Site hosted by Build your free website today!

The Coasters Web Site
Coastin´ with The Coasters
Yakety Yak (2nd) midi

Carl Gardner´s Autobiography
| 50 years with Carl Gardner
  Multiple/Bogus Coasters | Offr-Shot, Fake & Bogus Coasters Sheet
Touring 1956-1959 | News Letter | Greatest Hits (Sequel) Review
Web information on the Coasters | Trivia Connections

Coastin´ with The Coasters
Edited by Claus Röhnisch

The Coasters to perform at Indiana Grand

Posted: Thursday, August 20, 2015 2:25 pm

The Coasters, who are celebrating their 60th anniversary, will perform this Saturday at Indiana Grand Racing & Casino, at 8 and 9:30 p.m., as part of their free ‘Legends of Entertainment’ concert series.

The original lineup of the band, including Carl Gardner, Billy Guy, Bobby Nunn, Leon Hughes and Adolph Jacobs, was started in Los Angeles in 1955. Guitarist Adolph Jacobs left the group in 1959. The band had 11 gold records and many well-known songs, which were written by the famous song-writing duo Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, who also wrote songs for Elvis Presely and Will Mae “Big Mama” Thornton. Some of songs The Coasters will perform at the show include “Yakety Yak,” “Charlie Brown,” “Love Potion #9” and “Poison Ivy.”

“The Coasters’s music is forever because it’s not like a regular song. People sing a sad song, ‘My boyfriend left me’; this was happy times. Even today, when we do concerts, kids will line up for their autograph and I’ll say, ‘You don’t even know them,’ and they’ll say, ‘Yes, my grandma played (them).’ They know the songs and it’s catchy,” said Veta Gardner, the band’s manager and widow to founding member Carl Gardner.
She added that the show is filled with humor and that audience members will find themselves laughing along with the band often.
“My guys are very funny. Of course, they’re known as the 'Clown Prince of Rock and Roll.' I always wondered why they call them that and he explained to me, ‘We don’t just sing, we perform.’ And that’s what they do today; they perform and they entertain,” Veta Gardner said.
The group is no longer the original line up, though JW Lance, one of the current members, played with Carl Gardner from 2001 to 2005, the year he retired. According to Veta Gardner, it was important that the band’s legacy continue, and with the current members, including Dennis Anderson, Primo Candelara and Eddie Whitefield.
In doing that, the lineup has been living up to The Coasters’s name, including the Broadway tour of the 20th anniversary of “Smokey Joe’s Café,” with two performances or more a month. The band has also been working on two albums, including the band’s first ever Christmas album and “Magical Favorites,” which was the first album released by the band in over 30 years and was recorded over the course of two years. The songs are a mixture of music released in the late 1950s and early 1960s.
The band has also been working on some newer material, which may be included in the performance on Saturday, if there is enough time.
“With a 45-minute show, it’s very unlikely that we can do anything but the hits. Remember, The Coasters have hits and could do two days of songs, I can tell you, without anybody else’s song.
The concert is free to attend. For more information on The Coasters, visit
“If they don’t come, they’ll miss something. They will be in for the time of their life. They’re going to have fun; they’re going to want to get up and dance because all of The Coasters’s music is music they can dance to,” Veta Gardner said. “It’s funny and they’ll be getting a lot of laughter. If they don’t come, they’re going to miss a great show.”
                 Alex Krach is a staff writer for The Shelbyville News. Follow him on Twitter @AlexKrach_TSN.

It's showtime!

The arts in Lake -  Orlando, Florida - Mount Dora Community Showtime Concert Series

Sentinel Staff Writer 
The new year (2009) will bring The Coasters to the stage Jan. 16.
The Coasters, originally formed in 1955 with members Carl Gardner, Billy Guy, Leon Hughes and Bobby Nunn, had such hits as "Searchin'," "Yakkety Yak," "Charlie Brown" and "Poison Ivy." The group combined doo-wop rhythm-and-blues with an upbeat rock sound and was best known for comic, narrative songs such as "Charlie Brown."
Performers were occasionally replaced through the 1950s, and some began their own Coasters touring groups. The latest lineup of the Coasters includes Gardner's son, Carl Jr., Ronnie Bright, J.W. Lance and Alvin Morse. The elder Gardner, 80, retired from performing in 2005 and now acts as the group's official coach.

Guy, Jones, Carroll, and Gardner (1965 montage from a Japanese LP).

A Summary - Outline of Carl Gardner´s book
" Yakety Yak I Fought Back
- My Life With the Coasters "

The book cover.

Yakety Yak I Fought Back: My Life With the Coasters

An Autobiography
(by Carl Gardner, leader & founder - with Veta Gardner).

Yakety Yak I Fought Back: My Life With the Coasters
by Carl Gardner with Veta Gardner
at AuthorHouse        (
or at:
Barnes & Noble

Carl & Veta Gardner in 1993.


Todd Baptista reviews  YAKETY YAK, I FOUGHT BACK
From Goldmine magazine

With the assistance and support of his wife of 20 years, Veta, Coasters founder Carl Gardner's autobiography, Yakety Yak, I Fought Back, was published through AuthorHouse and issued in June.  The 180-page paperback as penned by Veta traces the now 79-year old Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee from his birth in Tyler, Texas to international stardom, to content retirement in Port St. Lucie, Florida. Although Claus Röhnisch's 27-page discography and timeline gives the reader a great deal of information on the group's history and output, the premise of this book is not names, places and dates.  For that, fans should visit Rohnisch's website,, not only the best Coasters site, but unquestionably the most authoritative and well-researched internet site for any vocal harmony group from any era. Instead, the book reads like an engaging chat with the singer himself, as Gardner recounts the segregation and racism he encountered growing up poor in the Deep South in the late 1930s and early 1940s and yearning to find success in California as a "sophisticated crooner", a solo singer in the Bill Kenny, Billy Eckstine, Nat "King" Cole vein.  Once in Los Angeles, Gardner found to his dismay that rhythm and blues groups and combos had captured the country's tastes, and through his association with bandleader Johnny Otis, he wound up sitting in with the Robins in late 1953 while their regular lead, Grady Chapman, was incarcerated.  It was a stint that lasted until Gardner and bass Bobby Nunn left to form the Coasters with Leiber and Stoller in the fall of 1955. To R&B fans who hold the Robins in high esteem, Gardner's tales of the group's extra-curricular activities may come as a shock.  In order to be able to earn extra cash to send home to his wife and two children, the singer recounts how he worked as a pimp for fellow Robins member Billy Richard's wife, Helen, who ran an exclusive L. A. prostitution house. Readers will find Gardner's matter-of-fact explanation of the Coasters' founding, the firing of fellow originals Bobby Nunn and Leon Hughes, and manager Lester Sill's filing of a fictitious business statement assigning the Coasters' name to himself, equally compelling.
Carl doesn't mince words when addressing some of the individuals he's been associated with through the years, either.  Of the late Cornell Gunter, who eventually left the fold and started a rival touring group, the Fabulous Coasters, in the 1960s, the author asserts that Gunter, the victim of an unsolved 1990 murder, was "one of the biggest liars who ever lived".  When discussing entrepreneur Dick Clark, who regularly bypassed Gardner's original group and booked Gunter's group for cheaper money, Gardner writes "Mr. Clark is many things, and a ruthless, phony promoter is one of the many faces he wears". Particularly poignant are Gardner's introspective statements, briefly touching upon a long battle with alcohol and providing insight into the loneliness that many entertainers feel on the road and attempt to quench with liquor and drugs.  At times, he's bitter.  In other instances, he's remarkably astute, noting "I was a pioneer, until the Beatles changed the sound, and then they became the pioneers." Carl's bitterness resonates with the reader as he details a long and costly crusade against fake Coasters groups, culminating in lawsuits involving fellow pioneer Billy Guy and Billy Richard's nephew, who was astonishingly awarded a stake in the group's trademark and licensed the group's name to a New York promoter who booked multiple variations of non-original Coasters groups. The singer's devotion and appreciation of his wife's efforts ring through as he recounts his life in a Mount Vernon, New York apartment in the early 1980s when the Coasters would split $1,500 four ways per show, and were only averaging one gig a month.  With Veta, an astute businesswoman, taking over as the group's manager, publicity increased considerably, their salary climbed into the five-figure range, and the number of live dates climbed to 15 per month.

After winning a slim chance for survival against throat cancer in 1993 and suffering a mild stroke in 2004, Gardner turned over the reigns in the Coasters to his son, Carl, Jr., in late 2005.  "My mobility is not so good (and) there comes a time when you know it is time to quit," he writes. My only quibble with the finished product is in the editorial process.  Some misspellings (Paul McCartney as McCarthy, Doc Pomus as Primus, and Willie Mae Thornton as Willie May Thorton) and occasional grammatical errors ("Billy song lead on Searchin'") apparently slipped through the cracks before the book went to print.  That being said, Yakety Yak, I Fought Back is still a thoroughly enjoyable and easy read.  I have always believed that the histories of our pioneering artists are best told through the words of the men and women behind the music themselves.  Happily, Carl and Veta Gardner have taken the same approach. There's also a generous assortment of photos, including a shot of the Robins I had never seen before, as well as a wonderful montage of the Coasters on stage at the Apollo Theater in 1956.  The book is available online from the publisher at for $18.70 per copy.                                                        --  Todd Baptista

Please note that the chapter list below is from the manuscript. The book is now published (June 6, 2007) and has 24 Chapters plus Introduction features and appendixes.

Prologue/Introduction....   This is my story, straight forward and explicit. My name is Carl Gardner, and I am lead singer and founder of THE COASTERS. Here´s a list of some of the stars that Carl will be talking about in his book: The Beatles, Chuck Berry, Ruth Brown, Nat King Cole, Dick Clark, The Crystals, Michael Douglas, The Drifters, Billy Eckstine, Duke Ellington Aretha Franklin, Michael Jackson, Mick Jagger, Johnny Otis, Carl Perkins, Lester Sill, Leiber & Stoller, The Shirelles, Elisabeth Taylor, Ike & Tina Turner, Jackie Wilson...

Carl Gardner's father Robert in Tyler, Texas mid-late 1920s.Chapter 1: "Young Blood"     The reader is introduced to a five year old Carl Gardner, living in Tyler, Texas. At that time this small town had just become the oil center of the world and is known as the rose garden of the world. A young and talented Carl seeks to find himself a solo career, while wondering how and why the blacks of Tyler let the whites cheat them out of their land rights for peanuts and cadillacs. Carl´s family is extremely poor. Carl tries out his first radio appearance only to be let down. He signs on to the army at the age of 16 and leaves his pregnant girlfriend behind.  (Photo left: Carl's father Robert)

Chapter 2: "Searching"       At the age of 16 Carl
is not prepared for the hard training of the army so he plots a way to be dismissed by failing is I.Q. test. However, while in the army he has his own singing group and performs for the other soldiers. After being released Carl goes back to his home in Tyler and gets back with his old school band, which is comprised of school teachers. He later marries Ladessa Richardson from Bullard, Texas, who is a school teacher, who he leaves behind with his young baby girl.

