, and still performs today. I wish that my fans would think about that for a moment when they go see a former group. Think about how these guys have given so much. We're depending on the fans to help us." In Lawrence Friday night, opinions were mixed. Some didn't realize they weren't seeing the real thing, others didn't care. Most had no idea that the original bands didn't get a piece of the pie. "I would think they'd have to pay royalties," said Larry Smith of Hampstead, N.H., who watched The Drifters on Friday but was disappointed The Platters, or their impersonators, weren't playing. As Mrs. Porter said, it's about consumers caring what they are paying for. "I have a right not to be deceived, not to have anything misrepresented to me," she said. "There are people out there singing songs, saying, 'This is one of our greatest hits,' and the person making the statement isn't as old as the record."
Mail from Scott Schinder April 9, 2006
Hello Claus, I very much enjoyed your Coasters website, particularly the information regarding fake Coasters groups.
Several pics of what I assume to be the East Coast version of Larry Marshak's fake "Cornell Gunter's Coasters," who performed at a free outdoor show (sponsored by the NYC retailer J&R Music) last August at City Hall Park in Manhattan. Also on the bill were Marshak's bogus Drifters and (the real) Percy Sledge. The only group member I can identify is lead singer Dave Revels, who apparently has performed with the Marshak Coasters for several years. Coincidentally, a few days after this performance, the Las Vegas-based versions of Marshak's fake Coasters and Drifters (different guys wearing suits identical to those of the groups on the City Hall Park bill) performed on Jerry Lewis' Muscular Dystrophy Telethon. A few hours later, Lewis introduced yet ANOTHER Drifters group, performing in New York... best, Scott.
Thanks Scott - and you are right these are the East coast Marshak bogus Coasters.
The group is starting its crusade in Pennsylvania, where lawmakers are poised to authorize fines and injunctions to prevent performances by imposter bands that advertise false, deceptive or misleading affiliations with a recording group. "There's a two-fold problem. One is the identity theft of the artist and the second is consumer fraud, misleading the public. Those are serious issues," said Nate Silcox, legislative director for Sen. Robert Robbins, R-Mercer, sponsor of the bill. The truth-in-music legislation, which already was passed in the state Senate, yesterday received unanimous approval from the state House Committee on Tourism and Recreational Development. It now heads to the House floor.
North Dakota and South Carolina have similar laws already, but those don't protect trademark holders enough or provide high enough fines for violators, said Jon Bauman, who is better known as Bowzer, the former leader of the rock 'n' roll group Sha Na Na. Mr. Bauman is a member of the Truth in Music Committee of the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in Sharon, Mercer County. Pennsylvania's legislation could become a model for the rest of the country, say Mr. Bauman and other musicians behind the legislation. They intend to press for similar legislation in at least 10 other states. "Pennsylvania is a key state to start in. It's always been a real strong oldies state," said Joe Terry, a founding member of Danny and the Juniors, which originated in Philadelphia in 1956. "Pennsylvania cares about nostalgia music and that's a good reason to start this there and kick it off there."
The legislation would prevent groups from using trademarks they don't own -- unless at least one member of the group was a member of the original recording group and is legally entitled to the name. The legislation also allows for tribute bands if concert advertising does not mislead. The legislation would allow Pennsylvania Attorney General Tom Corbett to stop performances and to impose fines of $5,000 to $15,000. Bill Pinkney, the only surviving member of The Drifters, said the fines should be even higher. "People are going around calling themselves The Drifters, The Platters and The Coasters when it's not the truth. It's not fair to the ones who paved the road, the ones who laid the foundation and made it possible for these young up-and-coming groups," Mr. Pinkney said from his home in South Carolina. At 80, he is still performing. He heads to Connecticut this weekend for a doo-wop show Sunday at Mohegan Sun casino. Another group, billing itself as Beary Hobb's Drifters, is slated to perform the same night across the country at the Sahara Hotel in Las Vegas. They aren't The Drifters, Mr. Pinkney assures. "I don't think that's fair. It's not fair to the artists and it's not fair to the public. The public is being misled," he said.
