Coasters Web Site
Edited by Claus Röhnisch (updatedJune 6, 2009)
Printer-Friendly Version including all vinyls.
Label and catalog number
followed by date of issue (month/year).
THE ROBINS´ SPARK RECORDS
(the only Robins´ recordings featuring Carl Gardner are on Spark)
THE COASTERS´ U.S. SINGLES
Check Atco singles images (both sides)
Atlantic Oldies Series
(Atco reissues. There are more issued than listed - with flips by pther artists,
The Robins: "Smokey Joe's Cafe" b/w The Chords,
"Zing! Went The Strings Of My Heart" b/w The Sensations, and "Just Like Me" b/w Tee Tucker.
as Carl Gardner & The Coasters
(This is a Wilson Pickett label - both tracks written by the five Coasters)
Get the Coasters' singles
ebay auctions on RARE Coasters items
New ebay items
Link to Matt Broyles' e-bay site
COASTERS - SINGLES DISCOGRAPHY
WITH ALL THE LEAD SINGERS
Note: The line-ups are presented for general overview and do not always fit with issue dates.
Label and catalogue number followed by track titles (with lead and recording dates) followed by month/year of issue.
The British singles
A Dutch single with "Charlie Brown" and "That Is Rock & Roll".
ebay auctions on RARE Coasters items
About.com Oldies Music
Human edited OLDIES MUSIC SEARCH
The Coasters EPs
Check singles and albums - Want List!
The following singles have been issued as by The Coasters,
but feature former Coasters´ members:
Coasters Two Plus Two Chelan 2000
Lester Sill - Leiber/Stoller -
the Robins & the original Coasters
Lester Sill and the Coasters in 1958.
From "Honkers and Shouters - The Golden
Years of Rhythm & Blues"
by Arnold Shaw (Collier Books, New York, 1978)
Arnold Shaw interviewing Lester Sill (The Coasters´ manager 1955 - circa 1963).
Lester Sill, today president of Screen
Gems-Columbia, the music division of Columbia Pictures Industries, started in the record
business in 1945. From that year until 1951, he worked for the Bihari brothers of Los
Angeles, first as a salesman of Modern Records, RPM, and their other labels, and then as a
producer of artists like Hadda Brooks, B. B. King, and others. We spoke in his present
office on Sunset Boulevard.
"In 1952, I went into the record distribution business myself and my shipping clerks were Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller. I met them in a curious way. When I was still selling for Modern, I was on Fairfax Avenue one day and went into Norty´s Record Shop. The moment I was inside the door, one of the stock clerks came running over to me. He had a song he had written that he wanted me to hear. You couldn´t be in the record business without having a song pitched at you constantly. I probably would have brushed the kid, but he fascinated me. You see, his eyes didn´t match - one was brown and one was blue. He grabbed me by the lapels. I couldn´t take my eyes off his eyes and the managed to shlep me into a back room where I auditioned his song, A cappella, of course. But it had something. And I invited him to come down that night to a Modern recording session where the Biharis were cutting a group called the Robins. The song I had auditioned was called "Back in the good old days" (actually "That´s what the good book says" on March 2, 1951; ed.note). It was recorded that night. Head arrangement, of course. The stock boy who grabbed me was Jerry Leiber. He was going to Fairfax High School at the time, or to LA City College. That night at the session, I met his collaborator, Mike Stoller. When I left Modern and went into the distributing business, Jerry and Mike came to work for me as shipping clerks, Jerry more regularly than Mike. During this period, Jerry got a call one day from Johnny Otis. He was doing a session with Willie Mae Thornton, and he needed a song. Jerry had just finished his lunch, and the brown paper bag was still lying on the counter. Jerry phoned Mike, and they discussed ideas for a song. Then, he wrote the lyric on the lunch bag. I gave him some time off so that he could run over to Radio Recorders and see Otis. The song was "Hound Dog". They were about seventeen then, and they had already had "Kansas City", which they wrote when they were fifteen or sixteen.
