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The Coasters Web Site
50 Years of R&B
Poison Ivy(2nd) midi

The Fifties
1949 - 1959 The Sixties 1960 - 1969
The Seventies 1970 - 1979 | The Eighties 1980 - 1989
  The Nineties 1990 - 1999 | The New Millennium


Edited by Claus Röhnisch (updated July 29, 2010)

The Coasters in 1958 with Guy, Gunter, Gardner and (bottom right) Jones.
PRINTER FRIENDLY  1949-1964:   The Golden´50s

Top 36 Super Hits/Artists of the 1950s
presented as  1. Top Record   2. Top Profile   3. Top Artist

Amos Milburn - Chicken-Shack Boogie


1.  Joe Liggins – Pink Champagne

2.  Johnny Otis – Double Crossing Blues
3.  Roy Brown – Hard Luck Blues

1.  The Dominoes – Sixty-Minute Man
2.  Charles Brown – Black Night
3.  Ruth Brown - Teardrops From My Eyes

1. Lloyd Price – Lawdy Miss Clawdy
2. The Clovers – One Mint Julep
3. The Dominoes – Have Mercy Baby

1.  Clyde McPhatter & The Drifters – Money Honey
2.  The “5” Royales - Baby Don’ t Do It
3.  Faye Adams – Shake A Hand

1.  The Midnighters – Work With Me Annie
2a.  Guitar Slim - The Things That I Used To Do
2b.  LaVern Baker - Tweedlee Dee
3.  Joe Turner – Shake, Rattle And Roll

1.  The Platters – Only You
2a.  The Penguins – Earth Angel
2b.  Ray Charles - I've Got A Woman
3.  Fats Domino – Ain’t It A Shame

1.  Bill Doggett – Honky Tonk
2.  Fats Domino – Blueberry Hill
3.  Little Richard - Tutti-Frutti

1.  The Coasters – Searchin’
2.  Sam Cooke - You Send Me
3.  Fats Domino – Blue Monday

1. The Coasters – Yakety Yak
2a. Cozy Cole – Topsy
2b. Bobby Day - Rock-In Robin
3. Chuck Berry – Johnny B. Goode

1.  Jackie Wilson – Lonely Teardrops
2.  Brook Benton - It’s Just A Matter Of Time
2b.  Kansas City - Wilbert Harrison
3.  Lloyd Price – Stagger Lee

Hank Ballard and The Midnighters - Let's Go, Let's Go, Let's Go

Check the Top R&B Records
- with the Top R&B Hits and artists from the 25 original golden years of R&B

  Top R&B Hits

Bill Daniels' Dusty Charts
Top R&B Records 1949 - 1959

The Top 10 Songs
(from DigitalDreamDoor)

Blowing the fuse.
Blowing The Fuse

CD Series (1 CD per year)
R&B Classics That Rocked the Jukebox - on Bear Family
Simply terrific CDs!
1945 - 1960
Now also Sweet Soul Music series 1961 - 1965

A brief history of Rhythm and Blues
by Piero Scaruffi

Mississippi Blog Spot  blog with great music
Mississippi - the Birth Place of American Music

Fifties Tunes                   Rockin´ Fifties magazine

Billboard's Year-End Archives


Don't miss it!                Main site
The Music Lists


The History of Rhythm and Blues
great 4-CD pacs series

Rock 'n' Roll Time-Line
at DigitalDreamDoor

Top 40 #1 R&B Hits
(Forties, Fifties, Sixties)

All #1 R&B Hits   1942-1979

#1 R&B Hits (Billboard)
at Wikipedia

Check the Top R&B Records
- with the Top R&B Hits and artists from the 25 original golden years of R&B


The pioneer R&B West Coast vocal group the Robins, featuring Bobby Nunn (born
September 20, 1925 in Birmingham, Alabama, and settling in Watts-Los Angeles in 1947), wax Double Crossing Blues with Johnny Otis Quintette and Little Esther on the Savoy label in December.

Bobby Nunn (circa 1954).

Greatest 10 Songs of the 1940s according to DigitalDreamDoor
1. Good Rockin' Tonight - Wynonie Harris (1948)
2. It's Too Soon To Know - Orioles (1948)
3. Caldonia - Louis Jordan (1945)
4. The Honeydripper - Joe Liggins (1945)
5. Choo Choo Ch'Boogie - Louis Jordan (1946)
6. Straighten Up And Fly Right - King Cole Trio (1944)
7. Lovesick Blues - Hank Williams (1949)
8. Drinkin' Wine Spo-Dee-O-Dee - Stick McGhee & His Buddies (1949)
9. Saturday Night Fish Fry - Louis Jordan (1949)
10. Hey! Ba-Ba-Re-Bop - Lionel Hampton (1946)
Billboard Dusty Chart 1949

Billboard's Year-End R&B Charts 1946-1949
1. Lionel Hampton - Hey-Ba-Ba-Re-Bop
2. Louis Jordan - Choo Choo Ch' Booogie
3. Louis Jordan/Ella Fitzgerald - Stone Cold Dead In The Market
4. Ink Spots - The Gypsy
5. Roy Milton - R.M. Blues
1. Louis Jordan - Ain't Nobody Here But Us Chickens with flip: Let The Good Times Roll
2. Louis Jordan - Boogie Woogie Blue Plate
3. Savanna Churchill - I Want To Be Loved
4. Louis Jordan - Jack, You're Dead
5. Eddie Vinson - Old Maid Boogie with editor's favorite flip:  Kidney Stew Blues

1. Sonny Thompson - Long Gone
2. Wynonie Harris - Good Rockin' Tonight
3. Lonnie Johnson - Tomorrow Night
4. Ivory Joe Hunter - Pretty Mama Blues
5. Bull Moose Jackson - I Can't Go On Without You
1. Paul Williams - The Hucklebuck
2. Charles Brown - Trouble Blues
3. Louis Jordan - Saturday Night Fish Fry
4. Jimmy Witherspoon - Ain't Nobody's Business
5. Bull Moose Jackson - Little Girl, Don't Cry

100 Greatest Recordings of the 1940s

Late this year two young Jewish Los Angeles residents, Jerry Leiber (born April 25, 1933 in Baltimore) and Mike Stoller (born March 13, 1933 in Belle Harbor, Long Island), start to co-operate with distributor-agent Lester Sill.

The Robins in 1950, ctsy Billy Vera and Marv Goldberg.

Billboard's Year-End R&B Chart
1. Joe Liggins - Pink Champagne
2. Johnny Otis/The Robins/Little Esther - Double Crossing Blues
3. Ivory Joe Hunter - I Need You So
4. Roy Brown - Hard Luck Blues
5. Johnny Otis/Little Esther/Mel Walker - Cupid Boogie

Greatest 10 Songs of 1950 according to DigitalDreamDoor
1. The Fat Man - Fats Domino
2. Please Send Me Someone To Love - Percy Mayfield
3. Teardrops From My Eyes - Ruth Brown
4. Mona Lisa - Nat "King" Cole
5. Tennessee Waltz - Patti Page
6. Long Gone Lonesome Blues - Hank Williams
7. Mardi Gras In New Orleans - Professor Longhair
8. I'm Movin' On - Hank Snow
9. Rollin' Stone - Muddy Waters
10. Double Crossing Blues - Johnny Otis (Little Esther & the Robins)

100 Greatest Recordings of 1950

Bill Daniels' Dusty Chart 1950

Leiber-Stoller bring That´s What The Good Book Says, their first studiorecorded song (and first record issue), to the Bihari Brothers´ Modern label in Los Angeles  where it is waxed by Bobby Nunn & The Robbins (sic - should be Robins) on March 2. Carl Gardner (born April 29, 1928 in Tyler, Texas) plans to leave his home-town (and Houston) where he had sung with Lasalle Gunter´s territorial band to join his brothers Richard and Howard in Los Angeles.

Carl Gardner (circa 1954).

Billboard's Year-End R&B Chart
1. The Dominoes - Sixty Minute Man
2. Charles Brown - Black Night
3. Ruth Brown - Teardrops From My Eyes
4. Joe Turner - Chains Of Love
5. The Clovers - Don't You Know I Love You

Greatest 10 Songs of 1951 according to DigitalDreamDoor

1. Sixty Minute Man - Dominoes
2. Rocket 88 - Jackie Brenston
3. Dust My Broom - Elmore James
4. Cry - Johnnie Ray
5. Too Young - Nat "King" Cole
6. Cold Cold Heart - Hank Williams
7. Glory Of Love - Five Keys
8. Three O'Clock Blues - B.B. King
9. Hey Good Lookin' - Hank Williams
10. How High The Moon - Les Paul & Mary Ford

100 Greatest Recordings of 1951

Bill Daniels' Dusty Chart 1951

Leiber & Stoller get two of their old time greatest compositions recorded, K.C. Loving (originally recorded by Little Willie Littlefield - later known as Kansas City), and Hound Dog (by Willie Mae Thornton). Savoy Records force bass singer Bobby Nunn to quit recording as a solo act. After his success with the Robins and Little Esther, Nunn had recorded with Mickey Champion, and duetted with Little Esther again for Federal in 1952 in a Leiber-Stoller written take-off of Double Crossing Blues, titled Saturday Night Daddy (during the other Robins' military services).

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

Billboard's Year-End R&B Chart
1. Lloyd Price - Lawdy Miss Clawdy
2. The Dominoes - Have Mercy Baby
3. Ruth Brown - 5-10-15 Hours
4. Fats Domino - Goin' Home
5. Jimmy Forrest - Night Train

The Best rock ´n´ roll records of the year - according to
Life Rock & Roll Gallery:
1. Have Mercy Baby - THE DOMINOES
2. Lawdy Miss Clawdy - LLOYD PRICE
3. My Song - JOHNNY ACE
4. One Mint Julep - THE CLOVERS
5. Night Train - JIMMY FORREST
Bill Daniels' Dusty Chart 1952
Greatest 10 Songs of 1952 according to DigitalDreamDoor
1. Lawdy Miss Clawdy - Lloyd Price
2. Jambalaya (On The Bayou) - Hank Williams
3. Have Mercy Baby - Dominoes
4. One Mint Julep - Clovers
5. Night Train - Jimmy Forrest
6. My Song - Johnny Ace
7. Goin' Home - Fats Domino
8. Moody Mood For Love - King Pleasure
9. Juke - Little Walter
10. Baby, Don't Do It - "5" Royales

100 Greatest Recordings of 1952

Carl Gardner has arrived in California and gets established in Los Angeles´ blues and jazz clubs as a night club dance band vocalist, singing ballads and jazz standards (often with jazz pianist Carl Perkins), and playing drums at "The Oasis" (the new Johnny Otis club) in Watts. The Robins are contracted to RCA Victor (with Grady Chapman as fifth singer) in January. Leiber-Stoller write Ten Days In Jail for the Robins on RCA (with Chapman lead singer). Leiber and Stoller and their mentor and guide, Lester Sill, born in L.A. January 13, 1918 (who had been sales manager for Modern Records, and later was manager of the original Coasters), embark serious business partnership.

Grady Chapman, circa 1955.