That's one reason Veta Gardner, wife of Coasters original Carl Gardner, is eager to see the Pennsylvania bill pass. "The name 'The Coasters' is a legacy that belongs to the people who created the music," Mrs. Gardner said. "I would like to secure the legacy of my husband. He has given 50 years of hardship and it wasn't easy." The Coasters were making music before the civil rights movement took hold and when racism was rampant. "They could work in the fancy hotels, but they couldn't sleep in the hotels. They couldn't go in restaurants to eat, so the bus driver would buy crackers and cheese for them to eat on the bus or the managers, who were white, would go get them hamburgers," Mrs. Gardner said. "Why should they have to fight for their trademarks now?" she asked. "Why should people be making money off their talents after all that?" The sentiment is that when people pay good money to hear "Yakety Yak," Carl Gardner ought to be the one yakking. Instead, imposter Coasters take the stage -- probably 10 times a night in different parts of the country -- said Bob Crosby, president of the Vocal Group Hall of Fame. "They stand on stage and say things like, 'When we recorded these songs,' and 'When we won our Grammys.' They completely fool the public into thinking they're the real groups and then the real guys can't get any work because the fakes are so well promoted," Mr. Crosby said.
What's worse, said Mr. Bauman, is that imposters are basking in applause meant to recognize aging musicians' longevity, song-writing and legacies.
Truth In Music (read this interesting article).
May 22, 2008, 9:25 AM PDT
When you drive into Las Vegas, it's hard to miss the billboard for the big show at the Sahara Hotel. Advertised as a chance to "experience rock and roll history," the show features the Platters, the Marvelettes and Cornell Gunter's Coasters. The hits put out by the groups on the bill include "Please Mr. Postman" and "The Great Pretender." Now, critics say the show itself is a pretender – putting out people who had nothing to do with the original acts and passing them off as the real thing. When KTLA called the ticket office to inquire about the show, we were twice told that each group on the ticket included at least one original member of the group.
In person, a lady at the ticket office told us that all of the Marvelettes were originals and that one of the Platters had been with the group for 38 years. That claim was repeated on stage later that evening at the show. Last week, we took Sonny Turner and Charlie Duncan to the show with us to find out if any of those claims were true. From 1959 to 1970, Sonny Turner was the lead singer on a number of the Platters hits. For more than a quarter of a century, Charlie Duncan performed with Cornell Gunter in Cornell Gunter's Coasters – a spin-off of the original Coasters. Charlie and Sonny recognized nobody on stage as having anything to do with their groups. As for the Marvelettes, none of that group's singers even looked old enough to be alive when "Please Mr. Postman" topped the charts in 1961.
When Sonny confronted the "38 year" Platter after the show, story-line changed. In Sonny's presence, the performer 'he' had never claimed to be a member of the Platters, but instead claimed he had only worked for a former member of the group. The day after the show, we stopped by the Sahara to try to get an explanation. When Andrea Sun, a hotel spokesperson, came down to talk to us, she repeated the claim that each group contained at least one original member and said the hotel was unaware of any dispute over that statement.
However, she later said she couldn't make any more comments after learning that the hotel was facing litigation over a previous act that was once part of the same show. The hotel referred us to the show's promoter, National Artists, Inc. for further comment. Sun said National Concerts, Inc. is responsible for booking the acts in the show. National Artists' Bill Caron admitted to us that none of the performers we saw on stage were part of the original recording groups. Caron said that nobody should have ever made claims otherwise, but he defended the authenticity of the show by claiming that the promoters of the show owned the trademarks to the groups' names, and therefore had the right to put up any group of people it wanted to on stage. People connected to the original groups challenge the trademark claims made by the promoter. Such claims have been part of a lot of much litigation, and more is likely in the near future. There's also been requests made that the Nevada Attorney General step in and apply a recently passed "Truth in Music" law, that some feel gives the state the authority to step in and try to have the show shut down.