At that time, we were living on Sycamore Street, near Melrose in Los Angeles, Jerry would come over to the house quite often. He loved my wife´s cooking, and one day he asked if he could move in with us. We had three kids at the time, but somehow we made room for Jerry..... During the time Jerry was living with us, I gave up the distributing business. Jerry, Mike, Mike´s father Abe (probably Alvin; ed.note), Jack Levy, and myself started a publishing company called Quintet Music, Inc. We cut simple demos with Mike playing piano and Jerry singing; or we would go and bring in some small groups to cut a demo. We had the same problem then that most publishers have today; getting the A&R man to listen and record your song. Jerry, Mike, and I then decided we would produce our own masters and attempt to lease them to some record company. The first master we produced was "Black Denim Trousers and Motorcycle Boots", sung by a group we found called The Cheers. On the same date we also produced The Cheers doing "Bazoom". Both of these were giant hits. I imagine this made us the first independent producers. If not the first, certainly the first successful independent producers......
... About 1954 or 1955 (early 1954; ed.note), Leiber, Stoller, and I started a label called Spark Records. We went on to have several hits. Then we went to a convention in Chicago where I played some new releases for our distributors. Ahmet Ertegun of Atlantic heard them. He came running down the hall, sort of out of the woodwork, and flew Jerry Leiber and me into New York. Atlantic bought Spark Records, which included The Coasters... (well not quite like that, but..; ed.note)... Atlantic set up a subsidiary label. This was the beginning of Atco - The Coasters - and Bobby Darin.
"Charlie Brown" Australian sheet music. "I´m A Hog For You" was advertised as the original A-side of "Poison Ivy".
Image center Lee Hazlewood and Lester Sill (who produced a.o. "Ridin´ Hood").
.... after that, Mike and Jerry decided they
wanted to move to New York (late 1957; ed.note). They asked me to move with them. They had
no family; I did. My family and I decided to remain in Los Angeles. Jack Levy (and Mike´s
father before that; ed.note) and I sold our interest, allowing the boys to pay us out over
a period of a few years. When they moved, we had offices on Melrose and La Brea, which I
took over. Shortly after that, I met Lee Hazelwood (Hazlewood; ed.note) through a mutual
friend. Lee and I founded a publishing and production company called Gregmark Music. Our
first act was Duane Eddy. We produced fifteen straight chart records with Duane. About two
years later, Phil Spector stopped up to see me at 1610 Argyle, where we had just moved.
Yes, he left mother Bertha Spector, after whom he later named his publishing company... I
used to take him down to Phoenix with us, where we recorded Duane Eddy. He (Phil) absorbed
everything we did like a sponge. I met Phil right after he made "To Know Him Is To
Love Him" with the trio he called The Teddy Bears. I saw him at work in the studio
then, and he amazed me with what he was doing with vocal harmonies. He looked like he was
twelve years old. It was Bunny Robyn´s studio on Fairfax.... After we recorded
Duane Eddy in Phoenix, we brought the records back here and overdubbed them at Gold
Star..... Phil and I then started Philles Records (in late 1961;ed.note), a title
derived from the first syllables of our names.
After Lee and I parted company, I took a semihiatus for about a year and a half, after which I was approached by Don Kirshner, then president of Screen Gems-Columbia Music, Inc., and now the Rock Concert impresario, to come into the organization as a consultant. It was to be a temporary situation because I didn´t want to get locked into a big company at that time. The end result is that after twelve years, I am still with Screen Gems-Columbia Music..."
(Lester Sill stayed with Screen Gems for 21 years ending up as President - and ended his days as head of the huge "Motown" publishing firm Jobete Music, where he landed in 1985 - and died in 1994; ed.note).
Lester Sill at answers.com
The first promotional letter for the Coasters from Milton Deutsch Agency of Hollywood, Calif.
Hours after escaping the
wreck of the Andrea Doria, 22-year-old composer Mike Stoller peered from the deck of a
rescue ship as it entered New York harbor to see his lyricist partner Jerry Leiber, also
22, lounging on the pier, holding an Italian silk suit--in case Mike needed dry clothes.