Billboard's Year-End R&B Chart
1. Ruth Brown - (Mama) He Treats Your Daughter Mean
2. Faye Adams - Shake A Hand
3. Willie Mae Thornton - Hound Dog
4. The Orioles - Crying In The Chapel
5. Johnny Ace - The Clock

The Best rock ´n´ roll records of the year - according to
Life Rock & Roll Gallery:
3. Crying in the Chapel - THE ORIOLES
4. (Mama) He Treats Your Daughter Mean - RUTH BROWN
Bill Daniels' Dusty Chart 1953

Greatest 10 Songs of 1953 according to DigitalDreamDoor
1. Money Honey - Drifters featuring Clyde McPhatter
2. Your Cheating Heart - Hank Williams
3. Crying In The Chapel - Orioles
4. Gee - Crows
5. Shake A Hand - Faye Adams
6. Honey Hush - Joe Turner
7. Mama, He Treats Your Daughter Mean - Ruth Brown
8. Hound Dog - Willie Mae "Big Mama" Thornton
9. Kaw-Liga - Hank Williams
10. The Things That I Used To Do - Guitar Slim

100 Greatest Recordings of 1953

High tenor Cornelius "Cornell" Gunter (born November 14, 1936 in Coffeyville, Kansas) leaves the original Platters (where he had sung lead - succeeded by Tony Williams) and creates the Flairs in Los Angeles in partnership with Richard Berry and Obie Jessie. Carl Gardner joins the Robins, around February, as lead singer on If Teardrops Were Kisses, issued on Leiber-Stoller´s Spark Records in L.A. a year later (Carl is to lead seven of the twelve Spark recordings by the Robins). Gardner makes his first stage appearance with the Robins on March 13, as part of the Gene Norman show at the Embassy Ballroom. Four ghetto blues jump singles by the Robins are issued between June 1954 and April 1955, including Riot In Cell Block #9 (a regional hit during the summer), Framed b/w Loop De Loop Mambo, and One Kiss - all recorded at Bunny Robyn´s Master Recorders on Fairfax Avenue in Hollywood, and promoted by the Robins' new agent Lester Sill. Earl Carroll (born November 2, 1937) forms the Cadillacs across the continent in New York City´s Sugar Hill and Ronnie Bright (born October 18, 1938) joins the Valentines. In 1954 the R&B market more than doubles its shares on the American record buyers (although it is still a small market compared to the Pop market).

1954 ad for "Riot..." (Bobby Nunn top center).

Billboard's Year-End R&B Chart
1. The Midnighters - Work With Me Annie
2. Clyde McPhatter/The Drifters - Honey Love
3. Ruth Brown - Oh What A Dream
4. Roy Hamilton - You'll Never Walk Alone
5. Joe Turner - Shake, Rattle And Roll

The Best rock ´n´ roll records of the year - according to
Life Rock & Roll Gallery:
1. Sh-Boom - THE CHORDS
2. Pledging My Love - JOHNNY ACE
3. Work with Me Annie - THE MIDNIGHTERS
4. Honey Love - THE DRIFTERS featuring CLYDE McPHATTER
5. Shake, Rattle and Roll - JOE TURNER

The Best rock ´n´ roll songs of the year - according to The Rock ´n´ Roll Vault:
1. Sh-boom - The Chords   2. I’ve Got a Woman - Ray Charles   3. Shake, Rattle and Roll - Joe Turner   4. That’s All Right - Elvis Presley   5. Honey Love - Clyde McPhatter and The Drifters   6. Work With Me Annie - The Midnighters   7. Sincerely - The Moonglows    8. Pledging My Love - Johnny Ace   9. Love Me - Fats Domino   10. Riot in Cell Block #9 - The Robins
Bill Daniels' Dusty Chart 1954

Greatest 10 Songs of 1954 according to DigitalDreamDoor
1. Rock Around The Clock - Bill Haley & His Comets
2. Shake, Rattle And Roll - Joe Turner
3. Earth Angel - Penguins
4. Sh-Boom - Chords
5. That's All Right - Elvis Presley with Scotty and Bill
6. Pledging My Love - Johnny Ace
7. Goodnite Sweetheart Goodnite - Spaniels
8. I've Got A Woman - Ray Charles
9. White Christmas - Drifters featuring Clyde McPhatter
10. Work With Me Annie - Royals / Midnighters

100 Greatest Recordings of 1954

The Robins'  touring schedule (featuring Carl Gardner - Chapman out).
March 13-on
: The Gene Norman show at the Embassy Ballroom in L.A. with Earl Bostic, The Flairs, and Christine Ketrell. The package also toured Bakersfield, Salinas, Ventura, Pasadena, and Oakland. May 7: One week at Johnny Otis' Club Oasis in L.A. July 2-4 or 4-6: The Savoy Ballroom in L.A. (billed as The Robbins) with Richard Lewis and his Band.  July 17: "Fifth Annual Blues Jubilee" hosted by Gene Norman at the Hollywood Shrine with The Chords, The Clovers, The Four Tunes, and The Hollywood Flames. Late July: Radio and TV-shows followed by "The Gene Norman Show" tour to Bakersfield, San Jose, Pismo Beach, Fresno, Salinas, and "The Rancho" in Hollywood. July 22: Two weeks at "The Trocadero" in Hollywood. July 30: "Rhythm & Blues" show on KTTV hosted by Jerry Lawrence with Harry Belafonte, and the Oscar McLollie orchestra. August 17: "The Starlite" in Burbank, CA with Big JayMcNeely, Jimmy Witherspoon, The Flairs, and the Richard Lewis Band. August 19: Ten days at "The Trocadero" with Louis Jordan and his orchestra. September: San Joaquin Valley and northern California with Jo Ann Lynn, and Chuck Higgins and his Orchestra. September 25: The Gene Norman show at the Shrine Auditorium with Guitar Slim, Muddy Waters, The Flairs, The Jewels, Marvin & Johnny, Chuck Higgins, Johnny "Guitar" Watson, and The Platters. Late 1954: "The Robins Sing" for Universal-International Pictures. December 27: L.A. Shrine (with Chapman back, the Robins a sextet) with The Clovers, Big Jay McNeely, The Jewels, The Platters, and The Cheers.

At the Trocadero - four of the "Robbins" including Carl Gardner far right.
At Club Trocadero in August. For of The "Robbins". Far right: Carl Gardner. Photo ctsy. Veta Gardner.

Spiritual singer Will "Dub" Jones (born May 14, 1928 in Shreveport, Louisiana) forms the Cadets in L.A. for Modern Records. Billy Guy, now settled in Watts (born June 20, 1936 in Itasca, Texas), waxes a single for Aladdin Records as part of the Californian duo Bip & Bop. The Robins issue their fifth single for Spark in June – I Must Be Dreamin´. Their sixth, Smokey Joe´s Cafe, a wonderful and humor-filled story about not getting too interested in a another man´s woman - with an expressive lead by Gardner - turns out to be the last Spark release. In mid September new Atlantic co-owner Nesuhi Ertegun (brother of Ahmet) produces a session for Atlantic with the Drifters (after Clyde McPhatter's leave) at Master Recorders in Hollywood and informs his brother that Bunny Robyn had engineered some great recordings, produced by Leiber-Stoller, with a vocal sextet for the Spark label.
Smokey Joe´s Cafe hits the national R&B and Pop charts (R&B Best Seller #13, R&B Juke Box #10, and Pop #79), now reissued on newly formed Atco Records, as a result of a September 28 deal, in which Atlantic/Atco purchase all Spark masters from Leiber-Stoller. Gardner and Nunn leave the Robins in this deal to create the Coasters, with Lester Sill as manager and Leiber-Stoller as A&R-men and record producers. If one wants to pin-point a specific date for the birth of the Coasters it is September 28, 1955. Leiber-Stoller-Sill knew they could come up with a super-sounding group, based on qualitative individuals surrounding the high-talented Gardner. The original line-up (which will become a perfect vehicle for Leiber-Stoller´s studio inventions) is completed by two further hand-chosen professionals, baritone Billy Guy (by suggestion from Gardner), and Leon Hughes (a southern Californian, born August 26, 1932, and original member of the Hollywood Flames - recruited by Nunn). A long-term contract with Atco Records is signed.

Carl Gardner in 1955.
Mike Stoller and Jerry Leiber in the mid 1950s.

Billboard's Year-End R&B Chart
1. Johnny Ace - Pledging My Love
2. Fats Domino - Ain't That A Shame
3. Chuck Berry - Maybelline
4. The Penguins - Earth Angel
5. Ray Charles - I've Got A Woman

The Best rock ´n´ roll records of the year - according to
Life Rock & Roll Gallery:
1. Maybellene - CHUCK BERRY
2. Only You - THE PLATTERS
3. Earth Angel - THE PENGUINS
4. Tweedle Dee - LaVERN BAKER
5. Speedoo  - THE CADILLACS

The Best rock ´n´ roll songs of the year - according to The Rock ´n´ Roll Vault:
1. Rock Around the Clock - Bill Haley and His Comets    2. Ain’t That a Shame - Fats Domino   3. Maybellene - Chuck Berry   4. Earth Angel - The Penguins   5. Only You - The Platters   6. Bo Diddley - Bo Diddley   7. Sixteen Tons - "Tennessee" Ernie Ford  8. Learnin’ the Blues - Frank Sinatra    9. Cry Me a River - Julie London   10. Burn That Candle - Bill Haley and His Comets
Bill Daniels' Dusty Chart 1955

Greatest 10 Songs of 1955 according to DigitalDreamDoor
1. Tutti-Frutti - Little Richard
2. Maybellene - Chuck Berry
3. Bo Diddley - Bo Diddley
4. Why Do Fools Fall In Love - Teenagers
5. The Great Pretender - Platters
6. Ain't It A Shame - Fats Domino
7. Folsom Prison Blues - Johnny Cash and the Tennessee Two
8. Speedoo - Cadillacs
9. Story Untold - Nutmegs
10. My Babe - Little Walter

100 Greatest Recordings of 1955

The Robins'  touring schedule (featuring Carl Gardner):
January 14-16
: 5-4 Ballroom, L.A. with Floyd Dixon, and T-Bone Walker. February 25-27: 5-4 Ballroom with Johnny "Guitar" Watson. July-August: Nightly shows in Las Vegas. (The Robins continued to tour after the leave of Gardner and Nunn - now supplemented by H.B. Barnum and the returned Grady Chapman).

The Coasters in 21005: Ronnie Bright, Alvin Morse, Carl Gardner Jr, Carl Gardner, J.W. Lance, Thomas Palmer.

The original Coasters: Hughes, Guy, Nunn, and (far right) Gardner.