Copyright © 2008, KTLA
From the Corsicana Daily Sun, Texas newspaper.
Published: July 10, 2007
Motown act not all smooth sailing
New Texas law could shut down similar concerts around state
By Janet Jacobs
The music, not the original performers, is the star of the ‘50s music concert scheduled for September at the Palace Theater. However, while the music may hearken back to a happier time, it’s not without controversy. The rights to perform under those legendary groups’ names is being contested by various heirs and other performers. It’s not as clear-cut as it would be with the Beatles, for example, which had few members and ownership of the music. In the early ‘50s, bands were often created by record companies and provided with the line-up, music, look and managers to make them successful. Singers were considered interchangeable, and could be fired or replaced at whim. “The sad part is that most of those groups that were pre-television were recording groups prior to the civil rights movement, and very little consideration was given to the groups,” said Bob Crosby, president and CEO of the Vocal Music Hall of Fame Foundation. “When they signed contracts, they signed their names away and any chance for royalties in the future.
“How many times have you heard ‘Under the Boardwalk’ ‘Yakety Yak’ and ‘Charlie Brown?’ Those artists never received a dime from those. The record companies made money.” When movies like “American Graffiti” and “Grease” helped create new interest in ‘50s music, dozens of groups formed under the Platters, Drifters, Marvelettes and other famous names, according to The Coasters Web site, compiled by Claus Rohnisch. Lawsuits and appeals spent years working their way through the courts, often resulting in decisions that allowed original members to “brand” their own groups and continue performing, according to articles in the Detroit Free Press and Los Angeles Times. Thus, the groups performing at the Palace are very specifically Cornell Gunter's Coasters, Elsbeary Hobbs' Drifters, and The Platters. And although Gunter and Hobbs are dead, their rights were obtained from family members, according to Leah Blackard with the Palace Theater in Corsicana.
“Most of these groups it’s just been so many years. There are going to be deaths and retirements, especially with Motown. You see it under Motown more than anything else,” she said. The groups set to perform in Corsicana have already won fans around Texas, in Grapevine, Austin and other venues, which is why the Palace booked them, Blackard said. “The audiences loved them, and we’ve heard nothing but rave reviews,” she said. Not included in that camp of fans are other members or heirs of the groups, who claim exclusive rights to the names. Specifically, Carl Gardner Jr., whose father, Carl Gardner, was a member of the Coasters and who claims to hold trademark on the Coasters name, and Herb Reed of Herb Reed and the Platters, who claims to be the only living Platter left performing. Bill Pinkney, the last member of the 1953 Drifters, claimed to have the rights for that group’s name. He died last week in Florida.
Still, with so many of the performers, and their heirs out there, one solution being proposed is to tighten up the laws on advertising. The law supported by the Vocal Music Hall of Fame limits a group’s rights to perform under that name to original, living members, or those who hold the trademark. A Texas version of the law, HB 54, passed the Texas Legislature this past spring, and was signed by Gov. Rick Perry. The law takes effect Sept. 1, 2007. The Corsicana concert takes place Sept. 15.
“The value of the law is that now it can be enforced by the attorney general’s office, which can insist on the show being shut down because they’re in fact breaking a consumer law, fooling the public into believing its legendary artists when it’s not,” Crosby said. However, enforcement of the law is still in its infancy, even in states which have had the law awhile, Crosby said. It’s unclear how long it will take Texans to begin to enforce the new law, or if it would affect the Corsicana concert. Blackard said she isn’t worried about the Corsicana show because the ads have been clear about Cornell Gunter's Coasters and Elsbeary Hobbs' Drifters, rather than just billing them as the Coasters, Drifters and Platters. “It’ll be interesting to see what changes happen,” Blackard said. “You hate it because these Motown groups are so good. They put on a fabulous show.”
Myles Save and the Stars from ......