Chapter 3
: "The Fine Arts of Pimping"   Not finding any success in his hometown, Carl venturies out in the big city of Los Angeles to find fame and fortune. Carl struggles through some very hard times, even has to resort to shoe shining and detailing cars for movie stars. With over a hundred tunes and keys in his head, Carl is good enough to sit in with the likes of some great performers, like the jazz pianist Carl Perkins. It is in these clubs that me meets a popular R&B singing group called The Robins, and is asked to replace their lead singer Grady Chapman, who is in jail. Billy Richards, of The Robins, quickly helps Carl gain extra money by teaching him the art of pimping. Billy, as Carl explains, owns a big fabulous house in L.A. that is actually used as a sort of sexual theatre, in which prostitutes work, and Carl sometimes performs sexual acts to help support him while looking to make it as a singer. The Robins take off big with Carl as their lead singer. It is during this time that Carl meets the famous Jack Warner of Warner Bros., when Ty Terrell of The Robins and Carl provides him with unsuspecting girls, who want to become stars. Only Jack Warner was just seeking these young girls to fill his sexual appetitee.

Chapter 4:
Leiber & Stoller - "Let´s Grab Gardner"    Two young Jewish writer/producers from the North, Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, back the young bucks and the climb to fame and fortune begins. We find that Leiber and Stoller take to Carl and his talents, but not to the control that the Mob has over The Robins. So they come up with a legal plot to free Carl from The Robins and grab him all to themselves. Threatened by the Mob for leaving the group, Carl also gets Bobby Nunn of The Robins to escape with him. Carl is asked by Leiber and Stoller to form another group. 

Chapter 5:
Reluctantly "The Coasters"    The Coasters, Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller are signed to Atlantic Records with Leiber and Stoller as independent producers, along with manager Lester Sill, who is the manager for The Coasters. Although Carl really desires a solo career, he senses that with L&S, his success is but a song away and very reluctantly agrees to form The Coasters group. L&S agree to give Carl top billing, but when the first record is released, instead of Carl Gardner and the Coasters, it reads "The Coasters". This is very disappointing to Carl. The production and writing of L&S hits the charts in a big way and Carl Gardner and his group The Coasters change the musical culture forever.

Chapter 6:
The English Invasion    In Virginia, in the middle of the booked solid two year tour, the million selling Coasters begin to fall apart. Drinking day and night, bitter, nasty, and highly abusive, Carl Gardner begins to loose his grip on any situations for the first time in his life. He briefly returns to his family in Tyler, Texas, as two of the original group members get fired by Lester Sill, the group´s manager, who hires two new - very talented young men - for the a soon-to-be world famous classic Coasters line-up. One of them turned out to be none other than the flamboyant Cornell Gunter who is very ambitious, and gay. Cornell, after causing much trouble will later leave to form his own group of Coasters. The Coasters meet The Beatles, who had just invaded the United States. This causes The Coasters along with other 50´s groups to be placed on the back burner. The Coasters find themselves in a deep financial situation. Carl decides that rather than giving up, he takes very low paying jobs in order for him and The Coasters to survive. 1968 finds Carl looking for a replacement for Will "Dub" Jones, who decides to return to California due to the fact that there is not sufficient work to keep him financially in New York. Ronnie Bright (formerly of the Valentines and the original Mr. Bassman) is chosen to replace Dub.

Chapter 7:
The Coasters financially paralyzed    Carl meets Malcolm X, who he becomes very friendly with and who gives him a new outlook on religion. He becomes very fascinated with the teachings of Malcolm X and actually embraces the teaching and starts to study the Holy Coran Bible. With very little work Carl moves in with his girlfriend in Brooklyn, who gves birth to a son. Carl names him Ahilee, which was a Muslim name.

Chapter 8:
Down and Out but far from Over    Carl meets his second wife Veta and starts to battle for the rights of The Coasters´ name and unpaid royalties. Carl and The Coasters are inducted into the Rock & Roll hall of Fame in 1987, joining other greats, such as Chuck Berry, Little Richard, Elvis Presley, Fats Domino, and Jerry Lee Lewis, who were inducted in 1986.

Chapter 9:
Devastated by throat cancer    Here Carl discovers that he has prostate problems, luckily it is not malignant, but later learns he has throat cancer with only a 10% chance of survival. Carl is very scared. Not of dying, but if he should survive, would he be able to sing again? That is the only life he knows. Thank God, with hope and prayers he makes it and is still here with us. He continues to perform all over the country in Casinos, Concerts, Corporate parties, Cruise Ships, and Fairs.

Chapter 10:
Legal problems Continue    Carl and other R&B artists go to Congress to plead for a change in the trade-mark laws, that will prevent other people from infringing on their trademarks. Some of the artist that attend are Beverly Lee of The Shirelles, Delores Kennibrew of The Crystals, John Bauman of Sha Na Na, Charlie Thomas and Bill Pinkney of The Drifters, Herb Reed of The Platters, Peggy Davidson of The Angels, Danny & The Juniors, and Sam Moore of the duo Sam & Dave. Carl sues New York promoter Larry Marshak and gets a judgement awarding him $190,000. In spite of a court order Mr. Marshak refuses to pay Carl. Carl also sues Dick Clark, who is American Bandstand founder and an icon of national music, for infringing on the Coasters Trademark. Carl is awarded an undisclosed settlement and a consent Judgement against Dick Clark.

- edited by Veta Gardner (with slight additions by Claus Röhnisch and Tony Turner).
| The Coasters Story: Short Year-By-Year Re-Cap |

50 years with
Carl Gardner in the 1990s.
Carl Gardner & The Coasters
Carl Gardner Tribute 
- a play-list
(yellow = the mustbeplayeds)

Los Angeles, California:
1.   Just Like A Fool
  - The Robins with Carl Gardner, lead - Spark 1955
2.   Riot In Cell Block Number Nine - The Robins - Spark 1954
3.   That´s What The Good Book Says - The Robins featuring Bobby Nunn - Modern 1951
4.   Loop De Loop Mambo - The Robins with Carl Gardner, lead - Spark 1954
5.   Smokey Joe's Cafe - The Robins with Carl Gardner, lead   - Spark/Atco 1955
6.   Down In Mexico - The Coasters with Carl Gardner, lead - Atco 1956
7.   One Kiss Led To Another - The Coasters with Carl Gardner, lead - Atco 1956
8.   Searchin' 
- The Coasters featuring Billy Guy - Atco 1957
9.   Young Blood - The Coasters with Carl Gardner, lead - Atco 1957
10.  Idol With The Golden Head - The Coasters with Carl Gardner, lead - Atco 1957
11.  Sweet Georgia Brown - The Coasters featuring Gardner, Guy & Nunn - Atco 1957
New York City:
12.  Dance! - The Coasters with Carl Gardner, lead - Atco 1958

13.  Yakety Yak - The Coasters featuring Carl Gardner - Atco 1958
14.  Zing! The Strings Of My Heart - The Coasters featuring Will "Dub" Jones & Cornell Gunter - Atco 1958
15.  Three Cool Cats - The Coasters with Carl Gardner, lead - alternate arrangement Mr.R&B 1958
16.  I'm A Hog For You  - The Coasters - undubbed master Rhino/Mr.R&B 1958
17.  Crocodile - The Coasters - Mr.R&B 1958

18.  Charlie Brown - The Coasters - Atco 1959
19.  Sexy (Hey Sexy) - The Coasters with Carl Gardner, lead - alternate arrangement Mr.R&B 1958
20.  That Is Rock & Roll - The Coasters with Carl Gardner, lead - Atco 1959

21.  Medley: Along Came Jones / Poison Ivy / What About Us - The Coasters - Atco 1959
22.  Keep On Rolling - The Coasters featuring Carl Gardner - Atco 1960

23.  Satin Doll - Carl Gardner with The Coasters "One By One" - Atco 1960
24.  Thumbin'  A Ride
- The Coasters with Carl Gardner, lead - Atco 1961
Little Egypt (Ying-Yang) - The Coasters featuring Billy Guy (with Carl Gardner intro) - Atco 1961
26.  I Must Be Dreaming
- The Coasters featuring Carl Gardner & Billy Guy - Atco 1964
27.  Soul Pad
- The Coasters featuring Billy Guy and Earl "Speedo" Carroll - Date/King 1966
28.  Talkin' 'Bout A Woman
  (She Can) - The Coasters - Date/King 1966
29.  D.W. Washburn
- The Coasters featuring Guy, Gardner & Carroll  - Date/King 1967
30.  Zing! Went The Strings Of My Heart (live in Boston) - featuring Ronnie Bright & Earl Carroll - TimeMachine 1969
Love Potion Number Nine - The Coasters with Carl Gardner, lead - King 1971
32.  The In Crowd
- Carl Gardner solo ("The Coasters On Broadway") - King 1973
33.  Hush Don't Talk About It
- Carl Gardner & The Coasters - Wicked 1976
34.  Little Egypt (live in Orlando)
- The Coasters featuring Jimmy Norman - Lindy Lake/K-tel 1988
35.  Smokey Joe's Cafe (live in Texas)
- Carl Gardner & The Coasters - Veta Gardner Prod 1992 (unissued)
36.  Stormy Monday
- Carl Gardner from "One Cool Cat" (Port St. Lucie, Florida) - Cee Vee 1996
37.  Young Blood (live in Detroit) - The Coasters featuring Carl Gardner - Classic World 2003 (2001)

(Todd Baptista inspired me for this section)

- On December 12, 2007 a 4CD-set on Rhino Handmade with the Complete Atco Recordings, "The Coasters On Atco – There’s A Riot Goin’ On” (Limited Edition) was issued, featuring 113 recordings in sessionography order 1954-1966 (
Rhino RHM2 7740). Compilation is produced by James Ritz with annotation by Claus Röhnisch.

- On August 28, 2007 Varèse Vintage issued the Coasters' Date/King sides (the "On Broadway" LP) – the tracks now chronological and with a new title, "Down Home" (Varèse Sarabande CD 302 066 844-2). Collection is produced by Cary E. Mansfield with annotation and liner notes by Claus Röhnisch.

check them!


January 26 – Port St Lucie Civic Center, Florida
Please note: The show featured The Coasters managed by Veta Gardner.
The Coasters are J.W. Lance, Dennis Anderson, Primo Candelara, and Eddie Whitfield.

On December 7, 2000 Veta Gardner & Claus Röhnisch started
and made it possible for this web site visitors to order Coasters merchandise.

In Myrtle Beach on March 19, 2005.
Carl Gardner, Bill Pinkney and Herb Reed on March 19, 2005.

Carl Gardner's and The Coasters'  story is to become a movie. Shooting will commence within the next 8-10 months
(today: November 2008) as soon as all the actors and all the people that will be in the show are recruited.
The film will be produced by Treasure Coast Films with award winning director Jose Garofalo.

Oldies groups go to court
to challenge 'truth in music' law

NEWARK, N.J. - The question of who is The Great Pretender and who is merely an impostor has moved from the stage to the courtroom.