The Coasters´ first recording session is held in Robyn´s studios in Hollywood in January, and produces two singles. Down In Mexico (about a crazy little place in Mexicali), the Coasters´ first release, hits the R&B charts (Best Seller and DJ #9, Juke Box #8 - with Turtle Dovin'  listed as Juke Box flip hit for one week). Billboard February 25 review of Atco 6064: "Here´s a new and definitely swinging crew and they deliver a couple of highly commendable sides. ´Down In Mexico´ is a fetching ditty which is very close to ´Smokey Joe´s Cafe´. This group carries the lead and bass singer from the Robins unit which recorded the ´Smoke´ side. On the flip the boys score again with a catchy rhythm side. Both have plenty of staying power and should move well." Billboard March 17 "This Week´s Best Buys" (R&B): "This record is getting excellent R&B and pop reaction in a variety of markets. Pittsburgh, Baltimore, Buffalo, Cleveland, Chicago, Nashville, Atlanta, Durham and St. Louis are among the areas in which it has found broad acceptance. Flip is ´Turtle Dovin´´." The second single, One Kiss Led To Another, hits Pop #73 and R&B DJ #11. It was c/w Brazil (originally intended to be the A-side). All four recordings from the first session are led by the earthy, good-humored and happy, clear tenor of Carl Gardner. Billboard July 28 review of Atco 6073: "The Coasters have racked good sales with their two previous disks (actually only one - "Smokey Joe´s Cafe" was the Robins;ed.note), and this clever novelty could be their biggest yet. Humor and slick styling set it apart. Flip, ´Brazil´, is an original treatment of the standard."


The Coasters of 1956.
Coasters ad, 1956
Original Atco 45 single "One Kiss Led To Another".

Billboard's Year-End R&B Chart
1. Bill Doggett - Honky Tonk
2. Fats Domino - I'm In Love Again
3. Little Richard - Long Tall Sally
4. Little Willie John - Fever
5. The Platters - The Great Pretender


The Best rock ´n´ roll records of the year - according to
Life Rock & Roll Gallery:
1. Why Do Fools Fall in Love - THE TEENAGERS
2. In the Still of the Night - THE FIVE SATINS
3. Tutti Frutti - LITTLE RICHARD
4. Blueberry Hill  - FATS DOMINO
5. Don't Be Cruel / Hound Dog - ELVIS PRESLEY
Bill Daniels' Dusty Chart 1956

The Best rock ´n´ roll songs of the year - according to The Rock ´n´ Roll Vault:

1. Hound Dog - Elvis Presley   2. Blue Suede Shoes - Carl Perkins   3. Long Tall Sally - Little Richard    4. Roll Over Beethoven - Chuck Berry   5. My Prayer - The Platters   6. Be-Bop-A-Lula - Gene Vincent   7. The Great Pretender - The Platters   8. Don’t Be Cruel - Elvis Presley   9. Singing the Blues - Guy Mitchell   10. Heartbreak Hotel - Elvis Presley.

Greatest 10 Songs of 1956 according to DigitalDreamDoor
1. Hound Dog - Elvis Presley
2. Long Tall Sally - Little Richard
3. Blue Suede Shoes - Carl Perkins
4. Don't Be Cruel - Elvis Presley
5. Be-Bop-A-Lula - Gene Vincent & the Bluecaps
6. Fever - Little Willie John
7. In The Still Of The Nite - Five Satins
8. Blueberry Hill - Fats Domino
9. Please, Please, Please - James Brown & the Famous Flames
10. I Walk The Line - Johnny Cash and the Tennessee Two

100 Greatest Recordings of 1956

The Coasters´ touring schedule:
April 20: 
one week revue, Chicago Palace with Mickey & Sylvia, Ella Johnson with Buddy Johnson Combo.  May:   one week at the Regal Theatre, Chicago. May 11:  one week at the Apollo Theatre, New York with Al Hibbler, and Mickey & Sylvia.  July 28:  Blues Jubilee at the Los Angeles Shrine Auditorium with Fats Domino, Clyde McPhatter, The Six Teens, The Teen Queens, The Turks, and Oscar McLollie.  August:   guests at Leroy Connely´s live show at the 54 Ballroom in Los Angeles.   September 28:  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.  November 9:  the Apollo Theatre, New York with The Cardinals, Gloria Lynne, Della Reese, and Erskine Hawkins.
At the Apollo in May. Ad. for "One Kiss Led To Another" c/ "Brazil".

Top left: Bobby Nunn. Center image: Gardner, Hughes, and Guy. Photo ctsy Veta Gardner.

After a long season of road touring (with the singing quartet completed by fifth member, guitarist Adolph Jacobs born in Pineland, East Texas), the Coasters enter the recording studios in Hollywood again, in February. The first single from this session results in a double-sided smash. Billboard March 23 review of Atco 6087: "The group is swingy, attractive side in ´Young Blood´, which is bound to pull considerable jockey attention. The rhythm-ballad has powerful lyric appeal for teen-agers, and standout trick-voicing effects. Flip is ´Searchin´´." Billboard May 6 "This Weeks Best Buys" (R&B): "Both numbers are being requested but ´Young Blood´ seems to be the top side. After a fair period, sales have begun to grow and now the platter is big in Baltimore, Pittsburgh, Milwaukee and the Southern districts. Strong sales are reported in St. Louis, New York and Buffalo." The original A-side is titled Young Blood (a ghetto rocker about street-corner society, led by the delicious and amusing Gardner, with incredible assistance from his fellow group members).
"(Young Blood) the most lascivious of all 'girl-following' rock 'n' roll songs and the very pinnacle of male chauvinist piggery", Bill Millar wrote in "The Coasters" (Star Books, UK, 1974). Young Blood enters the U.S. Pop chart May 1 and peaks at #8, staying on the charts for 24 weeks; and reaching the national Best Seller R&B chart #1 position on June 3. The B-side Searchin´ (a ruff blues about finding the loved one, featuring Mike Stollers´ inspired alley-piano, and with an unforgettable shrill and vociferous baritone lead by Guy) follows on May 8 and peaks at Pop #3, hitting for a total of 26 weeks; succeeding the original A-side at the R&B Best Seller chart´s #1 position from June 10 for a further 12 weeks during the summer - an achievement only surpassed by a few other classic R&B titles. Searchin´ also occupies the national R&B Disc Jockey chart at #1 for 7 weeks and the Juke Box chart # 1 for 2 weeks (until that chart discloses), with its wonderful flip at #2 on those charts. A unique phenomenon - both titles of a single charting the U.S. Pop Top 10 - and being hits for half a year, establishes this record as the most famous of all R&B records. Searchin´ reaches #30 on the British Pop chart. Disc Jockeys of America vote the Coasters the "Most Promising Up-And-Coming Vocal Group" in July. The Coasters are rewarded million seller platters for Searchin´ and Young Blood at Steve Allen´s TV-show on August 25. Atco´s and the Coasters´ first LP, "The Coasters" (including several Robins´ Spark recordings and with a photo from the TV-show) is issued in November. The follow-up single (done in Chicago in July), Idol With The Golden Head, only reaches the national Pop chart #64 (but has become one of the Coasters´ most favorite classics). Billboard September 23 review of Atco 6098: "The group comes on strongly with their selling of ´Baby´ (My Baby Comes To Me). With ´Young Blood´ and ´Searchin´´ still going well, their similar approach here can make for a smash follow-up. ´Idol´ is interesting material with unusual lyrics and is presented at an attractive medium-tempo pace. Both sides appear winners." Billboard September 23 "This Week´s Best Buys" (R&B): "Both sides are being requested, and sales are about equal at this point. The platter looks like another two-sided hit-pop action, too." The next two singles, comprising terrific ghetto blues songs, including Sweet Georgia Brown (where Gardner, Guy and Nunn scream out superb individual leads), and the New York-recorded Gee, Golly (one of DJ Alan Freed´s favorites), both fail to score.  Billboard November 18 review of Atco 6104 (Sweet Georgia Brown): "The group leisurely paced the old standard with a fresch approach that draws the most out of each word. The lead gives a very knowing vocal and is excellently supported by the group with good ork backing. Strong side can put the ´Young Blood´ crew back in the chips. Flip is an attractive go on an off-beat side called ´What is the Secret of Your Success´." The annual Cash Box poll vote Searchin' as "Best R&B Record of the Year" and the Coasters as "Best R&B Vocal Group". (note: See "Gee, Golly" review at 1958).


Ad for the famous double-sider.


Billboard's Year-End R&B Chart
1. Elvis Presley - Jailhouse Rock / Treat Me Nice
2. The Coasters - Searchin'  / Young Blood
3. Sam Cooke - You Send Me
4. Everly Brothers - Wake Up Little Susie
5. Elvis Presley - All Shook Up

The Best rock ´n´ roll records of the year - according to
Life Rock & Roll Gallery:
2. You Send Me - SAM COOKE
3. Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On - JERRY LEE LEWIS
4. Searchin'  - THE COASTERS

Bill Daniels' Dusty Chart 1957

The Best rock 'n' roll songs of the year - according to The Rock ´n´ Roll Vault:
1. That’ll Be the Day - Buddy Holly and The Crickets   2. Jailhouse Rock - Elvis Presley   3. Wake Up Little Susie - The Everly Brothers   4. You Send Me - Sam Cooke    5. Blueberry Hill - Fats Domino   6. Bye Bye Love - The Everly Brothers   7. All Shook Up - Elvis Presley   8. I’m in Love Again - Fats Domino (act. a 1956 hit)   9. Whole Lot of Shakin’ Going On - Jerry Lee Lewis   10. Peggy Sue - Buddy Holly.

Greatest 12 Songs of 1957 according to DigitalDreamDoor
1. Jailhouse Rock - Elvis Presley
2. Whole Lot of Shakin' Going On - Jerry Lee Lewis
3. That'll Be The Day - Crickets
4. Bye Bye Love - Everly Brothers
5. Great Balls Of Fire - Jerry Lee Lewis
6. School Day - Chuck Berry
7. Rock And Roll Music - Chuck Berry
8. Peggy Sue - Buddy Holly
9. Lucille - Little Richard
10. Rocking Pneumonia & the Boogie Woogie Flu - Huey "Piano" Smith & the Clowns

11. All Shook Up - Elvis Presley
12. Searchin'  - Coasters

100 Greatest Recordings of 1957

The original "Searchin´" 45rpm Atco single.




From "The Cash Box" magazine cover - see below.Mike Stoller, Lester Sill, and Jerry Leiber.
The Cash Box magazine September 15, 1957.The Coasters´ first LP - Atco 33-101.
The Cash Box September 14, 1957
The Coasters receiving their two Golden Records for the double-hit "Searchin´" / "Young Blood"

on the Steve Allen TV-show on August 25, 1957. Gardner, Guy, Nunn, Allen, Hughes, and seated Jacobs.
Image top right: Mike Stoller, Lester Sill, and Jerry Lieber

The Coasters´ touring schedule:
April 26-28: 
the Broadway Capitol Theatre, Detroit with Faye Adams, Jack Scott, Johnny & Joe, Amos Milburn, Johnny Janis, and the Red Prysock Combo.  May 17:  one week at the Howard Theatre, Washington, D.C. with Shirley & Lee, The Cleftones, Bobby Marchan, and Huey Smith.  June 7:  the Apollo Theatre, New York with LaVern Baker, The Heartbeats, Johnny & Joe, Johnny Mathis, and the Red Prysock Band.   June 14:  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.  June 22:  the Municipal Auditorium, Charleston with the show above plus Bobby Parker, Johnny Hartman, The Spence Twins, and the Paul Williams Orchestra.  July 10:  the Municipal Auditorium, New Orleans with the show above and Dave Bartholomew´s Orchestra.  July:  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.  August 25:  TV appearance at the Steve Allen TV-show ("Searchin´").  September:  the Mammoth Gardens, Denver, Colorado with The Five Satins, and The Cellos. September 23:  Dick Clark TV-show ("Searchin'" again). October 18:  travelling Revue in Oklahoma City with Lowell Fulson, Lillian Offitt, The Cadillacs, Johnny "Guitar" Watson, and the Ernie Freeman Combo.  November 15:  one week at the Howard Theatre in Washington, D.C. with The Hollywood Flames, and the Ernie Freeman Combo.