MEMBER OF THE COASTERS MAKING A "REAL-LIFE" COMEBACK AFTER EXPERIENCING AN ANEURYSM TWO YEARS AGO
..... (Billy) Richards (Jr.) began his professional singing career
at age 17 when he started performing with the rock and roll group, The Robins, created by
his uncles, Roy and William Richards, and also featuring Carl Gardner and Bobby Nunn.
Gardner and Nunn left to form the Coasters. Nunn eventually moved to the West Coast,
recruited Richards as the lead singer and formed his own Coasters group. For more than two
decades, the aggregation toured the world and helped keep appreciation for '50s music
alive. After Nunn died, Richards became owner and manager of the group, renaming it Billy
A mainstay of my childhood record player, the Coasters' Greatest Hits album documents one of the hippiest and certainly one of the most hilarious pop groups ever. I recently found this UK reissue of the album on CD, including the original ten tracks from the LP and adding 14 bonus tracks not originally included, and it's a serious hoot. The Coasters were probably best known for "Yakety Yak" ("Don't talk back!") and "Charlie Brown" ("He's a clown"), both staples of "Wacky Classics" type compilations and countless episodes of "Happy Days." That said, it's likely that this disc may not appeal to everyone, but my gol-dang, what a different and better world it would be if every idiot Blur fan on the planet would start listening to the Coasters instead. Sorry if I like my music to be good, Blur fans.There's a couple other Coasters anthologies to choose from (Rhino put out a comprehensive 2-disc set awhile back), but for my money you can't beat this one, even though it doesn't include certain songs ("Smokey Joe's Café" and "Down in Mexico" are not present, for example, but those are far from my favorites). It's just a great collection, programmed with lots of love and representing easily the Coaster's coolest sides. For those not aware of the group, they were the primary proponents of the songs of Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, who specialized in great 50's pop, but really shined on hilarious productions that hinged on clever vocal interplay and especially baritone vocal hooks (i.e. "Don't talk back!"). The liner notes point out that everyone involved would be pretty much rolling on the floor in laughter while recording these songs, and it's not hard to see why. They're not funny in the way, say, an Adam Sandler album is (fewer dick jokes, for one thing), but the over-the-top crazy voices and inflections put across by the group are truly something to marvel at. But the result does not become outright comedy or even simple novelty, because they pull off the harmonies with real power. What emerges is a group that knows how to laugh, but doesn't need to preen. The DEF favorites on Greatest Hits are "Along Came Jones" (truly one of the funniest songs ever, makes me laugh pretty much every time), "I'm a Hog For You Baby" (extremely cool, especially for the line "One little piggie ate a pizza, one piggie ate potato chips" ---blatantly aiming at the teen market without being exploitative) and "That is Rock And Roll" (featuring Jerry Leiber himself singing on the bridge because no one else in the group could get it right). The great thing about these tracks is that they're fun but not half-assed---the bands are full of great players (King Curtis plays sax on almost all the tracks; Milt Hinton makes an appearance; Phil Spector (!) is on guitar on one track), and the arrangements are hugely inventive. A few of the tracks even have a rhythm banjo player, but totally mixed in with the band so you hardly even notice why it sounds so unique. The guitars (most notable tracks featuring George Barnes) are very inventive, and the drums throughout are amazing (check out the cover of Louis Jordan's "Saturday Night Fish Fry" for some of the best fills you've ever heard). At twenty-four tracks, this is a whole lot of coastin', but every track is utterly solid. I'm torn between giving it six or seven l'il puppies, but I feel that to most people, a little of the Coasters sound goes a long way, like Spike Jones or black cherry soda --- very cool, but best in smaller doses. But regardless of the arbitrary rating, this is highly recommended --- sh*t man, it was good enough for the Beatles! Wait, but so was Carl Perkins, scratch that.
Loud Bassoun, 1999.
- from Loud Bassoun, www.polyholiday.com web site.
|THE COASTERS GREATEST HITS
Sequel CD with bonus tracks.