Promoters of several rock 'n' roll oldies groups charged in court Friday that the state overstepped its authority when it served subpoenas on the Atlantic City Hilton Casino last month over a series of performances by bands billing themselves as offshoots of rock 'n' roll legends the Platters, Drifters and Coasters.

The lawsuit against state Attorney General Anne Milgram is believed to be the first legal challenge to the so-called "truth in music" laws designed to prevent the unauthorized use of the names of existing groups like the Platters, who recorded "The Great Pretender" and other hits in the 1950s and '60s.

Seventeen states have passed similar laws in recent years, according to Jon "Bowzer" Bauman, former singer in the revival band "Sha Na Na" and a member of the Vocal Group Hall of Fame Foundation, which has lobbied for the legislation. New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer signed a bill into law last month.

"With these older groups there's a lot more confusion because people aren't familiar with the original members," Bauman said. "Take a group like the Platters, who sold more records than anyone until the Beatles came along. Compare them to U2 now: You can't put any four people up there 50 years from now and call them U2. People will laugh them off the stage."

In arguments on Friday before U.S. District Judge Dickinson R. Debevoise, attorney William Charron, representing plaintiffs Singer Management Consultants and Live Gold Operations, said his clients hold unregistered trademarks on the names and are legally entitled to use them, even though the groups don't feature any original members.

The three groups perform under the names The Cornell Gunter Coasters, The Elsbeary Hobbs Drifters and the Platters. Gunter was an original member of the Coasters who was shot to death in Las Vegas in 1990, according to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's Web site, and Hobbs sang with the Drifters in the late 1950s and died in 1996 of natural causes.

The groups were scheduled to play several concerts at the Hilton between Aug. 18 and Aug. 30. In late July, the state Attorney General's office served a subpoena seeking advertising and marketing materials.

The Hilton subsequently discontinued advertising and ticket sales to the shows, then reprinted tickets that billed the show as "a tribute to" the Coasters, Drifters and Platters. Charron filed a restraining order on Aug. 16, and the shows went on as scheduled.

The state contended that since the group's trademarks are unregistered, they are subject to a subsection of the law that requires them to obtain further authorization or else refer to themselves as a tribute group.

But in court Friday, Deputy Attorney General Lorraine K. Rak conceded, as did Debevoise, that an unregistered trademark can confer the same rights as a registered trademark. Rak said the state would continue its investigation into the validity of the groups' trademark claims.

Debevoise said he would reserve ruling on the lawsuit until he decides a separate case involving the use of the Drifters name.

Charron said Milgram's action could affect his clients in the future since some of the groups have shows scheduled in New Jersey later this year.

"She should be directing her attention at us, not at other people," Charron said, referring to prospective venues like the Hilton. "This is having a direct, concrete effect on our business."

Copyright © 2007, The Associated Press


Golden Oldies Cabaret October 13, 2006 - October 14, 2006 8:00 pm

Okay, let’s just say it: Take a stroll down memory lane as these authentic kings of nostalgia fill your night with music from the ’50s and ’60s. You’ll hear solid-gold hits like the Coasters’ “Poison Ivy” and “Yakety Yak,” not to mention the Drifters’ “There Goes My Baby,” “Save the Last Dance for Me,” “Under the Boardwalk,” “This Magic Moment,” and the Platters’ boffo hit-singles, “Only You,” “Great Pretender,” and “Smoke Gets in Your Eyes.”

CABARET: Dinner, Dessert & Cash Bar $3–10. Doors open at 7 pm.

Regular: $37, 32, 27
UConn Student Hot Seats: $14-20 (2 per ID)
$2 discount for Senior Citizens

Jorgensen Center for the Performing Arts
Hillside Road
Storrs, CT 06269


January 2nd        Orlando, Florida  (Pending)
January  23rd      Lehman College, Bronx, N.Y.
February 4th       Clear Lake,  Iowa 
February 27th     Coconut Creek, Florida (Private Party)
February 28th     Kings Point, Florida
March 20th        Westbury, N.Y.    
April 16th           Myrtle Beach
April 9th            Flushing, Queens 
May 21st           Proctor Theater, Schanecty
May 26th           Unavailable 
June 5th            Newark, N.J.  D.N.
June 18th          Lancaster, Pa.  DF   
July 30th            Pittsburgh, Pa 
October 1st        Myrtle Beach
October 15th     Roslyn, N.Y.        
November 4th    Canton, Mich.  
November 5th    Maumee, Ohio


February 27th  Somerset, Kentucky
April 10th Patchauge, L.I.
April 17th Altoona, Pa.
April 25th Myrtle Beach, S.C.
May 8th Riverhead, L.I.
May 22nd  Port Washington, N.Y.
May 29th Holmdel, New Jersey
July 3rd Peterburg,  West Virginia
July 10th Akron, Ohio
July 17th Port Jefferson, New York
August 15th Union, Pennsylvania
August 29th Coasters 60 anniversary Gala
September 19th Deerbourne, Michigan
September 24th & 25th Somerset, Kentucky
October 10th Coral Springs, Florida
October 17th Myrtle Beach, Florida
October 21st Niagara Falls, N.Y.
November 4-8th Cruise
November 10th DeLand, Florida
November 15th/22nd West Point, N.Y. (pending)
November 21st Wilkes Barre, Pa.
December 12th  Rahway, N.J.
December 30-31st New Mexico

Touring Schedule 2014

Jan 19   Kings Point, Florida
Jan 25
   Namee, Ohio
Feb 1    Rockville Center, N.Y.
Feb 15  Alabama Theater,
              Myrtle Beach, S.C.
Mar 14  Pompano Beach, Florida

Mar 22  Westbury, N.Y.

Apr 5     Bishop Ford High School
              Brooklyn, N.Y.
May 3   Meyerhoff Symphony Hall,
May 10 Swartz Creek, Michigan
May 17 Rivera Theater, Towanda, N.Y
May 22 Pocono, Pennsylvania
May 24 Pitman Theater, N.J.
May 28-29 Mount Airy Resort
                   and Casino Poconos,N.Y.
Apr 12  Las Vegas, Nevada
May 9   Syracuse, N.Y.
July 19  Greensboro, Pa
Aug 30  Ocean Grove, New Jersey

Touring Schedule 2013

Jan 23   Naples
Jan 26   Civic Center, Port St. Lucie, Florida
Feb 15  Staten Island, 
St. George Theater
Apr 6     Tarry Town Music Hall, N.Y.
Apr 13
  Alabama Theater, Myrtle Beach, S.C.
Apr 19   Marion Palace, Ohio
Apr 26 
Union County Art Center, Rahway, N.J.
May 18
Warner Theater,Torrington, Conn.
Jun 9
    Akron Civic Center, Ohio
Sep 21  Bristol. Pennsylvania
Sep 28  Alabama Theater, Myrtle Beach, S.C.
Oct 3     Perry Georgia
Oct 5     Grand Opera, Wilmington, Delaware
Oct 6     Wimberly, Texas
Oct 19   Coral Springs Center, Florida
Oct 26    Queens College,N.Y.
Nov 15   Strand Theater, Lakewood, N.J.
Dec 6    Glenside, Pennsylvania
Dec 21  Brooklyn College, Brooklyn, N.Y


Touring Schedule 2011-2012

Baton Rouge, Louisiana  December 3, 2011
Years Eve Arizona Dec 31, 2011
January 28 - Lehman College, Bronx, N.Y,
March 2 - Florida
March 3  - West Virginia
March 17 - Florida
March 24 - Myrtle Beach. S.C.
April 7 - Leland, Michigan
June 16 -  Lancaster, Pa
July 20 & 21 - Liberty Opry, Liberty, Texas
August 12 -  Washington, Pa.
August 25 - Detroit, Michigan
September 1 - Ocean Grove, N.J.
September 29 - Myrtle Beach, S.C.
October 1 - Ocean Grove, New Jersey
October 29 to November 3 -
- Royal Caribbean Cruise (Malt Shop)
November 11 - Kissimee, Florida
January 26 – Port St Lucie Civic Center, Florida

Touring Schedule 2010

March 20th        Alabama Theatre, Myrtle Beach, S.C.
March 27th        Civic Center- Port St. Lucie, Florida
April 9th           St. Petersburg, Florida
April 10th         Nova University, Davie, Florida
April 16th        Spring Hill, Florida
May 22nd        Pittsburgh, Pa
June 12th        Richard Nader DooWop Show Izod Center E. Rutherford, N.J.
June 27th        American Music Theatre, Lancaster, PA
Sept 25th        Alabama Theater, Myrtle Beach, S.C.
Nov 13th         Richard Nader Doo Wop Show, Mesa, Arizona


Touring Schedule 2008

January 19    -   Harrah's Casino - Atlantic City, N.J.
March 1    -  Alabama Theatre, Myrtle Beach, S.C.
March 22   -   Spring Hill, Florida
March 29  -  St George Theatre,  Staten Island, N.Y.
April 5  -  Royal Coachman Resort, Nokamis, Florida
May 10   -  Kent Stage, Kent, Ohio
June 13  -   Alabama Theatre, Myrtle Beach, S.C.
June 28  -  Baton Rouge River Center, Baton Rouge, Louisiana
July 12  -  Alys Robinson Stephens Performing Arts Center, Birmingham, Alabama
July 18 - Camden Park Festival, Charleston, W.V.
August 23    -   Harlows Casino Resort, Greenville, Mississippi
October 11  -  Alabama Theatre, Myrtle Beach, S.C.
October 17  -    Bellaggio Clubhouse Boyton Beach, Florida
October 18   -   Villa Borghese, Delray Beach, Florida
November 11  -  The Waterfall Conference Center, Calymont, Delaware
November 16 - Theme Park Rangers, Orlando, Florida
December 13  -  Boston, Mass

Touring Schedule 2009

April  4th:   Fort Pierce, Florida
April 25th:   Plant City, Florida
June 5thCypress Bayou Casino, Charenton, Louisiana
June 13th:   Civic Center, Port St. Lucie, Florida
June 18th:   Coco Beach, Florida
June 28th:    American Music Theatre, Lancaster, Pa
July 2nd:    Myrtle Beach, S.C.
October 17th:   Myrtle Beach, S.C.
November 21st:   New Jersey
December 5th to 12th:   C. Cruise
December 31st:   Plant City, Florida


Touring schedule 2007

January 13-14   -  Connecticut, N.Y.
February 17   -   Alabama Theatre , Myrtle Beach, S.C.
March 3   -   State Theatre, Uniontown, Pennsylvania
March 10  -  Herando County Park,  Brookville, Florida
March 31  -  Count  Basie Theatre,  Red Bank, N.J.
April 14  -  State Theatre, Easton, Pa
April 21  -  Warner Theatre, Torrington, Connecticut
April 28  -  Hauppaugh High School.Hauppaugh, N.Y.
June 16  -  Continnental Airlines Arena, East Rutherford, N.J.
June 29  -  Alabama Theatre, Myrtle Beach, S.C.
September 8  -  West Virginia
October 6  -  Alabama Theatre, Myrtle Beach, S.C.