Atco single 45-6104

Dance 45 single.


The Coasters at Dick Clark´s TV show (1958) with the gold record of "Yakety Yak". Jones, Gardner, Gunter and (bottom) Jacobs and Guy.

Carl Gardner and Will "Dub" Jones.Billy Guy and Cornell Gunter.
The classic Coasters (in 1958).

Billboard February 10 review of Atco 6111 (Gee, Golly): "The group has a relaxed, slow rhythm sound here on an arrangement that bears a touch of ´Searchin´´. Wax has the sound and it could easaly move out. (Dance!): the boys work out on a rocker here with a slightly Latanish kick. Fair effort but flip would be the side." Nunn and Hughes are fired by Lester Sill in late 1957. The Coasters re-form and move to New York in January (Leiber-Stoller had moved in October, 1957), changing the image of the group - from heavy black ghetto blues-styled singing - to 2-minute playlets aimed at young middle-class America. Gardner and Guy are joined by two further Californians, Cornell Gunter (originally promoted as Cornel or Cornelius Gunter) and Will "Dub" Jones, who immediately share leads on a superb revival of Zing! Went The Strings Of My Heart (nowadays a "beach music" classic), recorded at Atlantic´s modernized studios, with the legendary Tom Dowd as engineer, in March. Texas-born King Curtis makes his debut as a Coasters side-man on that title and especially on this record´s famous A-side (with the group now vocalizing in the unique unison way that becomes their special trade-mark), Yakety Yak, which hits U.S. Pop #1 and R&B #1 in June (the first hit epitomizing Leiber-Stoller´s special Coasters´ style, ironizing teenagers view on the adult generation). It holds R&B Best Seller #1 for 7 weeks and R&B Disc Jockey #1 for 6 weeks. The record also sky-rockets the Coasters to international fame, reaching #12 on the British Pop chart. The group is awarded their second golden record on the Dick Clark TV-show. Billboard May 5 review of Atco 6116: "The group has a saleable sound on this rocker novelty. The lyrics are musing and the harmonies are attractive. This could also collect pop coin. Flip is a rhythmic revival of ´Zing!..´." The annual Cash Box poll vote Yakety Yak as "Best R&B Record of the Year" and the Coasters as "Best R&B Vocal Group". The follow-up, a Guy-led off-shot of the comics & radio series hero, The Shadow Knows, fails to score. Billboard August 25 review of Atco 6126: "The Coasters follow up their smash ´Yakety Yak´ with a funky novelty that has down to earth feeling. Kids can dance to this one and it has a chance to bust thru quickly. Watch it. (Sorry, But I´m Gonna...): A swinging novelty with a lilting beat is sold with spirit by the Coasters over a listenable bass figure. Good side by the boys altho the flip is more important."  Jimmy Norman (born August 12, 1937 in Nashville) joins Jesse Belvin´s Chargers in Los Angeles.

The Coasters in August 1958.


"Rhythm and Blues" magazine of 1958.
At Dick Clark´s TV show with "Yakety Yak" gold in 1958. Gardner, Jones, Sill, Guy, Gunter.

Billboard's Year-End R&B Chart
1. Chuck Willis - What Am I Living For / Hang Up My Rock & Roll Shoes
2. Bobby Day - Rock-In Robin
3. Elvis Presley - Don't / Beg Of You
4. Nat King Cole - Looking Back / Do I Like It
5. Everly Brothers - All I Have To Do Is Dream


The Best rock ´n´ roll records of the year - according to
Life Rock & Roll Gallery:
3. Johnny B. Goode - CHUCK BERRY
4. Lonely Teardrops - JACKIE WILSON
5. Summertime Blues - EDDIE COCHRAN
Bill Daniels' Dusty Chart 1958

The Best rock ´n´ roll songs of the year - according to The Rock ´n´ Roll Vault:
1. At the Hop - Danny and The Juniors   2. Johnny B. Goode - Chuck Berry   3. Summertime Blues - Eddie Cochran    4. Great Balls of Fire - Jerry Lee Lewis   5. Good Golly, Miss Molly - Little Richard   6. It’s All in the Game - Tommy Edwards   7. Sweet Little Sixteen - Chuck Berry   8. It’s Only Make Believe - Conway Twitty   9. Poor Little Fool - Ricky Nelson   10. All I Have to Do is Dream - The Everly Brother

Greatest 10 Songs of 1958 according to DigitalDreamDoor
1. Johnny B. Goode - Chuck Berry
2. Summertime Blues - Eddie Cochran
3. Good Golly Miss Molly - Little Richard (rec. 1956)
4. For Your Precious Love - Jerry Butler & the Impressions
5. Sweet Little Sixteen - Chuck Berry
6. Yakety Yak - Coasters
7. La Bamba - Ritchie Valens
8. Since I Don't Have You - Skyliners
9. Rumble - Link Wray
10. Lonely Teardrops - Jackie Wilson

100 Greatest Recordings of 1958

London single with picture sleeve.

The Coasters with Dick Clark in 1958.

The Coasters´ touring schedule:
April: the Apollo Theatre, New York with Fats Domino, the Flamingos, the Spaniels, the Dells, and dj Tommy Smalls. June 13:  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.  July 22: the Armory in Klamatch Falls, Oregon with Ernie Freeman and his orchestra.  August 5TV appearance on the American Bandstand ("Yakety Yak").  August 16:  TV appearance at the Dick Clark Show with Frankie Avalon, Patrick Wayne, and Mary Swan.  September 19:  the Apollo Theatre with The Spaniels, The Danleers, The Olympics, Bobby Hendricks, The Quintones, and Sil Austin´s Combo.  September 26:  the Howard Theatre, Washington, D.C. with The Danleers, The Dubs, and Wynona Carr.  October 2:  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. December 25:  the Howard Theatre, Washington, D.C. with The Chantels, and Buddy and Ella Johnson.

The "Charlie Brown" single.The flip of "Charlie Brown", "Three Cool Cats".
Gunter, Gardner, Guy and Jones in 1959.

Program 1958.

This year becomes the Coasters´ peak year of their career, starting in February with the internationally top selling story of the incorrigible schoolkid, Charlie Brown, hitting #2 on both the new Hot 100 Pop Chart in the U.S., and on the R&B Hot Chart (plus Pop #6 in the U.K.). It becomes their third million seller. Billboard January 19 review of Atco 6132: "The Coasters turn in an attractive reading concerning the problems of Charlie Brown on this rocking side. Could get coins. Watch it. Good teen lyric. (Three Cool Cats): On this side the Coasters tell of three cats who stand on the street corner watching the chicks as they stroll by. Interesting side, but flip appears stronger." GAC organize a "Biggest Show of Stars, Spring Edition" in March where the Coasters join Lloyd Price, Clyde McPhatter, the Crests, Bo Diddley, and Little Anthony & the Imperials on a package tour. Charlie Brown´s follow-up is Along Came Jones with the prolific Dub Jones acting TV Western cliche-hero with his by now well-known clowning bass vocal, and Albert "Sonny" Forriest succeeding Jacobs as the group´s guitarist (although the banjo, Leiber-Stoller´s special rock ´n´ roll trade-mark, gets the head rhythm role). It hits U.S. Hot 100 #9 and R&B #14 in June. Billboard May 4 review of Atco 6141: "Usual hit approach by the Coasters on hilarious tunes affords them with a likely two-sider. ´Jones´ is a parody of Westerns with Jones coming to the rescue whenever the damsel is in distress. Flip is a ditty about the birth of rock and roll." In October the fourth million seller, Poison Ivy, a magnificent Gardner-Guy duet moralizing over dangerous females (probably the group´s finest ever effort, covered by dozens of later acts) hits R&B #1 for 4 weeks and reaches #7 on the Hot 100 (and peaks at #15 in England). Its flip (originally intended for A-side), I´m A Hog For You, becomes a Pop hit (#38) and later a collectors´ absolute gem. Billboard August 10 review of Atco 6146: "The Coasters are a likely bet to click again with these hot contenders. Either side can come off for top honors. ´Ivy´ is an interesting bit of material that compares a gal to the well-known weed. ´I´m A Hog For You´ is a peppy blues effort that is also performed with the hit sound." The album "The Coasters´ Greatest Hits" is issued (probably one of original rock ´n´ roll´s most qualitative albums) in October. The Coasters´ last single of 1959 becomes another double-seller. The sardonic What About Us (Pop #47, R&B #17) is coupled with a poker-playing monkey in Guy leading Run Red Run (Pop #36, R&B #29). Billboard November 23 review of Atco 6153: "The group figures to continue its hit spree with this great coupling. Top side (Run Red Run) is about a wild poker game and features crazy piano backing by Mike Stoller. Flip is a complaint about a friend who has everything. Either or both sides here." The Coasters´ records are hailed as pop master-pieces.


"Charlie Brown" ad 1959.

In the Atlantic studios 1959.

In the Atlantic studios March 26, 1959.

Billboard's Year-End R&B Chart
1. Lloyd Price - Stagger Lee
2. Brook Benton - It's Just A Matter Of Time
3. Wilbert Harrison - Kansas City
4. Jackie Wilson - Lonely Teardrops
5. Lloyd Price - Personality


The Best rock ´n´ roll records of the year - according to
Life Rock & Roll Gallery:
1. Teenager in Love - DION AND THE BELMONTS
3. There Goes My Baby - THE DRIFTERS
4. Donna / La Bamba - RITCHIE VALENS
5. Sixteen Candles - THE CRESTS
Bill Daniels' Dusty Chart 1959

The Best rock ´n´ roll songs of the year - according to The Rock ´n´ Roll Vault:
1. Mack the Knife - Bobby Darin   2. What’d I Say - Ray Charles   3. Kansas City - Wilbert Harrison    4. Smoke Gets in Your Eyes - The Platters   5. Whole Lotta Loving - Fats Domino   6. Stagger Lee - Lloyd Price    7. Donna - Ritchie Valens   8. A Lover’s Question - Clyde McPhatter   9. 16 Candles - The Crests   10. There Goes My Baby - The Drifters.