Poison Ivy (edited)
Along Came Jones
The Shadow Knows (unissued stereo master)
I´m A Hog For You Baby
Charlie Brown (unissued stereo master)
Yakety Yak (unissued stereo master)
Zing! Went The Strings Of My Heart
(unissued stereo master)
That Is Rock And Roll
She´s A Yum Yum
Saturday Night Fish Fry
What About Us
Run Red Run
Keep On Rollin´
Three Cool Cats (unissued stereo master)
Bad Blood (alternate)
Girls Girls Girls Pt 1 (alternate)
Sorry But I´m Gonna Have To Pass
(unissued stereo master)
Besame Mucho Pts 1 & 2 (two tracks)
Shoppin´ For Clothes
as told at roughguides.com
THE ROUGH GUIDE TO ROCK
Formed Los Angeles, 1955;
ended in the late 60s, though 'Coasters'
The received wisdom has it
that rock'n'roll was dying on its feet during the period between Buddy Holly's death and
The Beatles' invasion of the USA. However, the music that came out during this time - the
first rumblings of Berry Gordy and Motown, the infectious New Orleans rhythms of The
Showmen and Huey 'Piano' Smith, and especially the comedy of The Coasters - was perhaps
more joyous and more intensely rhythmic than anything by Elvis, Chuck Berry or Buddy
Holly. The neglect of this music is perhaps down to subconscious racism, but probably has
more to do with the fact that this music was producer's music par excellence, lacking an
even remotely iconic presence. Nowhere is this more apparent than with the remarkable
Coasters. The Coasters evolved out of The Robins, a Los Angeles-based R&B vocal group
who recorded for Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller's Spark records. The Robins had several
regional hits in California, most notably "Riot In Cell Block #9" (sung by
future "Louie, Louie" composer Richard Berry) and "Smokey Joe's Cafe".
Impressed by the songwriting talents of Leiber and Stoller, who not only wrote The Robins'
hits, but the R&B staples "Hound Dog" and "Kansas City" as well,
Atlantic offered the duo an indepenent production deal. Carl Gardner (vocals) and Bobby
Nunn (vocals) from The Robins decided to join Leiber and Stoller and recruited vocalists
Billy Guy and Leon Hughes to become The Coasters. Their first single, "Down In
Mexico" (1956), contained almost all of the elements that would characterize their
style: novel rhythms, a prominent, honking sax, and a lyric that told a comically
mysterious story in an exotic setting. After a few lacklustre singles, The Coasters hit
their stride with "Searchin'" (1957). Leiber and Stoller's lyric brilliantly
combined a detective story with poetic boasting, but it was the music that pushed the song
into the American Top 3. The feel was reminiscent of Fats Domino with a slightly less
funky New Orleans rhythm and drunken piano, played by Stoller himself. Although Leiber and
Stoller are now recognized as one of the greatest songwriting partnerships in pop history,
it was their instinctive musical and rhythmic feel that was reponsible for their success.
The flip side, "Young Blood", went into the Top 10 in its own right and was the
first example of the comedic style that The Coasters are best remembered for. "Yakety
Yak" (1958) justly went straight to the top of the American charts on its release and
has since become one of the classic rock'n'roll songs. The lyric itself was hilarious but
it was Nunn's (actually Jones´; ed.mark) basso profundo 'Don't talk
back' and King Curtis's sax solo that made the song. This sax embodied the rock'n'roll
horn sound and would reappear on "Charlie Brown" (1959), the utterly bizarre
"Along Came Jones" (1959), whose rhythm was based on a banjo riff, and
"That Is Rock & Roll" (1959), which was also based on a banjo. By this time,
Hughes and Nunn had left and were replaced by a succession of singers including Will Jones
and Obie Jessie. The Coasters closed out 1959 with a string of remarkable songs.
"Poison Ivy" abandoned the sax in favour of a harder, guitar-based rhythm and
was constructed around a dazzling extended metaphor filled with over-the-top internal
rhymes, while "What About Us", along with Chuck Berry's "Brown Eyed
Handsome Man", pioneered rock'n'roll's exploration of race and class issues.