"We have a hit!" Leiber cried. "Hound Dog...recorded by some kid named
Elvis." That was July 1956. And while lots of folks will tell you that
when they heard Elvis shout "You ain't nothin' but a hound dog!" it changed
music forever, the revolution was already well under way. In fact, you could say it began
in 1950, when a pair of 17-year-old white kids named Leiber and Stoller teamed up to write
for black rhythm-and-blues performers like Jimmy Witherspoon and Big Mama Thornton--for
whom they yelled and banged out "Hound Dog" in 10 inspired minutes.
This month Leiber and Stoller, now Rock and Roll Hall of Famers, celebrate their half-century mark as partners and accept the Johnny Mercer Award from the National Academy of Popular Music/Songwriters' Hall of Fame. As songwriters, record producers, record-company owners and music publishers, they are legends in the business, having written and produced scores of hits--from the rhythm and blues of Kansas City to witty pop ditties like "Yakety Yak" and "Poison Ivy" and soul classics like "Stand by Me." Fifty years after they penned their first song, their exuberant music is still everywhere, blasting out of the radio on old records and new CDs, jiving up TV commercials and lending grit to movie sound tracks. Their song collection, Smokey Joe's Cafe, became the longest-running revue in Broadway history, toured Europe and Japan, and is now playing Las Vegas and Seoul. Their collaboration began in Los Angeles, when Leiber, then in high school and boasting a copybook scrawled with song lyrics, called up Stoller, a friend of a friend who he'd heard wrote music. Stoller, a Long Island, N.Y., native, had fallen in love with boogie-woogie piano at an interracial summer camp. Leiber had breathed it in from the black households in Baltimore to which he had delivered kerosene and coal from his mom's grocery store. They bonded over 12-bar blues and had almost immediate success writing for black artists. "These were called 'race records,'" Stoller recalls, "meaning they were played only on stations that catered to a black audience." It was the young songwriters' destiny to become a major conduit of black music to white audiences. When Elvis' version of "Hound Dog" exploded on the scene, their fortunes soared. Asked by Elvis' producers for more songs, they wrote more than 20, including "Love Me," "Treat Me Nice," "Loving You" and "Jailhouse Rock." "We became his lucky charm," Stoller says of Elvis, then laughs and adds, "until we got bored." "We wrote to amuse ourselves," Leiber says. It shows in the manic energy and irrepressible good humor of their music. It's still hard not to laugh at the comic tunes they wrote for the Coasters, such as "Charlie Brown" and "Love Potion No. 9." Such story songs as "Along Came Jones" and "Young Blood" were inspired by Leiber's love of radio series like "The Shadow." Their subjects ranged from knife fights and no-accounts to class clowns and the clap. That last can be found in what Leiber calls the "snide innuendo" of their hilarious "Poison Ivy."
In the late '50s, the pair began working with other writers and producing records for such artists as the Drifters and Ben E. King. Stoller recalls the creation of "There Goes My Baby" and the birth of soul. "I started playing a counterline on the piano that was like a Rimsky-Korsakov melody. Jerry said, 'That sounds like strings,' and I said, 'Why not? Let's do it.'" So came the first R&B record with strings. With "Spanish Harlem," they added Brazilian and African percussion. Then came the restlessness. "It was the era of the girl groups," Stoller says. "The focus of songs was getting younger and younger. We decided to try to write in a different vein." "Is That All There Is?", recorded by Peggy Lee in 1969, was the kind of arty cabaret song they meant. They wrote for the theater but weren't taken seriously. After the runaway success of Smokey Joe's, they're reworking two book musicals they wrote at that time. Their classic songs have been recorded by artists as varied as the Beatles, John Mellencamp, Lou Rawls, Aretha Franklin and Barbra Streisand. "Kansas City" alone, Stoller guesses, has had about 500 versions. Not long ago, the two were invited to the White House. President Clinton was excited to meet them, Stoller recalls fondly: "He broke out singing, 'The neon lights are bright on Broadway...'" Did they ever think when they began that someday the president of the U.S. would croon one of their songs to them? Stoller laughs. "We thought if we were really lucky they might last six months."
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