Greatest 10 Songs of 1959 according to DigitalDreamDoor
1. What'd I Say - Ray Charles
2. I Only Have Eyes For You - Flamingos
3. Mack The Knife - Bobby Darin
4. There Goes My Baby - Drifters
5. Shout - Isley Brothers
6. Kansas City - Wilbert Harrison
7. Poison Ivy - Coasters
8. Money - Barrett Strong
9. Love Potion No. 9 - Clovers
10. You're So Fine - Falcons

100 Greatest Recordings of 1959



The Coasters´ touring schedule:
March 7: 
The Dick Clark TV Show with Dale Hawkins, Paul Anka, and Jaye P. Morgan.  March 13:  one week at the Howard Theatre, Washington, D.C. with Clyde McPhatter, and Nina Simone.  March 27:  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. May 7: Dick Clark TV-show (“Charlie Brown”). May 19: the Auditorium at Klamath Falls, Oregon with Ernie Freeman and his orchestra. July 3:  one week at the Apollo Theatre, New York with The Falcons.  August 7:  one week at the Howard Theatre, Washington, D.C. with Milt Buckner, Tiny Topsy, and the Jesse Powell Combo.   September 4:  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.  September 18:  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.  November 26:  TV appearance on "American Bandstand" ("What About Us").

"The Biggest Stars of 1959".


On tour in 1959.

Alomg Came JonesPoison Ivy
From "The Biggest Show of Stars of 59"  spring edition program.The original "The Coasters´ Greatest Hits".
From a Swedish EP cover of "Wake Me, Shake Me".



The "Wake Me, Shake Me" Atco single.
The Coasters revive Besame Mucho (Pop #70), with Jones acting bass lead. That record is followed by the Billy Guy penned gospel-based story of a recalcitrant garbage man, Wake Me, Shake Me (Pop #51, R&B #14 that summer). In July the Coasters wax the magnificent Shoppin´ For Clothes (where Guy tries to buy an expensive suit on credit from Jones). It only reaches Pop #83 on the Billboard chart and #57 on the Cash Box chart (never even hitting the national R&B chart) but becomes a huge Coasters-fans´ favorite, which splendidly showcases the group´s original black ghetto roots (the song is based on a forgotten West-Coast R&B record written by Kent Harris, titled Clothes Line - in the Coasters´ version issued as composed by Elmo Glick, an often used pseudonym of Stoller´s, who certainly gives new dimensions to this classic). Some later pressings of the Coasters' version were issued as "Clothes Line (Wrap It Up)", which was the original title by Harris. Later Leiber-Stoller-Harris were credited as composers to "Shoppin' For Clothes". The album "One By One" (comprising individual soft-jazz standard vocals) is issued during early Autumn. It introduces Gardner, Guy, Gunter, and Jones as wonderful and smooth vocal individuals.

| More on Shoppin' for Clothes |

The Coasters´ touring schedule:
From March 18  Two weeks at the Apollo with Isley Brothers and Save “Baby” Cortez. From April 16: The Biggest Show of Stars tour in the Eastern stateswith Lloyd Price, Little Anthony and the Imperials, Clyde McPhatter, Bo Diddley, Jimmy Reed a.o. From late June: Twelve states tour ranging from Maryland and Florida to Texas and Wisonsin. From July 8: Weeklong stint at the Regal in Chicago with Ray Charles. Fall and winter 1960: Apollo Theatre and the chitlin’ circuit in the South featuring Little Anthony, Bo Diddley, Brook Benton, Lloyd Price, the Drifters, Ray Charles and his revue (with Betty Carter and the Raelets). From December 3: the annual Brooklyn Paramount Theater Christmas Show with Chubby Checker, Ray Charles, Neil Sedaka, the Drifters, the Shirelles, Dion and others.

The Clay Cole Christmas Show

Billboard's Year-End R&B Chart
1. Brook Benton - Kiddio
2. Brook Benton/Dinah Washington - Baby (You've Got What It Takes)
3. Ike & Tina Turner - A Fool In Love
4. Chubby Checker - The Twist
5. Sam Cooke - Chain Gang

The Best rock ´n´ roll records of the year - according to
Life Rock & Roll Gallery:
1. I'm Sorry - BRENDA LEE
2. Teen Angel - MARK DINNING
3. Theme from A Summer Place - PERCY FAITH
4. Only the Lonely - ROY ORBISON

The Best rock ´n´ roll songs of the year - according to The Rock ´n´ Roll Vault:

1. The Twist - Chubby Checker   2. Cathy’s Clown - The Everly Brothers   3. Stay - Maurice Williams and The Zodiacs   4. Chain Gang - Sam Cooke   5. Only the Lonely - Roy Orbison   6. New Orleans - Gary U.S. Bonds   7. Save the Last Dance for Me - The Drifters   8. Wonderful World - Sam Cooke    9. Running Bear - Johnny Preston   10. You’re Sixteen - Johnny Burnette.
Top R&B Hits of the 1950s and 1960s
Greatest 10 Songs of 1960 according to DigitalDreamDoor
1. Will You Love Me Tomorrow - Shirelles
2. Georgia On My Mind - Ray Charles
3. Only The Lonely - Roy Orbison
4. Let's Go, Let's Go, Let's Go - Hank Ballard & the Midnighters
5. Stay - Maurice Williams & the Zodiacs
6. Chain Gang - Sam Cooke
7. Spoonful - Howlin' Wolf
8. Shop Around - Miracles
9. The Twist - Chubby Checker
10. Cathy's Clown - Everly Brothers

100 Greatest Recordings of 1960


Cash Box ad for "Besame Mucho".
  The "One By One" LP of 1960 - Atco LP 33-123.

Written by Bobby Darin-Don Kirshner, and released in January, Wait A Minute (recorded at Capitol´s studios in New York in December, 1957, with Guy in terrific action), hits Pop #37. This record is followed by the Coasters´ last U.S. Pop Top 30 hit, Leiber-Stoller's own favorite - the original story of Little Egypt (Ying-Yang); with Gardner introducing the tattooed belly dancer, who by the end of the story will become lead singer Guy´s wife. Little Egypt reaches Hot 100 #23 and R&B #16 in June, just as Earl Carroll (who had disbanded his Cadillacs) joins the group, by suggestion from the group´s soon-to-be new manager Lover Patterson, to replace Cornell Gunter. Lester Sill had stayed in Hollywood and managed the Coasters from there. The group is scheduled for a European tour, but several of the members fear the flight. Little Egypt is followed by another Leiber-Stoller song - originally written directly for the Coasters and later copied by Elvis Presley, Girls Girls Girls (Pop #96). The first single with Carroll, (Ain't That) Just Like Me, fails to score.

The "Wait A Minute" Atco single of 1961.

"(Ain't That) Just Like Me" ad."(Ain´t That) Just Like Me" Atco single of 1961 - included in "Coast Along" LP.

The Coasters´ touring schedule:
January-February: a pair of weeklong engagements at the Howard in Washington. February 25: TV-appearance on NBC’s Saturday Prom, New York City. February-March: regular stints at the Apollo in New York. Circa early 1961: Guests at Wink Martindale’s game-show in Las Vegas. Circa June-July: the Regal in Chicago with Ray Charles and Betty Carter. From September 29 (with Earl Carroll replacing Gunter): Rockland Palace, New York City with Jackie Wilson, Jerry Lee Lewis, Ruth Brown, the Vibrations, and Chris Kenner. This troup playing clubs and concert halls in the Northwest and Midwest through October.

Handbill of circa 1961.

Billboard's Year-End R&B Chart
1. Bobby Lewis - Tossin' And Turnin'
2. Ike & Tina Turner - It's Gonna Work Out Fine
3. Bobby Bland - Don't Cry No More
4. Freddy King - Hideaway
5. The Miracles - Shop Around


The Best rock ´n´ roll records of the year - according to
Life Rock & Roll Gallery:
1. Hit the Road Jack - RAY CHARLES
2. Bristol Stomp - THE DOVELLS
3. Please Mr. Postman - THE MARVELETTES
4. Blue Moon - MARCELS
5. Runaway - DEL SHANNON

The Best rock ´n´ roll songs of the year - according to The Rock ´n´ Roll Vault:

1. Tossin’ and Turnin’ - Bobby Lewis    2. Runaway - Del Shannon   3. Runaround Sue - Dion    4. Travellin’ Man - Ricky Nelson   5. Quarter to Three - Gary U.S. Bonds   6. Hit the Road Jack - Ray Charles    7. Running Scared - Roy Orbison   8. Stand By Me - Ben E. King   9. Will You Love Me Tomorrow - The Shirelles    10. Crying - Roy Orbison.

Greatest 10 Songs of 1961 according to DigitalDreamDoor
1. Stand By Me - Ben E. King
2. Crazy - Patsy Cline
3. The Wanderer - Dion
4. Runaround Sue - Dion
5. Crying - Roy Orbison
6. Hit The Road Jack - Ray Charles
7. Runaway - Del Shannon
8. Quarter To Three - Gary U.S. Bonds
9. It Will Stand - Showmen
10. Running Scared - Roy Orbison

100 Greatest Recordings of 1961

Ad. for Girls Girls Girls (note the commas).

Now without hit records (Ridin' Hood - recorded in Los Angeles in 1960 and produced by Lester Sill and Lee Hazlewood - fails), the group is still popular on TV appearances and live shows all over America (even doing Coca Cola commercial jingles during the 1960s). Thomas "Curley" Palmer (born in El Paso, Texas on August 15, 1929 and a veteran R&B stage musical director) becomes the Coasters´ third regular guitarist around February, debuting at Atlantic´s new NYC studios, with the unscoring Jones-led dance-craze satire, The Climb, in July (originally intended to be named The Slime). The fourth Atco Coasters´ LP, "Coast Along with The Coasters", is issued late that year (although produced already in 1961). Several of the tracks on the stereo edition of that album turn out to be alternate and edited takes. Billy Guy debuts as a solo artist on ABC-Paramount and records Women for Lloyd Price´s Double-L Records in Detroit (Guy´s recordings will be issued on several "Coasters" LPs during the ´70s), but he continues to record with the Coasters for a further ten years.


The "Ridin' Hood" single of 1962 (recorded 1960).

Billboard's Year-End R&B Chart
1. King Curtis - Soul Twist
2. Ray Charles - I Can't Stop Loving You
3. The Isley Brothers - Twist And Shout
4. Sam Cooke - Bring It On Home To Me
5. James Brown & The Famous Flames - Lost Someone


The Best rock ´n´ roll records of the year - according to
Life Rock & Roll Gallery:
1. Big Girls Don't Cry - THE FOUR SEASONS
2. He's A Rebel - THE CRYSTALS
3. You've Really Got a Hold on Me - THE MIRACLES
4. Duke of Earl - GENE CHANDLER
5. Twist and Shout - THE ISLEY BROTHERS

The Best rock ´n´ roll songs of the year - according to The Rock ´n´ Roll Vault:
1. Big Girls Don’t Cry - The Four Seasons    2. Return to Sender - Elvis Presley   3. The Locomotion - Little Eva   4. Sherry - The Four Seasons   5. The Peppermint Twist - Joey Dee and The Starliters   6. Dream Baby - Roy Orbison   7. Can’t Help Falling in Love - Elvis Presley    8. The Wanderer - Dion   9. Do You Love Me - The Contours   10. Green Onions - Booker T. and The MGs.