Touring schedule 2006
  January 28  -  Victorville, Calif
February 10  -  Tallahasse, Florida
February 25  - Fort Myers, Florida
April 8  - Myrtle Beach, S. Carolina
May 20  - Chicago, Ill.
May 25  - N. Little Rock, Akr
June 2-3  -  Alabama
June 15  - Amelia Island, Florida
July 25 - Brunswick, Maine

July 28  -  Myrtle Beach, S.C.
October 7  - Maryland
October 10  - Dallas, Texas
October 13-14 - Connecticut
December 16 - Connecticut

The Platters, Ben E. King, and The Coasters in circa 1993 - photo from Ravenna Miceli.

Carl Gardner Jr's Coasters with Carl sssecond left and Curly Palmer, center.  The true Coasers (tyhe late Carl Gardner Sr's group with Dennis Anderson, Eddie Whitfield, Primo Candelara, and J W Lance.
Carl Jr's group - and the late Sr's group at the Shake Rattle & Roll concerts (on May 18 and July 21, 2012 at Liberty Opry  near Houston)

(from site visitors,  trade papers and e-mail)

The true Coasters,
News of 2006 and 2007
 on main page
and here
 (  - or here (Google News)

CONCERT on Sat, September 3, 2005

Beach music at Barefoot venues

The Alabama Theatre and House of Blues have beach music icons Bill Pinkney's Original Drifters and Chairmen of the Board crooning out the official music of South Carolina at Barefoot Landing. Bill Pinkney's Original Drifters, Herb Reed & The Platters and Carl Gardner's Coasters perform at the Alabama Theatre at 7 tonight - and

May 1, 2005
The Coasters' 50th Anniversary
will be celebrated on November 5, 2005. It will be a black-tie affair and if anyone is interested in attending the cost is $50.00 per person and includes dinner. Contact Veta Gardner at 772-380-9607 It is strictly by invitation. It will be held at Club Med in Port St. Lucie, Florida.

April 16, 2005
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 | Christgau on The Coasters at EMP |

January 1, 2005
The following are booked dates for

Jan 14 & 15 - Connecticut
Jan 29  - New Orleans
Feb 26 - West Palm Beach
March 19 - Myrtle Beach
April 10 - Long Island, N.Y.
April 15 to 18 - Hawaii
May 21 to 25 - Cruise
August 13-14 - Alabama Theatre, Myrtle Beach, S.c.
August 22 - Laudon, Virginia
September 25 - San Diego, California
October 8 - Biloxi, Mississippi
October 22-23 - Alabama Theater, Myrtle Beach, S.C.
December 2 - Knoxville, Tenn.

November 14, 2004
Carl Gardner, Jr. back with the true Coasters!

Veta Gardner has just given me the very good news that Carl Gardner, Jr is back with his father and the true current Coasters! Great!!!!

January 1, 2004: Touring Schedule 2004
January  29 to February 2  -   Delta Queen River Cruise
February 10  -  State Fair Tampa, Florida
February 14  -  Orlando, Florida
February 27  - Albuquergue, New Mexico
April 16 & 17  -  Myrtle beachm S.C
April 26  -  Naples, Florida
May 19  -  Raleigh, N.C.
June 29  -  Sacramento, California
June 26  -  St. Thomas
July 2 & 3  -  San Jacinto, California
July 17  -  Lexington, Kentucky
July 30 & 31  -  Deerborne, Michigan
August 13 & 14  -  Myrtle Beach, S.C.
September 5  -  Memphis, Tenn.
September 25  -  San Diego, California
October 7 & 8  -  Biloxi, Miss.
October 22 & 23  -  Myrtle Beach, S.C.
December 4  -  Knoxville, Tenn.

May 8, 2003
Veta Gardner tells us that Carl Gardner´s birthday party (75 years of age) was a huge success, and the following are the booked dates for The Coasters in the near future:
May 17, 2003
Brissell park, Oakridge, Tennessee
June 20, 2003
Alabama Theatre, Myrtle Beach, S.C.
July 5, 2003
Casino Magic, Biloxi, Mississippi
July 12, 2003      Plymouth, Mass.
Sept 12, 2003     New Rochelle, N.Y.
Sept.13, 2003     Greenwich, Connecticut

November 5, 2002

Billy Guy
dies in his sleep at home in Las Vegas, Nevada. The news about his death is brought to us by Veta Gardner (via The Artists Rights). He went to sleep at night and never woke up (probable heart attack). Guy was 66 years old in June.
| check for more |

June 9, 2002
Manager´s party
Veta Gardner, manager of The Coasters, has a great birthday party (born 1932) and she gives a special back-present to her group presenting them the following touring schedule for the season to come:
7/13     Sterling Heights, Michigan
7/20     Stanton, Pennsylvania

8/24     Marshfield, Mass
8/30     Harrah's Casino, Arizona
8/31     Harrah's Casino, Arizona
9/1       Harrah's Casino, Arizona

9/2       Harrah's Casino, Arizona
10/5     Myrtle Beach, S.C.
10/21   Palm Springs, California

April 28, 2002
New Official COASTERS website
Just in time for Carl Gardner´s 74th birthday a new and terrific The Coasters Official Website hits the net!

The Coasters Official Web Site
and check this too!

January 6, 2002:
The Coasters in Detroit

Gardner´s true Coasters made the Motor City together with Dennis Edwards´ Temptations and The Contours (8,000 spectators) last week. Meanwhile Larry Marshak´s bogus groups The Platters, Cornell Gunter´s Coasters and Beary Hobb´s Drifters are beeing booked for New Jersey in a couple of weeks - as you know both Cornell and Beary (The Drifters´ bass singer from late 1958) are no longer with us.

July 29, 2001:
New Coasters member

By the end of July, 2001 Joe Lance Williams debuted as a Coasters member and started to substitute for Carl Gardner, Jnr. (baritone). Joe was born on June 16, 1949 and reported to be a very talented singer. Stage name:   J.W. Lance.
The Coasters of Today.

December 13, 2000:
Vocal Group Hall of Fame

From (baypath): Hi to all. Just a few lines to let everybody know about the recent induction's and show at the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in Sharon, Pa. (October 20, 2000; ed.note). The induction's were filmed by PBS and will be aired in Jan. or Feb. of 2001. The induction's were hosted by Mary Wilson of the Original Supremes and she did an outstanding job. Present at the induction ceremony were; Joe Jackson, Michael Jackson's father, Mary Wilson, Tony Butalla of the Lettermen, Lou Martin of the Memories, Ben E. King, Bill Pinkney and Charlie Thomas of the Drifters, The original Modernairs, Chuck Negron of Three Dog Night, Harvey Fuqua and the Moonglows, Tommy Hunt of the original Flamingos, The Belmonts, The Soul Stirrers, Frankie Lymon's Teenagers, Duke Fakier of the Four Tops, Carl Gardner of the original Coasters and more. The induction ceremony and outside show were held at the Vocal Group Hall of Fame Museum building. This museum is fantastic and anybody who loves Doo Wop should pay a visit there as it is devoted to the vocal groups who made Doo Wop famous. The outside concert was viewed by several thousand people and it too was outstanding. Almost all of the acts mentioned above performed for the very enthusiastic fans who enjoyed a great fall day as well as the talented performers who gave their all. There were several "special" moments that occurred during the concert such as the standing ovation given to the Memories for their performance. Also, the appearance of Bill Pinkney, Charlie Thomas and Ben E. King of the original Drifters, together after almost 30 years of not appearing together, brought the house down. After the above mentioned performances, that lasted over three hours, Jr. Walkers All Stars provided additional music for the fans to enjoy. This was one of the best concerts that I have ever had the pleasure to attend and I hope all you fans get a chance to see some of these performers in or near your area.
From Gary, Oldies Newsletter #46

November  25, 2000:
Editor speaking

Today I once again completely changed the layout - Hope you like it and at least I think its much easier to follow all the pages via this "clean" new design. Great news: You will be able to buy CDs and other Coasters merchandise - just be patient the details will come soon! Tell you more later on.

October 25, 2000:
E-mail from Samuel Hill

Hello Claus,
I told you earlier that I was obtaining more Coasters pictures from a friend. I will add a new page dedicated to local performances by groups from Arizona and nationally known groups performing here. The Coasters pictures will be the first to go online. They were all taken by a local photograper named Johnny Franklin. I´ll let you know when the page is online and you can download them.

September 2000:
The Platters (and Larry Marshak again!)
Phony Platters group halted
in Lawrence, MA

Just days after the Press Release concerning Mr. Reed obtaining the Trademark for the exclusive rights of the service mark of the Platters, it seems that two entertainment / booking agents attempted to test the resolve of this office to enforce our Press Release concerning Mr. Reed's rights. A bogus group of Platters was sold to a charitable organization as part of a reported $15,000.00 deal involving a free concert. After losing the case to Mr. Reed the show reportedly went on. As if by magic, the "Platters" became the "Coasters", and were coupled with a bogus "Drifters" group.
From Herb Reed´s Platters site

June 9, 2000:
New CD arriving at the editor´s!
I´ve got it now! The "Charlie Brown" CD - and what a surprice - Catalogue number identical to my own "half-bootleg" Mr R&B CD but just superb true stereo alternates and several never-before-issued things - how about "Hey Sexy" with Gardner solo-lead! WOW and the unissued and just wonderful "Crocodile" - I just can´t understand why it was not issued back-then. You simply got to have this one - even if it is a bootleg!

Claus - your editor

May 20, 2000:
E-mail from Tuneman 56
Relic Record Shoppe announces a new Coasters CD: "Charlie Brown" - not yet another Coasters compilation. Contains alternate takes, unreleased takes, session talk, and outtakes. From the original recording sessions! Write to Relic Record Shoppe, 136 Main Street, Hackensack, NJ 07601 or phone (201) 342-4848 to get it.

Tuneman56 (of The Rhythm and Blues Highway)

March 16, 2000:
Larry Marshak again!
Marshak looses his case against Gardner to use the name of "The Coasters" (and Billy Guy retires). That does not scare Marshak. He finds Shirley Gunter (sister of the late Cornell Gunter) and signs her to "coach" his bogus Coasters group. 


If you wanna book the real Coasters -
Veta Gardner's Management
Phone (772) 380-9607
Fax  (772) 380-9618

February 24, 2000:
Photo Gallery
The site is now enhanced with a special photo gallery. Take a look at it!
Claus Röhnisch

January 31, 2000:
Will "Dub" Jones died January 16
e-mail to the editor from Todd Baptista
- and from Eric LeBlanc
Will J. "Dub" Jones died Sunday Jan 16, 2000 in Long Beach, CA., at age 71. He was born May 14, 1928, Shreveport, LA.  He was actually two years older than he ever claimed to be! He was survived by his wife, 1 son and 4 daughters. ... Kindest regards,

Todd Baptista & Eric LeBlanc
- separately

(from site visitors and e-mail)
The Coasters in 2000.