"Run Red Run", meanwhile, was perhaps their best song. On the surface it was
another one of Leiber and Stoller's comic playlets, but underneath was an extraordinary
political statement. As Leiber puts it, 'once the monkey knows how to play [poker], he
knows how to understand other things. And once he understands that he's being cheated and
exploited, he becomes revolutionary.' After 1959, the hits dried up with the exception of
"Little Egypt" (1961) and the wonderful "Shoppin' For Clothes" (1960),
whose depiction of cool was so perfect that it's been sampled by both Barry Adamson and
The Jungle Brothers in their portraits of hipness. The Coasters continued until the late
60s with little success, and numerous versions of the band continue to play the 'oldies'
circuit. Leiber and Stoller continued writing and producing hits for The Drifters, Ben E.
King, The Dixie Cups and Elvis - they were not only early rock'n'roll's greatest
songwriters, but its greatest producers as well. In the unwritten history of popular
music's miscegenation, Leiber and Stoller, two Jewish kids from the Bronx, occupy a
central role, for they created rock'n'roll's metaphors and lingo, and its rhythmic
(as shown pre 2002 on AMG - All Music Guide on the Internet)
most popular doo wop group of the '50s, the Coasters started on the West Coast as the
Robins, scoring hits under the writing-and-production helm of Jerry Leiber and Mike
Stoller. When Atlantic signed Leiber and Stoller as a production team, the group split
into two factions; the core of the group became the Coasters and moved to New York to
record, while the Robins continued on the West Coast to diminishing acclaim. The Coasters'
hits, some of the most finely crafted, well written, and hilarious in the genre, continued
throughout the rest of the decade. Carl Gardner's sly leads and Bobby Nunn's bass singing
defined their sound through numerous personnel changes. When their time on the charts came
to an end a number of "Coasters" groups suddenly proliferated (much like the
Drifters, many of them still dotting the landscape of a million oldies shows and still
singing those classic songs).
Check Jay Warner´s
presentation of the Coasters as published in "American Singing Groups"
Biography on The Coasters as told at yahoo.com
vocal group hailed from Los Angeles, USA. The illustrious career of the Coasters, the
pre-eminent vocal group of the early rock 'n' roll era, was built on a remarkable body of
cleverly comic R&B songs by their producers, Leiber And Stoller. Under their
direction, the Coasters exchanged the crooning of ballads favoured by most groups of the
era for robust and full-throated R&B shouting. The group came together in 1955 from
remnants of the Robins, who had a dispute with their producers/songwriters, Leiber and
Stoller. The original Coasters consisted of two ex-Robins, Carl Gardner (b. 29 April 1928,
Tyler, Texas, USA; lead) and Bobby Nunn (b. 1925, Birmingham, Alabama, USA, d. 5 November
1986; bass), plus Leon Hughes (b. 1938; tenor), Billy Guy (b. 20 June 1936, Itasca, Texas,
USA; lead and baritone) and Adolph Jacobs (b. Oakland, California, USA; guitar). Hughes
was replaced in 1956 by Young Jessie, who in turn was replaced by ex-Flairs Cornell
Gunther (sic) (b. 14 November 1936, Los Angeles, California, USA, d. 26 February 1990). In
1958 Nunn was replaced by ex-Cadets Will 'Dub' Jones (b. 1939 )not correct, ed.mark), Los
Angeles, California, USA). Ex-Cadillacs Earl Carroll (b. Gregory (actually not Gregory;
ed.mark) Carroll, 2 November 1937, New York, New York, USA) replaced Gunther in 1961. The
Coasters first charted with 'Down In Mexico' (US R&B Top 10) in 1956, but the
double-sided hit from 1957, 'Searchin'' (US R&B number 1 and pop number 3) and 'Young
Blood' (US R&B number 2 and pop Top 10) established the group as major rock 'n' roll
stars (in the UK, 'Searchin'' reached number 30). Three more giant hits sustained the
Coasters' career, namely 'Yakety Yak' (US R&B and pop number 1 in 1958), 'Charlie
Brown' (US R&B and pop number 2 in 1959), and 'Poison Ivy' (US R&B number 1 and
pop Top 10 in 1959). In the UK, 'Yakety Yak' went to number 12, 'Charlie Brown' to number
6, and 'Poison Ivy' to number 15, the group's last chart record in the UK. By this time,
they were generally regarded as one of the wittiest exponents of teenage growing problems
to emerge from the rock 'n' roll era. By the early 60s the lustre had worn off, as the
hits increasingly emphasized the comic lyrics to the detriment of the music. The group
continued for decades as an oldies act, and fractured into two different groups playing
the oldies circuit. Bobby Nunn died on 5 November 1986; Cornell Gunther was shot dead on