Greatest 10 Songs of 1962 according to DigitalDreamDoor
1. Green Onions - Booker T. & the MG's
2. Bring It On Home To Me - Sam Cooke
3. You've Really Got A Hold On Me - Miracles
4. The Loco-Motion - Little Eva
5. Sherry - Four Seasons
6. I Can't Stop Loving You - Ray Charles
7. Up On The Roof - Drifters
8. Twist And Shout - Isley Brothers
9. These Arms Of Mine - Otis Redding
10. Do You Love Me - Contours

100 Greatest Recordings of 1962

"Coast Along With The Coasters" - Atco LP (the stereoe version)."The Climb" - vocal

The Coasters´ touring schedule:
March: One week at the Apollo in New York with Ben E. King, Solomon Burke, Huey Piano Smith and the Clowns. May 11: Porky Chedwick concert at the Pittsburgh Civic Arena, featuring several other vocal groups. September: the Zanzibar in Pittsburgh with the Contours, and Aretha Franklin. November: one week at the Apollo with Sam Cooke, and the Crystals. Late November: another Chedwick show at the Syria Mosque Theater in Pittsburgh with Hank Ballard and the Midnighers, the Isley Brothers, the Olympics, the Clovers, Little Esther and others.

The Touring Schedules: With thanks to Marv Goldberg, Berndt Kratochwil, and Todd Baptista..

Billy Guy sings lead on the last Leiber-Stoller produced Coasters Atco recording, The P.T.A., in January. Bobby Nunn, who had to leave the Coasters in late 1957, officially for health reasons (although Lester Sill had fired both Nunn and Hughes), forms "The Coasters, Mark II" in L. A. Gunter, who recently had sung with D´s Gents as back-up singer for Dinah Washington, embarks another rival Coasters group on the West Coast (later known as "The Fabulous Coasters"). Leiber-Stoller (who had produced nearly all and written most of the Coasters´ recordings) leave Atco.

The P.T.A.

Billboard's Year-End R&B Chart
1. Little Johnny Taylor - Part Time Love
2. Inez Foxx - Mockingbird
3. Jackie Wilson - Baby Workout
4. Little Stevie Wonder - Fingertips
5. Martha & The Vandellas - Heat Wave


The Best rock ´n´ roll records of the year - according to
Life Rock & Roll Gallery:
1. Fingertips (Part 2) - LITTLE STEVIE WONDER
2. Be My Baby - THE RONETTES
3. Surf City - JAN AND DEAN
4. He's So Fine - THE CHIFFONS
5. Louie Louie - THE KINGSMEN

The Best rock ´n´ roll songs of the year - according to The Rock ´n´ Roll Vault:
1. Louie Louie - The Kingsmen   2. Sugar Shack - Jimmy Gilmer and The Fireballs   3. Fingertips – Pt. 2 - Little Stevie Wonder   4. He’s So Fine - The Chiffons   5. Walk Like a Man - The Four Seasons   6. Be My Baby - The Ronettes    7. Heatwave - Martha and The Vandellas   8. Up On the Roof - The Drifters   9. Wipe Out - The Surfaris   10. Surfin’ U.S.A. - The Beach Boys.
100 Greatest Recordings of 1963


Chubby Checker and Claus Röhnisch (aged 19) at Karlskoga People´s Park in 1963.
aily newspaper in Sweden writes "Unknown youngster out-twists Chubby".

The Coasters are back on the Pop charts (after four unsuccessful releases) with T´Ain´t Nothin´ To Me (Hot 100 #64 in April - and R&B #20 during ten weeks from March-May on the Cash Box Chart), recorded live at the Apollo Theater in November, 1963, with Guy and Jones in magnificent clowning moods. The follow-up record, Bad Detective, fails. Issued in October, a revival of the old Robins´ song I Must Be Dreaming (now with Guy and Gardner splitting leads on a rhythmic soul-blues shuffle), b/w Wild One (written by Billy Guy - about "beatlemania"), also fail to score.

Lovey Dovey

Billboard's Year-End R&B Chart
no chart published in 1964

100 Greatest Recordings of 1964

The Coasters in 1965 with Gardner, Carrroll, Guy and Jones.

The budget LP "That Is Rock & Roll" (named after the Coasters´ famous flip record title of 1959) is issued on Atlantic´s subsidiary Clarion around January (comprising stereo versions and alternate takes), and the group's next single, Lady Like (recorded at the "Wake Me, Shake Me" session in 1960), fails to score. The Coasters appear at the "Shindig" TV-show on February 10 (doing a great live "What Is The Secret"..., plus "Along Came Jones" and "Searchin'"), and wax a Coca-Cola jingle. Billy Guy leads the original and funky Let´s Go Get Stoned soul-ballad in April, a year before Ray Charles makes a #1 hit of the Simpson-Ashford-Armstead composition (one of their first - recorded by Charles on December 5, 1965. The Coasters appear at the Royal Theatre in Baltimore with the Supremes, Hank Ballard & the Midnighters, Martha & the Vandellas, Marvin Gaye, Wilson Pickett, and the Royalettes. Gunter´s Coasters tour the U.K. The next Coasters Atco single, Motown-inspired Crazy Baby, written by lead Billy Guy, fails (but is worth £150.00 in Britain today). Lover Patterson dies.

"Craxy Baby" - A Billy Guy Production.

Billboard's Year-End R&B Chart
1. The Four Tops - I Can't Help Myself
2. Wilson Pickett - In The Midnight Hour
3. Jr. Walker & The All Stars - Shotgun
4. Billy Stewart - I Do Love You
5. Barbara Mason - Yes, I' m Ready

100 Greatest Recordings of 1965

   Coca-Cola jingle 33-vinyl of 1965.

the original Let´s Go Get StonedThe Coasters (with Carroll, Gardner, Guy, and seated Jones) at the "Shindig" TV show in 1965.
Shindig TV 1965.
"Let's Go Get Stoned" single. What Is The Secret Of Your Success, and I'ts All Right (Shindig TV).

The Coasters´ Atco contract expires after a last recording, She´s A Yum Yum, produced by King Curtis in January, but Leiber-Stoller offer them a stay with CBS subsidiary Date Records, where they in November do a lively and psychodelic Soul Pad c/w a truly funky cover of New Orleans blues singer Alvin Robinson´s (1964) original Down Home Girl at A&R Studios in NYC. The single fails to score, but later becomes one of the Coasters´ several classics and a favorite among 60s´soul fans. Around this time James Evans (Wilson Pickett´s manager) becomes the Coasters´ new manager - a task he will fulfill until the early 1980s.

1966 (ctsy Bill Millar).

Billboard's Year-End R&B Chart
1. Sam & Dave - Hold On! I'm Comin'
2. The Capitols - Cool Jerk
3. Slim Harpo - Baby Scratch My Back
4. The Temptations - Ain't Too Proud To Beg
5. Robert Parker - Barefootin'

100 Greatest Recordings of 1966

With Artie Butler as arranger/director, the Coasters wax the fabulous D.W. Washburn at Columbia´s studios in October (where Gardner, in vain, tries to get "wino" Billy Guy saved for a better life). This song is probably one of Leiber-Stoller´s absolute best and it suits the revived Coasters just as excellently as the earlier West-Coast ghetto blues songs. The song is held back for issue by their original, but at this time former manager Lester Sill - now responsible for the Monkees, who cover it for an international hit the following year. The Coasters´ original will be issued on Date in July, 1968 and later reissued twice (on King in November, 1971 - and in 1973).

Date singe "D.W. Washburn".

Billboard's Year-End R&B Chart
1. Aretha Franklin - Respect
2. Sam & Dave - Soul Man
3. Aretha Franklin - I Never Loved A Man (The Way I Love You)
4. Betty Swann - Make Me Yours
5. Stevie Wonder - I Was Made To Love Her

100 Greatest Recordings of 1967

Date Records issue the Coasters´ swinging cover of the Leiber-Stoller written I´m A Woman (originally recorded by Christine Kittrell and Peggy Lee in 1962) titled She Can in June (later reissued on King as Talkin´ ´Bout A Woman). Original New Yorker Ronnie Bright, from the Valentines of Sugar Hill, and a late line-up of Cadillacs (also heavily engaged as studio back-up bass vocalist), joins the Coasters to replace Will Jones in April. Jones had left the Coasters (afraid of touring via air-plane flights) before the Coasters' last Columbia recording session in February.

1969 adv.

Billboard's Year-End R&B Chart
1. James Brown - Say It Loud-I'm Black And I'm Proud
2. Clarence Carter - Slip Away
3. Otis Redding - (Sittin' On) The Dock Of The Bay
4. Hugh Masekela - Grazing In The Grass
5. Marvin Gaye/Tammi Terrell - You're All I Need To Get By

100 Greatest Recordings of 1968


Jimmy Norman (veteran West Coast and N.Y. R&B and soul singer) produces a Coasters single for Lloyd Price´s Turntable label; and replaces Vernon Harrell as a regular substitute for Billy Guy. The group is featured on Richard Nader´s Rock ´n´ Roll Revival show in New York - including Billy Guy. Guy also participates with the group at the Boston Tea Party (ten live recordings from one of their shows there will surface on the bootleg CD "Greatest Hits In Concert" more than 30 years later).

Ronnie Bright, Carl Gardner, and Earl Carroll in 1969 (missing on photo: Billy Guy).

Billboard's Year-End R&B Chart
1. Jr. Walker & The All Stars - What Does It Take To Win Your Love
2. The Temptations - I Can't Get Next To You
3. James Brown - Mother Popcorn
4. Marvin Gaye - Too Busy Thinking About My Baby
5. The Isley Brothers - It's Your Thing

100 Greatest Recordings of 1969


For the first time since their initial creation the Coasters have no new recordings released (neither is any album issued). It certainly looks like the definitive decline, although Gunter´s "Fabulous Coasters" are heavily engaged on Dick Clark´s revival shows. Even the old tenor Leon Hughes tries his luck with a fake "Original Coasters" group.

On August 13 King Curtis is stabbed to death outside his home in NYC. For the third time the "true" Coasters team up with Leiber-Stoller (new share-holders of the King-Starday label), and in December they hit the national Hot 100 #76 with the Gardner-led revival of the old Clovers´ hit Love Potion Number Nine, the Coasters´ version recorded at Bell Studios in February, 1968, dubbed with Taco Meza on flute in 1971 - and advertised as Love Potion #9 in the trade magazines. Atco issue the nice "Their Greatest Recordings - The Early Years" LP in November. British Joy issue an LP by "The Coasters" titled "Hungry" which actually features twelve Billy Guy recordings of 1962, which he had done for ABC and Lloyd Price´s Double-L Records (American Trip do not issue that LP until 1973, now titled "It Ain´t Sanitary").
Atco LP 33SD-371

Poster for "Love Potion # 9" (Bright, Gardner, Guy, and bottom Carroll).

Guy, Carroll. Bright, and Gardner in 1971.
King´s  "Love Potion Number Nine".

The Coasters, who now regularly tour the revival circuit, and even travel over the Atlantic to tour Europe, are featured in Columbia Pictures´ movie "Let The Good Times Roll" (starring a.o. also Chuck Berry, Fats Domino, Little Richard, and the Shirelles). Leiber-Stoller release an album in December on King /Starday with the Coasters, "On Broadway"
  (comprising Date-recordings and several newly recorded songs). The single Cool Jerk fails to score.