Gary/Oldies Magazine  - January 2004
From Abe Mittleman: Here's some information (from your DOO WOP SURVEY I am broadcasting), on #70 "Rainy Day Bells" by The Globetrotters. I thought this would be a good time to clear up the rumors that the singers were members of the  basketball team. Hanna/Barbara produced many gems over the decades, but this wasn't one of them. As others have said, it was supposed to be "so-weird-it's cool", but it came off racially offensive at times. THE SUPER GLOBETROTTERS was worse--"Spaghetti Man?" "Sphere Man?" Yikes! However, there was one good thing to come out of this show. In 1970, DON KIRSHNER, the man behind THE ARCHIES and THE MONKEES, supervised (with Jeff Barry) a record album called "THE GLOBETROTTERS", showing the HG's cartoon likenesses on the cover. The only Globbie who sang on the album was MEADOWLARK LEMON, but the other singers included former members of THE COASTERS, THE PLATTERS, THE DRIFTERS and THE CADILLACS, all classic Doo-Wop groups of the 1950s! Commercially, the album didn't do well, but it has since become a pretty big collector's item.  It's kind of like a cross between THE COASTERS, 40's jive king Louis Jordan and early '70's Funk. One song, "Rainy Day Bells", actually has a cult following among East Coast Doo-Wop freaks.

February 21, 2001

Hello Claus, let me introduce myself to you. My name is Ken Wojdyla, I´m a promoter and producer of legendary 50s and 60s rock and roll shows, I was looking at The Coasters Web and want to tell you I was very impressed, it´s a fine site. Carl and Veta are friends of mine. it´s really nice that the site goes into detail on the "Phony Coasters" and how the public can be so easily deceived by these groups. being in the business of promoting we know the good from the bad, it´s nice to see that millions have the opportunity to read and be informed. We did a show with Coasters, the Drifters and The Platters. We billed the concert "The Real Deal Tour". It sold out two shows in one night to the total of 2000 seats each show. It was one of our most popular shows. Who says the original artists can´t draw the fans in? We are constantly going to bat for all the original artists. On my business card it says "If they weren´t on the record, they won´t be on our stages". We mean that also. So in closing I´ll say god job! Also the art work that appears on the merchandise came from my partner and myself and we gave it to Veta. it shows good! You created one of the best sites I´ve seen for an artist in a long time. Keep the music alive and ROCK-ON!
Ken Wojdyla
- "The Legends of Rock and Roll Concerts"

October 21, 2000
News on the way

There is soon more to come at this site! More photos - from Arizona 1958 and from the Vocal Group Hall of Fame induction ceremony recently (October 20, 2000).

July 2, 2000
New CD
The Charlie Brown CD compilation discussed here is not available at the sites mentioned in your review. I was able to get copies of all the Sequel CDs and the Charlie Brown CD at Midnight Records in NYC. Thanks for a great web site!
Alan Parrott

Claus here:
Here´s the link to Midnight Records!

June 16, 2000:
"Old Pals"
Claus - Hello again after 40 years. We corresponded in the beginning of the 60's & if you remember I spoke to you of the Coasters who just happened to be my favourite group, & of course still are. Do you remember I also told you about Jerry Lee Lewis & a few others, some great names, a few of which that you had not heard of. I just happened to be checking the web & up came your name. Keep up the good work, it's good to know your still rocking on.
Terry Mchugh

May 19, 2000:
"The Secret & the Sequel CDs"
Hi.  I recently surfed into the Coasters web page.  It's an amazing site, packed full of information. Thank you for putting it up. I have many of the Coasters records and have now ordered the four Sequel CDs, based on your recommendations, so that I'll have all the alternative versions, too. I searched for The Coasters at and found the Sequel CDs being offered by Rockhouse.  They don't have them in stock, though--I got a notice that Rockhouse was backordering them from the distributor for me. 

I also found out that it is because of you, in a way, that I got started as a Coasters fan.  About 1982, when I was in college, I knew of the Coasters only through a cheap LP I had with 5 re-recordings of Coasters songs--Yakety Yak, Poison Ivy and three others (plus 5 Drifters re-recordings).   I was in a used record store in Philadelphia (where I went to college) and saw the Mr. R&B collection that you, I just found out, put together.  Not knowing that it wasn't representative of the Coasters hits, I bought it (if I recall correctly, it cost $3.58) and fell in love with it.  Because I got to know the Coasters from this LP, rather than from their traditional hits, I got a different view of them.  Besame Mucho was just as much a part of my view of the group as Lady Like was.  Eventually I collected all four original LPs and several CDs, and some other things.

I quickly became a fan of Leiber and Stoller, and have since collected their works, too.  I recently started a personal campaign to collect all their songs.  I know of about 300 and have about 210--not bad.   I've collected songs recorded by not only the Coasters, Drifters, and Presley, but Jimmy Witherspoon, Dino and Sembello, Frankie Marshall, Perry Como, Eddie Fisher, Ruth Brown, Julius La Rosa, Frances Faye, Chris Connor, the Honey Bears, Willy & Ruth, and others. I think the least written-about group Leiber and Stoller worked with for more than one or two songs has to be the Cheers. I can't find any information about them at all.  As far as I know, there has never been a Cheers LP or CD!  At least, I can't find mention of one. Strange, since they did have a hit or two.  Not only is Black Denim Trousers a classic, but the follow up, Chicken, is hilarious. Also, they did a couple of remakes of songs from the Robins' Spark catalog--Whaddaya Want, and I Must Be Dreamin'.  These records, which I recently got, are interesting.  They're not as good as the Robins' versions, but they seem to be trying to reach out to white audiences.  Do you perhaps have any information on this group, or know of where I could get some?  I would love to know more.

Thanks again for the great site, and for introducing me to the Coasters and Leiber and Stoller. P.S.  Have you ever heard the song "Tired and Emotional and Probably Drunk"?  It's a great tune by Billy Bremner about being thrown out of a Coasters oldies show.  The chorus is just a string of titles of Coasters songs.
Lawrence A. Herman

April 8, 2000:
"Charlie Brown"
Have you ever heard about Charlie Brown's Tribute to The Coasters? It features Richard "Charlie" Brown and Earl Worsham who was with The Turbans and another man. I see you are very complete on "other" Coasters groups out there, so I thought you may want to add this group.

February 21, 2000:
E-mail from Now Dig This magazine
Hi Claus, Just visited your site for the first time. It´s really excellent. Well done!

Trevor Cajiao, "NOW DIG THIS"

February 3, 2000:
The Coasters Web Site
e-mail to the editor from Steve Propes
Very nicely done web site, I´m impressed. I especially appreciate the comprehensive Robins discography.
Steve Propes (West Coast doo wop author)

February 5, 2000:
The Coasters Web Site
Congrats to Gun & Claus Röhnisch for putting together one of the most thorough artist profiles on the 'Net ...this has everything!
Bob Shannon´s "BEHIND THE HITS"
| |

February 13, 2000:
"New look" at The Coasters Web Site
This site today has undergone a real shape-up - thereby given a "new look", which I hope will please the visitors.

Claus Röhnisch

January 18, 2000:
- two interesting appeal decisions -
By now the Court is trying the case Billy Guy (read Larry Marshak) versus Carl Gardner concerning who may have the right to tour as "The Coasters". Recently court appeals decisions have been issued concerning "The Drifters" and "The Platters". In August Faye Treadwell won against Larry Marshak concerning the right - meaning the old hit-making group are right - even if the group has not toured for several years. In the case of the Platters the fight was between Herb Reed´s group and the remnants of Paul Robi´s group. Reed won the case - but the editor of this site will tell you that if Monroe Powell´s group (that is the old Buck Ram group) have to say something concerning that matter, they would probably ask why they not are the only ones to be called "The Platters". If one can draw any conclusion of the before mentioned there has to be - The only one who truly can call themselves "The Coasters" are the ones touring with Carl Gardner as lead. In both appeal cases now ruled, the plaintiffs were the ones to loose.

Claus Röhnisch

October, 1999:
From "Blues & Rhythm"
Fans of The Coasters/Robins and all things related to vocal group(s) should take a gander at Claus Röhnisch´s new site. It features tons of information, biographies, discographies, news items and rarities. You can visit the site at".

December 11, 1999:
E-mail from Peter Dean,
editor of the R&B Music Primer
Hi Claus
Took a nice long look around your site and it's absolutely superb. Congrats on a superb site. Thoroughly enjoyed my visit and will definitely be back.
Peter   | R&B Music Primer |

From a web presentation on arranger Jeff Barry:
It isn't widely known that in addition to The Archies, Jeff Barry produced another cartoon studio group for Don Kirshner. Hanna-Barbera's Globetrotters was an animated take-off on the famous Harlem-based exhibition basketball team. The series ran on the CBS network during its 1970-71 season. However, the singing voices heard on the Globetrotters' soundtrack album were not those of the actual team members. Instead, the voices belonged to vocal group stars like The Platter's Sonny Turner, The Drifters' Johnny Moore, The Coasters' Carl Gardner and Billy Guy, and Earl "Speedo" Carroll of The Cadillacs. In The Globetrotters, intended as nothing more than a one-off project, Barry had his own all-star version of The Coasters. As had been the case with Leiber and Stoller's famous comedy group, they played everything strictly for laughs (tough soul grooves like "Lillian Peabody" notwithstanding).

Here is the truth  from The Jeff Barry official web site:
Few people remember that Don Kirshner tried to follow up his success with The Archies by turning an exhibition basketball team into a cartoon rock group! He actually signed the Harlem Globetrotters to his label as recording artists, and then designated his own star player, Jeff Barry, to produce them. For years, rumor had it that The Globetrotters' recording sessions featured vocals by members of various well-known New York R & B groups. In reality, members of the actual Globetrotters basketball team were augmented in the studio by Sammy Turner (of "Lavender Blue" fame) and session singers James "JR" Bailey, Rudy Clark and Kenny Williams (who turned in uncannily good impressions of The Coasters' Carl Gardner and Billy Guy, The Cadillacs' Earl "Speedo" Carroll, and The Drifters' Johnny Moore). This comedy-oriented soundtrack, which boasts specialty material written by Neil Sedaka and Howie Greenfield, is immensely fun to listen to.

The Coasters in 1971 promoting "Love Potion Number Nine". Bright, Gardner, Guy, and (seated) Carroll.
The Coasters in 1971 ...
The Coasters of Today. Frl:  Bright, Morse, Lance, Palmer and center front Gardner,
...  and in 2003.

Classic World DVD 1372. Great DVD with
The Coasters  -
featuring Carl Gardner
live at
The Palace of Auburn Hills
order the DVD here 
check the details here

From the Touring Schedule of
The Coasters 1956-1959
ctsy Bernd Hermoneit, Bernd Kratochwil, Karl Platten, and Manfred Günter
Rockin´ Fiftes (German magazine, No. 83, March, 2002)

The Coasters in 1958.

April 20:

one week revue, Chicago Palace with Mickey & Sylvia, Ella Johnson with Buddy Johnson Combo.
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.
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.

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. 
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´").
the Mammoth Gardens, Denver, Colorado with The Five Satins, and The Cellos.
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.

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 5:
TV appearance on the American Bandstand ("Yakety Yak").
August 16:
TV appearance at the Dick Clárk 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.

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 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").