26 February 1990. The group was inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame in 1987.
The Coasters at Wikipedia
The Coasters were an American doo wop and early rock and roll group, evolving from The Robins, a Los Angeles based doo wop group. After The Robins signed with Atlantic Records (1955, after the massive chart success of "Smokey Joe's Cafe"), the group split up. Carl Gardnr (tenor) andThe Coasters continued their association with the Robins' legendary songwriters, Leiber & Stoller. They soon added (bass) formed The Coasters. (baritone), (tenor) and (guitar), releasing their first single "Down in Mexico", a major R&B hit in 1956.
In 1957, The Coasters crossed over with "Young Blood"/"Searchin'". This was followed by a dry period, and the group relocated to New York City. Nunn and Hughes left, replaced by (bass, of The Cadets) and . Jessie was soon replaced by ( ). This new line-up released "Yakety Yak", which included King Curtis on tenor saxophone. The song was a huge mainstream hit, as was the follow-up "Charlie Brown". This was followed by "Along Came Jones", "Poison Ivy", "Shoppin' for Clothes" and "Little Egypt". A series of line-up changes contributed to a lack of hits in the 1960s.
The Coasters signed with Columbia Records, but were never able to regain their former fame. The Coasters last hit was "Love Potion No. 9" in 1971. Several groups used the name in the 1970s, touring throughout the country, though Gardner held the legal rights to it. Nunn died in 1986, the group was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame one year later. Gunter was murdered in Las Vegas in 1990. The group was inducted into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 1999. Jones died in 2000 and Guy in 2002. Gardner continues to tour as The Coasters and has made many attempts to stop bogus groups with no connection to the original group from using the name.
January 2005 (Wikipedia is an open encyclopedia, freely edited by viewers), check the present text.
"Those Hoodlum Friends" - "The Clown Princes of Rock ´N´ Roll", The Coasters were the first vocal group to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on January 21, 1987. They have appeared in 6 major movies and have amassed over 100 million record sales in their career. The foursome was created in October, 1955 from the nucleus of the Los Angeles, California based vocal sextet "the Robins". It was the young producing-composing team of Jerry Leiber & Mike Stoller, who with manager-salesman, Lester Sill, persuaded Bobby Nunn and Carl Gardner, to leave that group and launch the Coasters.
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. Two hand-chosen Californians, Billy Guy and Leon Hughes, 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" on 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. "Young Blood" (the original A-side) was an R&B Juke Box No. 1 hit (acutally No. 2 - but #1 on the R&B Best Seller chart - the old infomation is from a wrongly presentation on an old Joel Whitburn summary; ed.note), and a No. 2 hit on the R&B Disc Jockey chart, while the flip side, "Searchin´", which occupied the No. 1 spot on the R&B Best Seller chart for thirteen weeks (actually 12 weeks, succeeding its flip; ed.note), and lasted No. 1 on the R&B Disc Jockey chart for seven weeks. Both titles also became national Pop Top Ten hits, staying on the charts for half a year.