The Coasters in Las Vegas 1972

1972 publ photo with Gardner, Bright, Carroll, and Guy.

The "Cool Jerk" single on King.

The group tour Europe for a second ´70s visit, this time with Jimmy Norman definitely replacing Billy Guy. They re-record some of their old hits for the New Jersey based Trip label, originally issued in 1975 and titled "16 Greatest Hits", featuring a.o. a revival of Down In Mexico (used in the cult movie "Death Proof" in 2007) - and also includig six of Guy´s Double-L recordings. Today the ten revivals are available on a Masters CD, titled "Golden Hits" - and on countless other compilations. The Coasters (now with Norman) again appear at the Boston Tea Party - four new live recordings are included on the Cornell Gunther´s (sic) Coasters bootleg CD on New Rose several years later. Soul Pad c/w D.W. Washburn becomes the Coasters´ 36th single (after 18 years of recording). Atlantic Records issue five Coasters´ Oldies singles.

The Coasters in 1972-73: Carroll, Gardner, Bright, and Guy.
Carroll, Gardner, Bright and Guy (from US "On Broadway" LP)

Billy Guy tries his luck as producer, and as a night club story-teller and issues a pornographic rhyme-speech album titled "The Tramp Is Funky" on All Platinum /Snake Eyes. Carl Gardner´s Coasters tour Australia and Europe (and hit Germany).

In Australia in 1974 [ctsy manager James Evans].

Bill Millar publishes his book "The Coasters" on Star Books in the U.K. In the U.S. Searchin´ 75 is issued on a Chelan single, produced by Bumps Blackwell, as "The Coasters Two Plus Two" (which Coasters actually are on the record is unknown to most - actually Hughes, Nunn, Chapman and Jerome Evans). Around the same time Billy Guy is featured solo on another "Coasters" single, "You Move Me".

From Bill Millars book "The Coasters".
Some images from Bill Millar´s book "The Coasters:
Top left: The Cadets (featuring Will Jons, top); Bobby Nunn of the ´70s;
Bottom left: The Coasters with Leiber-Stoller, Sill, Wexler and Ertegun in 1959.
Top right: The Cadillacs (featuring Earl Carroll, top);
Bottom right: Sonny Forriest (guitarist) and Young Jessie.

Gardner´s Coasters make a single on Wilson Pickett´s Wicked label. AIA of the U.S. and DJM of the U.K. issue an album titled "The World Famous Coasters" (an LP which features Leon Hughes and Will Jones - the latter fronting a fake line-up on a.o. If I Had A Hammer). This album is later issued on a C5 CD as "Just Coastin´".

Billy Guy waxes new recordings of old Coasters hits for Gusto in Nashville (the old King/Starday label with new owners again) together with Will Jones; and a single from that same session - Jumbo Bwana - is later issued in Europe as by the Coasters. On this session One Foot Draggin´ is born.

Carroll, Palmer, Gardner, Bright, and Norman (the late 1970s).
Carroll, Palmer, Gardner, Bright, and Norman in the late 1970s.

British Atlantic issue "20 Great Originals" (containing stereo versions of the hits). Robert Palmer publishes "Baby, That Was Rock & Roll" – a tribute to Leiber-Stoller.

The Coasters participate with Chuck Berry, Bo Diddley, the Five Satins, Jay & the Americans, a.o., at the 20th anniversary "Rock ´n ´ Roll Revival Concert" in New York. Salsa Picante issue a heavily disco-styled "The Coasters ... Coasting" album recorded by Bobby Nunn´s group featuring Bobby Sheen and Billy Richards Jr (one title though, The Big Rip-Off, written by Kent Harris, originator of Shoppin´ For Clothes, has the old ghetto style). Leiber-Stoller hit the musical scene with "Only In America", featuring 30 LS hits – later to be revived in England as "Yakety Yak". Earl Carroll, who had acted with the group since 1961 and by the late 1970s was featured with the Coasters on stage without Jimmy Norman, leaves Gardner´s true Coasters by the end of the year (after more than 18 years with the group). Carl now satisfies with only three singers in the group (himself, Bright and the soon returning Norman, plus guitarist Palmer).

Bright, Gardner,Caroll,l and Palmer in 1979.
Bright, Gardner, Carroll and Norman in 1979.



At long last album buyers can enjoy the 1957 recording of What Is The Secret Of Your Success?. Gunter´s bass singer Nat "Buster" Wilson is shot in April, dumped near Hoover Dam, and later found in a canyon near Modesto, California.

1979-1980: "Free as birds". Top: Carl Gardner, Jimmy Norman; bottom: Ronnie Bright, Thomas Palmer.
Top: Gardner and Carroll bottom Bright and Palmer (in late 1979).

Earl Carroll re-forms his Cadillacs and Norman returns to the Coasters. Japanese Pioneer, who represent Warner/Atlantic, issue the second (of three) Coasters compilations.

Nunn´s Coasters tour Germany and Atlantic issue a superb double-album, "Young Blood" in July, containing 24 original mono-tracks. Old friends Billy Guy and Will Jones compete with Gardner´s Coasters (featuring Norman, Bright and Palmer). The Guy-Jones group act with new versions of West-Coast revival "World Famous Coasters".

The Coasters in a radio interview in 1982.
Jimmy Norman, Carl Gardner and Ronnie Bright in 1982.
(ctsy "The History of Rock", Orbis Publishing Ltd)

Carl Gardner´s Coasters suffer hard times and Carl spends most of his time in his one-roomer in Mount Vernon, New York. Grady Chapman (formerly of the Robins and Bobby Nunn´s Coasters) tours with his own fake Coasters. Billy Guy & Will "Dub" Jones perform with their combined "Coasters" group in Los Angeles and Las Vegas.

Norman, Gardner and Bright (top right) in 1984.
Carl Gardner, Ronnie Bright, Tommy Pike, Jimmy Norman, and Thomas Palmer.

Gardner regularly faces the severe problems of several phony groups using the name of "The Coasters" in the oldies circuit, wondering if he shall join his brother´s chicken farm in his old home town of Tyler, Texas. British Edsel issue a "rare Atco" compilation LP, "Thumbin´ A Ride".

After 30 years of fame, and of late-coming struggles, Gardner meets his soon-to-be new wife and manager, Veta (born June 10, 1932) and later settles in Port St. Lucie, Florida. Bookings are once again relatively regular for Carl Gardner & The Coasters (including Norman, Bright and Palmer).

Carl E. Gardner files a U.S. Service Mark of "The Coasters" for 20 years. Bobby Nunn dies on November 5 of heart failure in Los Angeles, California. Gardner travels to his funeral, also visited by his old West-Coast friend Bobby Day, who himself dies some years later.
Nunn had handed over his "Coasters" to Bobby Sheen and Billy Richards, who continue their tours, but soon Nunn’s old Robins buddy - Grady Chapman - recruits Bobby Sheen for tourings (and Billy Richards signs new singers to his own group). Sheen had told his son at the time of Nunn´s death that there were nine groups claiming to be "The Coasters". Warner issue the CD "The Ultimate Coasters" (comprising stereo editions of the "Young Blood" double-LP).

1986-87 [Veta Gardner Management, promotion photo].

Gardner, Guy, Jones, and Gunter are inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on January 21 at the second annual dinner at Waldorf Astoria hotel in New York as the first vocal group receiving that honor. Highland/DeLuxe issue a CD titled "20 Greatest Hits", comprising the old Date/King sides (reissued on Gusto TeeVee in 2006).

At the Hall of Fame induction ceremony in 1987.
Cornell Gunter, Billy Guy, Carl Gardner, Will Jones,
Veta Gardner (plus unknown male).

Carl and his present Coasters celebrate Gardner´s 60th birthday in Tyler, Texas and Southern newspapers give their performances high rankings. A month later, in May, the Coasters (specially reformed with Gardner, Billy Guy, Will Jones, and Cornell Gunter, supplied by guitarist Thomas Palmer), participate in Atlantic´s 40th birthday concert at New York´s Madison Square Garden. Carl Gardner now finds six golden records awards hanging on his walls at home (for Searchin´, Yakety Yak, Charlie Brown, Poison Ivy together with Along Came Jones and Young Blood). The Coasters'  great performance at Wolfman Jacks Rock 'n' Roll Palace in Orlando is recorded, resulting in videos and finally a great DVD on K-Tel in 2003.

"The re-union-party" at Atlantic Records´ 40th Anniversary in 1988 with Jones, guitarist Palmer, Gardner, Gunter and Guy.

Gardner´s Coasters appear in the filmed take-off of the "Phantom Of The Opera", titled "Phantom of the Ritz", and promote the slogan "Yakety Yak, Don´t Do Crack". The group participates in the 20th Anniversary Rock 'N' Roll Revival Concert with Chuck Berry, Jay & the Americans, the Five Satins, the Skyliners, Bo Diddley and others. Atco reissue "The Coasters´ Greatest Hits" again (they had done so several times before - but now for the first time on CD).



Cornell Gunter is shot to death in his car in Las Vegas, Nevada on February 26, just as he once again was to launch his Coasters group at the Lady Luck hotel. Billy (William) Richard´s (of the old Robins) nephew Billy Richards Jr (who originally had been the old Robins´ chauffeur and later a member of Nunn´s Coasters), files a law suit against Gardner, claiming the right to use the name of "The Coasters". Lester Sill testifies in favor of Gardner.

Carl Gardner & The Coasters prove they´re still "with it", performing at the New York Pops concert at Carnegie Hall in May. Billy Richards´ Coasters are, rather surprisingly, "acknowledged" by the Californian court (the reason: the Nunn/Richards group had toured heavily for several years - and managed by Larry Marshak after Nunn´s death).

Carnegie Hall 1991: Bright, Palmer (back turned), Gardner, Norman; plus Pops orchestra director Scithc Henderson.

The Coasters perform regularly at disc-jockey Wolfman Jack´s rock´n´roll club in Orlando, Florida. Rhino Records issue the 2-set CD "50 Coastin´ Classics" (containing a.o. two never-before-issued Coasters recordings - from 1958, Hey Sexy; and one from 1968).

The Coasters with Gardner, Norman, Bright, and Palmer are booked in Canada and later Orlando again, but during the latter part of the year Gardner is treated for cancer (substituted by old Robins´ and fake Coasters singer Grady Chapman).

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

Gardner is back in business again, fit, and fronting his group. The Robins and the Coasters are presented Pioneer Awards at the Fifth Annual Rhythm and Blues Foundation  Award Gala Meeting on March 2 at the Roseland Ballroom in New York. Gardner, Jones, and Guy re-unite for a Vision Award ceremony in California, honoring their original manager Lester Sill, who had a remarkable career (Modern Records sales-man, Coasters manager, Duane Eddy with Lee Hazlewood - Jamie Records, Philles Records with Phil Spector, Screen Gems Columbia and the Monkees; and now head of Jobete Publishing). Rhino issue "The Very Best of The Coasters" CD, which will be bonused by Sorry But I´m Gonna Have To Pass on the European issue, because of demands after Volkswagen´s TV-commercials using that song; a 4-trackCD hits #41 on the British charts in August. Carl Gardner, Clyde McPhatter, and Little Esther are the only ones featured twice on Rhino´s 6CD set "The R&B Box". Lester Sill dies on October 31, 1994

From Jet magazine March 28, 1994.