Multiple / Bogus Coasters

February 1, 1999
A rock ´n' roller Coasters ride
Jill Krueger Staff Writer
WINTER PARK--Will the real Coasters please take a bow? Or at least decide who they are? Like a broken record, a series of legal disputes over who owns the rights to the famed singing group's name is repeating itself in clubs across the country.

The most recent venue: Winter Park's Langford Resort Hotel. There, on a recent Friday night, a hotel banquet room filled up with 40- and 50-somethings who shelled out $20 each to hear The Coasters perform such hits as "Charlie Brown," "Love Potion No. 9" and "Poison Ivy." After the show, the amiable four-member group sold pre-autographed photos as well as Coasters T-shirts and CDs. Only John Villano was unhappy with the performance. "I knew it wasn't The Coasters performing there," he says. That is because another The Coasters was playing that same night 1,017 miles away in Alton, Ill. Villano, a promoter whose JP Productions represents The Coasters, should know: He had made the booking for the rhythm and blues band -- and was livid that the Langford refused to cancel its Coasters show.

The Langford's confusion may be understandable. There are at least four separate singing groups now traveling the country, all identifying themselves as some version of The Coasters. All of them --
The Coasters, Billy Richards' Coasters, Billy Guy's Coasters and Cornell Gunther's Coasters -- claim a degree of trademark protection. And all of them are tangled in a web of sometimes conflicting legal decisions. It's an odd chapter to the Los Angeles group's 44-year history. Formed in 1955, the five member group -- Carl Gardner, Leon Hughes, Billy Guy, Bobby Nunn and Adolph Jacobs -- churned out a series of Top 10 hits, including "Love Potion No. 9," "Yakety Yak" and "Poison Ivy." In 1987, the group was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. But by 1990, ownership of The Coasters' name had touched off a federal lawsuit in California.

At issue was a trademark on the name obtained by Gardner. The judge ruled Gardner did not enjoy exclusive rights to the name. The ruling, though, hasn't stopped the legal wrangling. For instance, one judge ruled Cornell Gunther's Coasters was a legally acceptable name under the existing trademark. The New York agency that booked Billy Guy's Coasters into the Langford Resort Hotel insists Gardner tricked the trademark board into transferring it into his name -- and that it has been canceled twice before. However, U.S. Patent and Trademark Office records show Gardner still holds exclusive rights. And new Coasters keep popping up. There's Billy Richards' Coasters, which a Nashville agency insists is legally authorized to use The Coasters' name. And the four Billy Guy's Coasters who appeared at the Langford are not the same four Coasters who appeared in newspaper ads announcing the Langford engagement. In fact, The Coasters who played at the Winter Park hotel were 30 years younger than the now-graying Gardner. "Here are these young guys posing as him," says Gardner's wife and manager, Veta Gardner. "It is damaging the good name of the real Coasters." It also is eating into profits. Veta Gardner points out that The Coasters have not been able to book acts because other Coasters are booking the same venues -- at lower prices. Legal or not, she says, "This is my husband's livelihood (and) they are taking bread out of his mouth." That's one reason why the Gardners are now considering filing a civil suit against the Langford Resort Hotel and the company that booked the recent Coasters' act there. But even as the couple considers another round of legal action, other Coasters continue to roll into town: Melbourne will host a Coasters concert soon. Which Coasters? Gardner doesn't know.

Week of February 1, 1999. Leading Stories, Top of the page.

.. and the tuff story continued - here´s a court decision vs. vs. Dick Clark.

In 'Doo-Wop' Case, 3rd Circuit to Consider 'Prevailing Party' Fees Issue

A court battle over modern-day rights to the names of two 1950s doo-wop groups -- The Platters and The Coasters -- has now sparked an appeal that could have far-reaching effects in civil rights litigation. In Singer Management Consultants Inc. v. Milgram, the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has granted en banc rehearing before a 16-judge court to decide on the proper test for determining when a plaintiff is entitled to attorney fees as the "prevailing party." The vote to rehear the case en banc was a swift one, and it vacates an Aug. 5 decision that said plaintiffs may be entitled to fees even when a case is declared moot if the presiding judge played a role in persuading government officials to change their legal positions.

A dissenting judge, however, said he believes that a plaintiff never enjoys the status of prevailing party unless he emerges from court with an enforceable order. Apparently that dissenting view has now swayed a majority of the court's judges to vote for rehearing. The underlying court battle started when New Jersey officials threatened to take action against a music promoter who was selling tickets for an August 2007 concert series in Atlantic City featuring The Platters (best known for "Only You" and "The Great Pretender") and The Coasters (whose greatest hit was "Yakety Yak"). The officials warned that New Jersey's Truth in Music Act prohibits advertising such concerts without identifying it as a "tribute" or "salute." But Live Gold Operations Inc. insisted that it had every right to advertise the two musical groups however it saw fit because it was the rightful owner of the trademarks for both names.

At an emergency injunction hearing, U.S. District Judge Dickinson Debevoise of the District of New Jersey sided with the promoter and issued a TRO that enjoined the state from "interfering in any way" with the concert. The case was poised to proceed to further injunction hearings, and it seemed at first that the state would be defending its right to enforce the law. In its brief, the state argued that an unregistered trademark satisfied the Truth in Music Act only if the performing group obtained express authorization from an original group member, or included an original member. When Debevoise made clear that he was rejecting the state's arguments, the state capitulated, effectively adopting Live Gold's interpretation of the law. Live Gold's lawyer said in the hearing that the state had made "a 180-degree shift in position." Debevoise agreed and declared that the state would now be "bound" by its newly announced interpretation of the law.

But when Live Gold's lawyers petitioned for attorney fees, Debevoise refused, saying the state's decision to concede the case had left the plaintiff without a judgment in its favor and therefore unable to claim the status of "prevailing party." On appeal, Live Gold won a ruling on Aug. 5 that said it should be entitled to fees when the 3rd Circuit, by a 2-1 vote, declared that Debevoise was too strict in his reading of the U.S. Supreme Court's 2001 decision in Buckhannon Board and Care Home v. West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources. In Buckhannon, the justices declared that a "voluntary change in conduct" lacks the necessary judicial imprimatur, and that a plaintiff does not become a prevailing party solely because his lawsuit causes a voluntary change in the defendant's conduct. Writing for the majority, Senior Judge Jane R. Roth concluded that Buckhannon did not control because New Jersey did not concede its position until Debevoise made clear that he was poised to rule in Live Gold's favor. "As a practical matter, the state's unilateral actions mooted Live Gold's claims just when it appeared that the District Court would enter an order in Live Gold's favor," Roth wrote in an opinion joined by Senior Judge Ruggero J. Aldisert. But in a lengthy dissent, Judge Thomas L. Ambro said he believed his colleagues were wrong to ignore the clear mandate of Buckhannon. "Because no enforceable judgment on the merits was issued in this case, and the state's actions that mooted the case were voluntary, I believe Buckhannon tells us that Live Gold was not a prevailing party," Ambro wrote. Live Gold is represented in the appeal by attorney William L. Charron of Pryor Cashman in New York. Assistant Attorney General Jeffrey Koziar argued the appeal for the state.

Charron could not be reached for comment. Koziar declined to comment on the court's vote.


Bobby Nunn´s Coasters in 1963 (photo ctsy Charles Sheen).
Bobby Nunn´s Coasters of 1963  
with: Billy Richards Jr, Nunn, and Bobby Sheen.  
Photos ctsy Charles Sheen  

Bobby Sheen´s Coasters in 1992. Ruiz sings with one Platters grooup today and Foster has sung with The Cadillacs.
   Bobby Sheen with a Coasters group in 1992 - fr l:
   Tony Ruiz, Billy Foster, Randy Jones, and Bobby Sheen.

 Billy Richards´´  Coasters in 1997.Billy Richards´ (Jr) (West) Coasters of the 1990s. with Billy center front.
Billy Richards´ Coasters

Grady Chapman´s Coasters.Grady Chapman´s Coasters.

Grady Chapman, Jerome Evans, and Bobby Sheen of "The Fabulous Coasters" in Hobbs, New Mexico, August 2000,Grady Chapman, Robert Baker, Jerome Evans, and Randy Jones in Europe, October 2000.
Grady Chapman´s Fabulous Coasters
(bottom photos ctsy Joy Stewart-Evans)

Is it Early Clover far right?
Unknown fake Coasters group (can anyone identify - Marshak´s?)

A phony Coasters group featured with The Fabulous Shades´ Dana (and it is J.W. Lance far right, before he joined the true Coasters..The Larry Marshak fake Coasters group of the 1980s.
Two different line-ups of Larry Marshak´s fake Coasters. Leit image shows J.W. Lance far right (circa 1999)
the right image shows an early Larry Marshak fake group, featuring Early Clover (far right).
and check this

The Cornell Gunter Coasters of late.Cornell Gunter´s Coasters (some also sing with the Beary Hobbs Drifters)-
Prob Larry Marshak's fake Coasters (The Cornell Gunter Coasters).
Larry Marshak´s fake Coasters with Hamilton Loomis.Marshak´s "Cornell Gunter´s Coasters" of 2000.
A a"Tribute to The Coasters" group,, featuring Charles Diamond far left.
Larry Marshak´s fake "Cornell Gunter´s Coasters"
and bottom b/w image far right featuring Charles Diamond, left.

Most probably the Charlie Duncan-led Cornell Gunter´s Coasters.
The Cornell Gunter´s Coasters (Inc.).
"Cornel Gunter´s The Coasters" of the late 1990s.Cornell Gunter´s Coasters Inc. of today.
Cornell Gunter´s Coasters Inc. of the late ´90s (after Cornell´s death):
Charlie Duncan, Edwin Cook, Lionel Pope. Note: This is not the Larry Marshak managed bogus group,
but the group with members of Cornell Gunter's group at the time of Cornell's death.

Edwin Cook's groupCharlie Duncan's group.
Cornell Gunter's Coasters featuring Edwin Cook - and the Charlie Duncan-.led group of today.
Unknown group calling themselves The Coasters.Probably the Leon Hughes Coasters group?
One (of several) phony Coasters´ groups - here at Reynolds Plantation golf club at Lake Oconee, near Atlanta, Georgia.DJ Scottydog and a phony group of Coasters.
The Billy Richards Coasters group?"Charlie Brown & The Coasters"
Can anyone identify these "Coasters" groups? The last one is Charlie Brown & The Coasters.

Article on the bogus Coasters at

Even the "serious" can sometimes fail:
Charlie Duncan's "The Original Cornell Gunters Coasters" advertised as just "The Coasters"


  Billed as:
  incl. ex-member:
  The Coasters


  The Coasters, Mark II
   ´60s, ´70s


  The Drifters



  The (West) Coasters

  or later:
  Billy Richards´ Coasters
  ´80s, ´90s, 2000+

  Grady Chapman´s Coasters
  or The Fabulous Coasters
  ´80s, ´90s, 2000+

  featuring Bobby Hendricks
  and Tommy Evans

  Bobby Nunn
  - fronted by Billy Richards after

   Nunn´s death and still operating


  Guested by several original Coasters.
  Bobby Sheen also led the group
  with Grady Chapman out (Grady is still
  active using "The Robins" name)

  Randy Jones led a group in the ´90s.