After three less successful releases, the Coasters reformed and 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 Coasters tribute group - "The Original Coasters". Tenor, Cornell Gunter and bass, Will "Dub" Jones, replaced Hughes and Nunn, and in 1959, The Coasters rattled off a string of hits that included "Yakety Yak" (a No. 1 Pop hit in 1958), "Charlie Brown" and "Along Came Jones" (1959) and the double-sider "Poison Ivy" b/w "I´m A Hog For You". The classic Coasters had a fifth member in guitarist Adolph Jacobs from Oakland, California, who was succeeded by a Coasters´ employee, Sonny Forriest, on "What About Us", 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 King Curtis´ 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 had a few more minor hits with "Wake Me, Shake Me" and "Shoppin´ For Clothes". 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", 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 person in Las Vegas on January 26, 1990.
Leiber-Stoller had left Atco/Atlantic in 1963, and the hits quickly dried up, but the vocal quartet renewed their collaboration with the team in late 1966, recording for the CBS subsidiary Date Records. By this time however, doo-wap music was hopelessly out of style, and despite releasing several new records, The Coasters were unable to repeat their earlier success. The group continued to perform all over U.S. and toured Europe several times. They even made a brief come-back on the U.S. Hot 100 Chart in 1972, with a re-rendition of "Love Potion Number Nine". 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. In the late ´90s yet another fake Coasters, "Billy Guy´s Coasters", emerged on the scene, semi-coached by Billy Guy.
In 1987 the Coasters, Gardner, Guy, Jones, and Gunter (the line-up that made the hits) were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame - the first vocal group receiving that honour. Carl Gardner & The Coasters were - despite competition from bogus and off-spring Coasters groups - heavily engaged in live bookings during the late ´80s and the whole of the ´90s (even performing at the Carnegie Hall).
All of the early members launched their off-shoot Coasters´ recording groups during later years. Billy Guy has issued records as Billy Guy & The Coasters, and there were Bobby Nunn´s Coasters, Mark II - later touring as Billy Richards´ (West) Coasters; Leon Hughes´ Original Coasters; Cornell Gunter´s Fabulous Coasters (nowadays; ed.note) acting with fake members as Cornell Gunter´s Coasters Inc. There also was Will Jones´ World Famous Coasters (which often featured Billy Guy, who later semi-coached Larry Marshak´s fake group, which toured (and toures with the Buck Ram Platters and Berry Hobb's Drifters; ed.note) as (yet another; ed.note) Cornell Gunter´s Coasters with Shirley Gunter as mentor. The true Coasters though, were led by Carl Gardner (until late 2005, when his son Carl Jr took over the lead role and Sr. semi-retired; ed.note).
The Coaster's Top Ten Hits
Just as the Coasters, the Drifters (and nowadays also the Temptations), this group has struggled with the problem of bogus name-sakes thruout later years.
One of the Beatles´ favorites, just like the Coasters - and a rock ´n´ roll survivor.
The hit "Honey Hush" original pressings had "Yakity-Yak" as alternate title. One of Joe´s old friends (and hit record composer), Doc Pomus, co-wrote "Young Blood" with Leiber-Stoller.
Another favorite of Leiber-Stoller´s who toured with the Coasters´ package shows and used The Cues, who recorded their own "Charlie Brown" in 1956 (compl. diff.) as back-up singers with the name The Gliders.
B. B. King
Shares a blues favorite of Carl Gardner´s - fellow Texan, T-Bone Walker.
Cornell Gunter was the first to be at hand, when Jackie collapsed (to be hospitalized for the rest of his life) on stage at Dick Clark´s Latin Casino Supper Club in Cherry Hill, N.Y. on September 29, 1975.
Has been inspired in many ways by the Coasters (recorded an answer to "Charlie Brown", "Charlie Brown Got Expelled" in 1959, and used a stage humor just like the Coasters).
Used "Charlie Brown" and other famous rock & roll titles for his interesting 1959 debut pop hit "The Class".
Used the same famous stage choreographer as the Cadillacs and the Coasters, namely Cholly Atkins.
Issued a 1970s Coasters recording on his Wicked label.
Recorded several late 1950s songs heavily inspired by the Coasters.
The great rock ´n´ roll poet has kept on rockin´ just like the Coasters are keeping on.
next: The Robins Discography