Will Jones, Carl Gardner and Billy Guy (short re-unite) with the Les Brown orchestra honoring Lester Sill.
Will Jones, Carl Gardner, Billy Guy (photo ctsy Veta Gardner & Trevor Cajiao).

A successful Broadway musical (later the longest lasting Broadway show ever) hits America in March (and Australia and England later), titled "Smokey Joe´s Cafe", based on Leiber-Stoller´s heritage (with 40 super songs). Carl Gardner celebrates his 40th anniversary as lead singer of the Coasters and continues working on his biography, "Yakety Yak, I Will Talk Back" (later changed to - "Yakety Yak I Fought Back"). Young Blood and Yakety Yak are listed in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame´s 500 Songs Forum.

Gardner enters recording studios in Florida in April, full-filling a life-long dream by perpetuating his own new renditions of his old favorites, a.o. T-Bone Walker, Louis Jordan, Percy Mayfield, Roy Brown, the Inkspots, and the Orioles. A CD is issued around Christmas, titled "One Cool Cat". Leiber-Stoller´s "Smokey Joe´s Cafe" double-CD gets a Grammy for best Musical CD.

British Sequel Records issue 4 CDs in March named after the Coasters´ first four original Atco albums (with extensive in-lay presentations) and comprising a total of 98 Coasters and Robins tracks (although meant to be 102 tracks), including the previously unissued original I´m A Hog For You of 1958, and alternate takes and never-before-issued stereo editions (the only missing tracks are the alternates of Poison Ivy and Dance, the original The Snake & The Bookworm and the longer version of Three Cool Cats). The first two chapters of Gardner´s biography are published on the Internet
Carl Gardner, and the Coasters get spacious coverage in the British TV documentary "Dancing in the Street - the history of rock ´n´ roll".

Jimmy Norman leaves the Coasters around February, and issues a newly recorded reggae-styled CD, "Tobacco Road", and Earl Carroll and his Cadillacs tour the world and issue a CD titled "Have You Heard The News!". Billy Richards and Gardner settle their differences - Gardner getting solely rights to use the name "The Coasters", with Richards´ group touring as "Billy Richards´ (West) Coasters", but now Billy Guy (who had been offered a contract by former Richards´ Coasters manager Larry Marshak) starts to compete in Las Vegas "coaching" a fake Coasters group (often billed as "Billy Guy´s Coasters"). Marshak had promoted "half-legal" and fake Drifters, Platters and Coasters groups since the beginning of the 1970s. Gardner celebrates his 70th Birthday in great style, hosting a huge Birthday Party in Port St. Lucie with a new Coasters quintet featuring himself, Ronnie Bright, Thomas Palmer, plus new-comers Alvin Morse (who had joined in November, 1997), and Carl´s son Carl Gardner Jr. 

The real Coasters. top. Thomas Palmer and Ronnie Bright; bottom: Alvin Morse, Carl Gardner and Carl Gardner Jr.
The current (and real) Coasters.

Carl and several other leaders of original rock ´n´ roll and R&B groups try to get Congress interested in forbidding impostors using the names of the 50´s and 60´s famous groups. This action is largely covered in U.S. news magazines. Billy Guy sues Carl Gardner for a million dollar concerning Carl´s trade-mark of "THE COASTERS" (is he interested in meeting Carl once again? - they actually are to in January of the year 2000 -
settling their differences)
. Yakety Yak (the hit from 1958) receives a Grammy Hall of Fame Award. The Coasters are nominated for the 1999 inductees of the newly founded Vocal Group Hall of Fame  - the award ceremonies though are not to be held until October 20, 2000 in Sharon, Pa together with the inductees of 2000 (among other board and committee members are Tony Butola, Jon Bauman, and Mary Wilson).



Will "Dub" Jones dies of cancer and/or diabetes in Long Beach, California on January 16, 2000 after several years of semi-retirement (71 years of age). Gardner wins the sole right to use the name of "The Coasters" in court decision versus Larry Marshak - although Marshak immediately starts a new fake Coasters group - Cornell Gunter´s Coasters (via a contract with the late Cornell´s sister Shirley). Carl receives congratulations from President Clinton for The Coasters´ 45 years in show-biz and the Coasters hold a celibration party on February 26 in Port St. Lucie together with Bill Pinkney & The Original Drifters. Relic Record Shoppe announces a new Coasters CD. "Charlie Brown" - not yet another compilation but 24 superb true stereo Atco tracks, comprising unissued masters, the-never-before issued Crocodile, an alternate Hey Sexy with Gardner doing a superb lead, alternate versions of I´m A Hog For You,  a terrific  unissued alternate of Three Cool Cats, and more alternates including studio chat, false starts and outtakes.

Veta Gardner and the editor of The Coasters Web Site start The Coasters Fan Club and make it possible to order Coasters merchandise. Carl and his Coasters hit Las Vegas for sell-out crowds in January. Millennium Productions of Florida get Carl Gardner involved in several recording activities and honor Carl in their advertising. Veta Gardner creates The Original Coasters, Inc. website (later replaced by an official Coasters site). The Coasters tour Mississippi and the Caribbean's in the spring and face Dick Clark (who had promoted fake Coasters groups) in court in June (a case soon settled). In July the group finishes a 5-day concert in Las Vegas with a young talent and new-comer to the group (substituting for Gardner Jr) - Joe Lance Williams (better known as J.W. Lance). Larry Marshak´s bogus Coasters, Drifters and Platters continue to tour (they had even put out CD records).

The bogus Coasters of 2001.The bogus Drifters of 2001.
The bogus Coasters and Drifters.

Veta and Carl Gardner are alive and well and doin´ fine. The Coasters are in good spirit and doing regular gigs all over America. A new Official Coasters Web Site is introduced. The Coasters Web Site has by January, 2002 been visited by more than 16,000 unique visitors since it was first published in late 1999. On November 5, Billy Guy dies in his sleep at home in Las Vegas, Nevada (Guy´s funeral is held November 26). By now only Carl Gardner is the living legend of the four Rock ´n´ Roll Hall of Fame Inductees. Carl Gardner, Jr forms a Coaster´s Review in California.

Ronnie Bright, Caröl Gardner, J.W. Lance, Thomas Palmer, and Alvin Morse.
The Coasters at the October fest in Palm Springs, October 2002.

Carl Gardner is 75 years old on April 29 and a huge celebration is held in early May. On December 26, exactly two years after its recording, the DVD titled "Live from The Palace of Auburn Hills" is issued, featuring the present Coasters. This is not the first Coasters DVD - earlier in the year K-Tel had issued "The Best of The Coasters - live from Rock ''n'  Roll Palace" with six great classics with the Coasters at Little Darlin's in Orlando. We sure haven´t heard the last from the Coasters yet!

Carl Gardner celebrates 50 years of recording activities in February - debuted with "If Teardrops Were Kisses" (lead for the Robins in 1954
). In August the Original Drifters (featuring Bill Pinkney), Herb Reed and the Platters and Carl Gardner's Coasters appear at the Alabama Theatre, Barefoot Landing, North Myrtle Beach in South Carolina (they will return there every year) - and make a great show - proving the original artists can do it better than the Sahara, Las Vegas Berry Hobbs' Drifters, the Platters (the Buck Ram group) and Cornell Gunter´s Coasters. Meanwhile most probable Billy Richards' Coasters, The Original Cornell Gunter Coasters (with remnants from Gunter's late group), Edwin Cook's Coasters, Charlie Thomas' Drifters, Bobby Hendricks' Drifters (plus most probably several other oof-shoot groups), and the Reviews of Monroe Powell´s Platters and Carl Gardner Jr's Coasters are acting in different areas around the U.S. In November Carl Gardner Jr. returns to his father's group after more than three years of working in California. In December Collectables ( reissue the Coasters' original Atco LPs "The Coasters" and "One By One" on one CD (which will be coupled in late 2005 with "Coast Along with The Coasters", featuring the alternate stereo takes).

n April 16 Robert Christgau (of the Village Voice) writes (and talks) about "The Coasters Revisited" at the 2005 Pop Conference at Experience Music Project ( | Interview with Christgau |. On November 5 Carl Gardner Jr officially takes over lead vocals from his father, who semi-retires. Carl stays as leader and coach for the group. The album "50 Golden Years with Carl Gardner & The Coasters", an anthology 1955 - 2005 is issued, featuring rare and unissued recordings.
Check it! The story of the Coasters continues.

Carl Gardner's Autobiography "Yakety Yak I Fought Back - My Life with The Coasters" is finally written down with Veta Gardner and ready to be published.

Bright, Gardner Jr, Palmer, Lance, and Morse at the Alabama Theater, Myrtle Beach - February 2007.
Gardner's book is out for grabs in July! On August 27 VarèseSarabande (VarèseVintage) issue all of The Coasters' Date/King sides, titled "Down Home" (CD 302066844-2). On December 12 a terrific 4CD-compilation on Rhino Handmade, "The Coasters On Atco - There's A Riot Goinä On" is issued, featuring the complete Coasters Atco Recordings (113 tracks on Rhino RHM2 7740). Rhino are also to issue a 2-set CD in their "The Definitive Soul Collection" series, comprising 30 Coasters tracks in chronological order, featuring all their Pop Hits.

The Coasters' touring schedule is steady and regular.
Rhino’s planned issue of a 2-set CD for their "The Definitive Soul Collection" series, comprising 30 Coasters mono tracks, featuring all their Pop Hits chronological, is still delayed (but Rhino reissue "The Very Best of". Veta Gardner’s site decides to redirect visitors to The Coasters Web Site. On April 29 Carl Gardner Sr. is 80. On April 29 Carl Gardner Sr is 80. In October ALvin Morse is replaced by Primotivo Candelara.


"It sounds familiar but looks different ... - It's worse for the real oldies, acts like the Coasters ("Yakety Yak") and the Platters ("Only You"). Today it's common practice for tribute bands to capitalize on famous names even though none of the original members is present or approving. There could be as many as 50 incarnations of the Coasters, for example, touring the country today. It's so bad that on three dates this summer the Coasters will be opening for the Coasters". (statement from Michael Smerconish - The Philadelphia Inquirer, May 24). Late this year Ronnie Bright, member for over 40 years, is replaced by "Fast" Eddie Whitfield.

Carl Gardner in the year of 2000 - at home with one of his several walls of great nostalgia photos.   The Coasters in 2003.
Photo: Carl Gardner today (ctsy Millennium Productions of Florida).              Photo right. The Coasters in 2003.

Carl and Veta in 2007.
Carl and Veta Gardner in 2007; photo: Palm Beach Post.

Year By Year Re-Cap edited by Claus Röhnisch.
The Coasters Story: Short Re-Cap (revised) |

next: The Coasters: The Story - Quoted

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