  The Fabulous Coasters

   ´60s, ´70s

  Cornell Gunter´s Coasters, (Inc)
  ´80s, ´90s and 2000+
   Cornell Gunter's Coasters
   featuring Edwin Cook

  The Original Cornell Gunter's Coasters

  Cornell Gunter
  (Edwin Cook and Charlie Duncan
  touring after Gunter

  death; today two groups;
  (note: not the bogus Marshak group)
click  this  for more
  Today     and     Today

  Billy Guy & The Coasters

   mid ´70s


  Billy Guy´s Coasters

   late ´90s

  Billy Guy
  (Guy coach and cameo ´90s with the

  Larry Marshak bogus Coasters)

  World Famous Coasters

   late ´70s

  The Coasters

  ´80s, early ´90s

  Will Jones & Leon Hughes
  and later Will Jones & Billy Guy

  The "Original" Coasters


  Leon Hughes - one of the
  original Coasters
     ´90s plus
  Leon Hughes  check here

  The Coasters
   ´70s, ´80s, ´90s


  Cornell Gunter´s Coasters  or:
  The Cornell Gunter Coasters


  no-one - several bogus lineups
  (promoted by Larry Marshak,
  not including any ex.member,
  Cornell Gunter´s Coasters "authorized"
  by Gunter´s sister Shirley);
  check here     here too 

  The Robins

  The Robbins

  (often referred to as being transformed
  into the Coasters, only presented as
  "The Robins" - but including Coasters
  recordings in presentations; or vice

above charts compiled by Claus Röhnisch.

Larry Marshak originally managed Billy Richards´ Coasters, and when Richards cancelled that contract, Billy Guy sold his name to Marshak - when Guy settled his differences with Gardner, Shirley Gunter sold the Cornell Gunter Coasters name to Marshak. There were more acts using The Coasters´ name:
check this: ( Terry Evans ), and this ( Charlie Brown´s Coasters Tribute ). Even Young Jessie sometimes acts with a "Coasters" group.
Charlie Brown's Tribute group.

Check the Coasters, plus Drifters, Platters, and Marvelettes at the Rotary District 6600 Conference 2003; and  check here  for an article on the recent fake Platters/Coasters/Drifters in Las Vegas.

Check this intereresting article   by Gary James, based on this site
and interview with Carl Gardner Sr.   
with Gary

Carl Gardner, Jr.The Coasters Review featuring CG Jr in 2002.
Carl Gardner, Jr
A Tribute group - The Coasters Review featuring Carl Gardner, Jr. was active in California during 2002 - 2004.
Late 2004 Jr returned to Sr's real Coasters group, and took over his father's role as lead on November 5, 2005.

The true Coaster sin 2002.

"Truth in Musical Advertising Bill"
Under the law (nowadays past in several States in U.S), a band can use an original act's name only if it includes at least one member of the group that released a recording under that name; the performers own the rights to the name; or the performers have permission from the group to use the name. Otherwise, the group would have to advertise itself as a tribute or salute.



    Phone: 772-380-9607
    for bookings of The Coasters

    The Truth In Music

The Coasters logo of Florida.  

The Coasters at the Eldorado Hotel
Millennium Swing

Welcome to the Coasters of the 21st Century courtesy of Billy Guy; founding member, Rock and Roll icon,creative force behind these Rock and Roll legends, as well as the comedy inspiration that made the group the "Clown Princes of Rock and Roll," and the first group inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. And today, more than forty years after the Coasters stormed the pop and R 'n' B charts with their first million seller, "Searchin'," it is still Billy Guy's touch that makes the Coaster's show a "Nostalgic treat for the senses," "A rock and roll comedy riot," and "As exciting in the nineties as it was in the fifties," to quote three recent reviews. Billy Guy still inspires their team of comedy writers, oversees their choreography and of course, blends their unique vocal arrangements, not to mention occasional cameo appearances that still bring down the house.

Billy performed as the baritone lead on all of the Coaster's hits including their million sellers, "Searchin'," "Yakety Yak," Charlie Brown," and "Poison Ivy." The famous writing team of Leiber and Stoller was the creative force that led the Coasters (as well as such other rock and roll icons as Elvis Presley and the Drifters) to the top of the charts in the fifties and sixties. So great was the magic of the team of Leiber and Stoller and so inspirational was their collaboration with Billy Guy and the Coasters, that the nineties saw a show business honor reserved for only a few special greats - a hit roadway show inspired by the collaboration and based on the hit "Smokey Joe's Cafe." That song was an early hit for the Billy Guy led Coasters and is still a show stopper every night as Smokey Joe's Cafe is now not only one of the top running shows on Broadway, but also one of the most successful road shows touring the country. And if this isn't honor enough, the Coasters will be appearing in "Love Potion #10," a multimedia rock and roll extraaganza with a cast of 26 and magic, special effects, and original choreography and a score by a variety of legendary Broadway talents. But their greatest honor of all was the choice of the Coasters as the first group inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987. Those inductees included Billy Gy, Carl Gardner, Cornell Gunther and Dub Jones. Unfortunately, since that time, Gunther has passed on, Gardner has contracted throat cancer and Dub Jones has semi-retired. But under Billy Guy's direction, the Coasters have scoured the country to find top talent to keep their show young and fresh. Watch the Clown Princes of Rock and Roll and prepare to "laugh 'till you cry."

From The Eldorado Hotel Home Page, Santa Fe, New Mexico
(writing about the Billy Guy "semi-coached" Coasters and acurtally spelling Gardner - Gardener)).

Billy Guy´s Coasters of 1999, nowadays "Cornell Gunter´s Coasters". Now they are celibrating - Let´s see what happens when court decides!

Posted at 03:31 a.m. PST; Tuesday, March 23, 1999

'50s rockers fight against imposters
by Katherine Rizzo
Associated Press writer

WASHINGTON - Yes, indeed, rock 'n' roll is here to stay. And in some cases, it's not only lasted, it's multiplied, with several sets of Platters, Drifters and other '50s favorites performing at the same time in different cities. Carl Gardner, an original member of The Coasters, has been irritated by what he considers impostors for more than 20 years. Now he's one of about a dozen golden-oldie performers who've asked Congress to protect them from competitors using the same names and singing the same songs. "These guys are making like they're the real Coasters. They're in their 20s and 30s and I'm 70 years old," said Gardner. "This trademark law must be changed." "We are all affected by bogus groups because there is only a finite amount of work for people from our time period," said Peggy Davison, who sang the lead on the Angels' hit "My Boyfriend's Back." "We are national treasures," added Mary Wilson, who along with Davison, Gardner, two Drifters, one Shirelle, one Letterman and other rock originals performed at a Capitol Hill news conference last week. "We need to have that respect." Wilson was one of Motown's original Supremes, along with Diana Ross and the late Florence Ballard.

Reps. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio, and Charles Norwood, R-Ga., were introducing legislation that would help old chart-toppers defend their crowns. If they sue for damages under trademark law and win, the law would allow higher damages. "You have to pay a $50,000 bond just to start a court case, in case you lose. That's a lot of money," said Gardner. "I'm working, but sporadically. These other guys, they don't even charge the kind of money I charge. If I charge $10,000 a night they'll charge $2,000 a night." The groups that climbed the Top 40 in the 1950s and 1960s often had rosters that changed through the years. Sometimes, later-year replacements took the material on the road with their own groups, even though some members of the core group were still performing. Other times, dispute over the ownership of the group's name made it possible for entire new bands to be hired to re-create the music without any direct link to the original group.

Larry Marshak of RCI Corp. in New York, who packages East Coast and West Coast versions of the Platters, Drifters and Coasters, said he has valid, legal rights to those names, and does nothing deceptive with his troupes of young singers performing old hits. "We make no illusions to be otherwise than what they are. Nobody expects to see the original members when they see us," he said. Kucinich, who takes seriously his home town's role as host of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, said he was pushing for a change in a 1947 trademark law because both artists and consumers need protection. "The knockoff groups should not be permitted to pass themselves off as the real thing," the Cleveland congressman said.
Copyright © 1999 Seattle Times Company

From   Las Vegas SUN - June 15, 1999
A legal battle erupts over bands using
original names without original members

By Melissa Schorr

In a makeshift showroom in the Sahara hotel-casino, a couple hundred baby boomers are thrilling to the sounds of yesteryear. The band -- four men snazzily attired in black pants and white jackets, and billed as "Billy Guy's Coasters" -- launches into hit after hit, from "Love Potion No. 9" to "Yakety Yak," earning a standing ovation. Near the end of the set, the lead singer finally introduces himself and his fellow band members. But where is Billy Guy? It seems the billed member of the original Coasters is nowhere in the bunch. How strange. Next up on the evening's triple bill: The Platters. A keen eye will note that there isn't a gray hair in the bunch, and that lead singer Curtis Michael probably wasn't even alive in 1956, the time the group was scoring hits such as "The Magic Touch" and "The Great Pretender." Ah, well. Last, but not least, the emcee introduces The "Mighty, Mighty" Drifters. As singer Rick Shepherd launches into one of the band's biggest numbers -- "Under the Boardwalk" -- he confides to the crowd, "As the Drifters, we went on to have hit after hit." There's only one problem: The "we" he refers to are not the three other singers on the stage with him. Shepherd is, in fact, the only singer on the Sahara stage who can legitimately claim to have performed as an original artist in the headlined acts. Consumers beware: Oldies revival acts frequenting Las Vegas showrooms may not be what -- or who -- you think they are. These so-called "imposter" acts are actually put together by savvy booking agents who have come to control the band's trademark name. Often they don't include any of the artists who made the songs memorable. This infuriates the remaining original artists who are starting to fight back, saying these imitation groups hurt their careers by charging much less to perform and devaluing their market worth. Even worse, they gripe, the imposters often do a lousy imitation, costing them fans and future bookings to boot. Others in the industry say that the fight is more one of sour grapes: "The guy who was smart enough to own the name is being harassed because he had the money and guys to put it together," observes one local promoter, who prefered to go unnamed. "I think he's going to win."
Congress lends an ear
The debate has made its way to Congress, thanks to the 2-year-old Artists & Others Against Imposters (AOAI), a nonprofit group of musical artists who have banded together, including Gladys Horton of The Marvelettes ("Please Mr. Postman"), Mary Wilson of The Supremes ("Stop! In the Name of Love") and Herb Reed of The Platters ("Only You"). "Imitation is supposedly the sincerest form of flattery -- (but) not when it robs you of your ability to earn a living," Arizona activist Joyce Moore, the wife of Sam Moore of Sam and Dave, and AOAI's founder, notes. "We've done more to protect our historical landmarks and endangered species than these artists." That may soon change. The group brought the issue to the attention of Capitol Hill last summer and the resulting "Truth in Rock" bill is widely expected to pass the House and Senate unopposed this session. The proposed law would create a federally-chartered registry called the Association to Preserve Authenticity in Music Groups, which would certify which acts are authentic -- and which are not. "We're not trying to drive imposters out of the market," explains Fred Wilhelms, AOAI's counsel, who is helping draft the legislation. "We just want them to be honest. Right now the consumer is being sold grape juice in wine bottles." For example, the AOAI contends that management groups such as Larry Marshak's RCI Corp. in New York currently stages duplicate Drifters and Coasters acts on the road at any given time. On April 4, "Billy Guy's Coasters" were scheduled to play both the Sahara showroom and the Baltimore Arena simultaneously. Other acts commonly passing through Las Vegas, such as the "Legends of Motown" at Caesars Palace, feature The Marvelettes -- another Marshak group featuring no original members. "There is a falsity and a fraud being committed on the consumer," Moore says. "If they had billed these shows as what they are, a salute or a tribute, we'd have nothing to say to them. That would be honest, that would not be consumer fraud." Marshak says the original members are mainly unhappy that they're not working. "If they had a good act, they'd be able to," he counters. "These people are spending too much time in legislation and not enough time putting their act together." The AOAI has no probem with impersonation acts such as "Legends in Concert" at the Imperial Palace, the Stratosphere's "American Superstars" or the Gold Coast's tributes to Patsy Cline and Neil Diamond, because each clearly labels its act a "tribute." "I wouldn't have a problem if we had 20 'salutes' going on around the country," Moore says, "but I have a terrible problem with the lie that these groups are real. They're a bunch of wannabes who are now sort-of-bes." But Marshak, who owns the legal rights to the names (and went bancrupt in 2002 after beeing ordered not to use the names; Claus´  notes), recently told the Los Angeles Times that "the public is well aware that there are no original members of these groups." Marshak cites a survey he conducted of a Las Vegas audience in which 87 percent of the members said they were aware the act wasn't comprised of originals -- or didn't care. "I don't keep it a secret," Marshak said. "It's not deceptive. We make it clear that's what we do." Marshak likens his changing roster of musicians to a baseball team, a Broadway musical or the New York Philharmonic. "These musical groups have always had multiple members," he explains. "Managers decided to hire and fire people and, usually, there's no tie to the individual's name. The groups are more associated with the producer who put them together. It's like what Menudo does. It's something that has gotten a lot of publicity, but it was always common." Still, after negative media accounts, the acts have learned to be more careful in their wording on stage, never directly making a reference that implies they were around during the pivotal years. Instead of "we recorded this song in 1962," they'll tell the audience, "We're going to take you back to 1962." Linda Crane, senior vice president of entertainment for Caesars Worldwide, says her main consideration in booking such acts is the legality and the quality of them. "You book the act (that) has the legal right to the name," she says. "That's what I worry about because I don't want to get in trouble." As for whether the practice can be misleading to customers, she replied: "Sure, if they knew, it would bother them. But I think the quality of the show is (most) important." It may not have mattered to the audience, but it mattered enough to Mary Wilson of The Supremes, who irately complained to People magazine about performing at Caesars' "Legends of Motown" show last October alongside the new Marvelettes and not the old friends she expected to see. Nevertheless, Crane has booked the act for a return appearance in August -- minus Wilson -- adding, "it does very well for us." Other casinos attempt to bill these acts more precisely. Last July the Hilton booked an act featuring singers who at one time had sung with the band, carefully billing it as the "Former Ladies of the Supremes." But when the same act made a side appearance in February at Sun City's Pinnacle Community Center, it was billed on fliers only as The Supremes.
Splitting legal hairs
The battle over who legally owns the name can cause some confusion.
For example, in April, Caesars Palace featured The Temptations with former lead singer and trademark holder Otis Williams and three fill-ins. A few weeks later the Flamingo Hilton billed "The Temptation Review," featuring two of the original singers, Ali Woodson and Richard Street, who say they are also are entitled to use The Temptations moniker. "Are they legally The Temptations? Who knows?" says the show's promoter (again, the unnamed promoter), with a sigh. "It's all by what the attorneys figure out." "It gets kind of crazy," Foster Wilson, vice president of entertainment at the Las Vegas Hilton, says. Although he is sympathetic to the original artists' plight, he says that "at some point, if you've got two groups squabbling over who has the most original group member, I'd probably go on and book somebody else." Wilson points out that even if these groups hold the legal right to the name, whether or not to book them can become an ethical problem for an entertainment director. "Usually, we rely on the agencies and managers to tell us what is true, in terms of the group's originality and so forth," Wilson explains. "Even if the group doesn't care, we do. It becomes a thing of responsibility -- how do you get the message out so you're not deceiving the public?" But the promoter points out that: "People don't care, that's what's really amazing. "In my opinion, I don't think anybody could tell the difference," he says. "I saw the show, and I've been in the business since I was 13, and I couldn't tell the difference. People know the songs, they don't know the acts that well." Indeed, audiences at the Sahara show seem indifferent to the artists' cause. When told these acts basically didn't feature original band members, no one is very disturbed. "I knew that, but they still do a great job," says Joseph Ferreira, a tourist from Ft. Lauderdale who used to watch the originals on TV in his youth. "The music is still the same." Moore snorts at responses such as these, likening them to saying that the artistry of a Picasso painting is "just the paint." She has contacted the Consumer Fraud Division of the Nevada Attorney General's office, hoping to launch an investigation. This tactic has worked before: Two months ago, she contacted the Arizona Attorney General's office after spotting a Drifters booking being plugged at an upcoming music fair. The Arizona office stepped in and asked the concert promoter to alter his advertising to make it "A Tribute to the Drifters." Tracey Brierly, a deputy attorney general in the Bureau of Consumer Protection in Las Vegas, declines to comment on whether the office is investigating, but adds that they haven't received any complaints to date. "We're interested in protecting the consumers -- if we can substantiate it," she notes. "Anyone who feels they've been taken advantage of should contact the Attorney General's office."
Firsthand knowledge
The Moores' own experience makes them a perfect example of the artists' concerns. After the Grammy-award winning band Sam and Dave ("Soul Man") broke up, Sam Moore's ex-partner, Dave Prater Jr., simply took on a new "Sam" and went on tour, promoting the act as "Sam and Dave." "Never, ever did they tell anyone that Sam was a fake," Sam Moore testified before a congressional subcomittee earlier this month. "(He) did his best to sound like me and look like me. He autographed records that I had sung on, many of which went gold. Arkansas declared a 'Sam and Dave Day' in the mid-'80s, but that wasn't me at the ceremony with then-Gov. Clinton." "Agents would say, 'If you would only get another Dave, we could get Sam hundreds of jobs,' " Joyce Moore recalls. "How insulting, how condescending, to just get some guy and pawn him off as Dave." Instead Sam Moore took the opposite approach, chasing his ex-partner through several jurisdictions, attempting to get injunctions and citations against his advertising campaigns, encountering "staggering" legal bills in the process. In 1988 the personal fight ended for the Moores when Prater died in a car crash. But soon they turned what they learned into a larger crusade for their fellow artists. Using her contacts in Washington (she planned President George Bush's inaugral party), Moore founded the artists' association in September 1997. The group got Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio, and Rep. Charles Norwood, R-Georgia, to co-sponsor the legislation, which drew the support of the Recording Industry Association of America and, eventually, the Association of Intellectual Prpoerty Lawyers of America. On May 5, the House Judiciary Intellectual Property Subcommittee held hearings, and on May 26 the House Judiciary Committee passed it by voice vote. A vote is expected in the House soon. Aside from establishing the credentialing group with a unique hallmark label, the group also hopes to add wording to the bill to beef up the amount of damages for which artists can sue. "I'm very confident that when this process is over, we're going to have an association in place, and it's going to separate the sheep from the goats, the real from the fakes," Wilhelms, the AOAI's counsel, says. "It's been an amazing civics lesson." Perhaps. But the consumers' lesson still seems incomplete. After the show the crowd at the Sahara congregates in the lobby for a "meet and greet" with the singers. One woman shows off a CD she has bought of one of the groups. It is not an original label recording, but a cheaply produced demo of the band's live shows. Inside, she is thrilled to display, she has gotten an autograph from each member of the band..

Larry Marshak´s fake gropups: The Platters, Drifters, Coasters at the Sahara in Las Vegas, circa 2001.The Cornell Gunter Coasters of 2003.
The Platters, Beary Hobb´s Drifters, Cornell Gunter´s Coasters; plus on stage in 2003.

Sunday, September 3, 2000 - Eagle Tribune
Who is really playing that rock n´ roll music?

By Will Courtney
Eagle-Tribune Writer

As a consumer, Maxine Porter says if she buys a can of Coke, there shouldn't be 7-Up inside. Likewise, she says when you buy a ticket to see The Drifters, you should get to see the last surviving Drifter. However, Mrs. Porter isn't just a consumer, she's the business manager for 75-year-old Bill Pinkney, who was with the original band from the start. Mr. Pinkney is on his 47th Anniversary Tour with three others as Bill Pinkney's Original Drifters, a trademarked name that he owns. The trademark for The Drifters is owned by U.S. Federal Court while litigation over its true ownership continues. In the meantime, a band going by the name The Drifters played the Feast of Three Saints in Lawrence Friday night, and in all likelihood, other bands called The Drifters drew crowds in a handful of venues across the country, many of them with members younger than the songs they were singing. The Platters did not play Lawrence Friday night as scheduled because Herb Reed, an original Platter, was awarded the trademark to the name on Aug. 8 and enforced his right to it in Federal District court. So The Platters imposters were replaced by The Coasters imposters, because the owner of The Coasters trademark, original member Carl Gardner, was powerless to do anything about it. For the surviving members of classic '50s doo-wop bands such as these, their senior years have been spent battling for the right to make money off a name they brought to fame. They spend as much time in court and with lawyers as they do on stage. Mr. Reed won a small battle, but the imposters are winning the war. "The sad thing about our justice system, as wonderful and effective as it is, is that the wheels grind so slowly," Mrs. Porter said. "The perpetrators are making a fortune while the original artists are waiting for a decision." Mr. Reed still tours, and in fact, Topsfield Fair publicity indicates Herb Reed and the Platters will be playing the fair Oct. 8 and 9 this year. He was able to fight his battle on the front lines, because he lives in Arlington. Reached at his home in Florida, Mr. Gardner, the last performing member of The Coasters, was incensed to hear that a knock-off of The Coasters was taking the place of the imposter Platters. He could fight it or sue, but that would mean hiring a Massachusetts lawyer that would take the case and get it into a Commonwealth court. "I'm trying not to let it stress me out," said Mr. Gardner, getting more and more frustrated as he spoke. "But right now, I'm getting a little stressed out about it. They're making money off of my fame. I started The Coasters in 1955 and I want it to continue." To put a stop to all the imposters, Mr. Gardner would need to pursue litigation across the country and Canada, too. "I'm 72. I can't sue for the rest of my life just to get all the money I have coming," Mr. Gardner said. The Gardners have been in court fighting for The Coasters name for 10 years, they estimate. They recently sued Larry Marshak, a promoter of imposter bands who has become the true oldies bands' worst nightmare. Over the last decade, Mr. Marshak has reportedly made millions promoting knock-off versions of the Coasters, Platters and Drifters. He swooped in and grabbed The Drifters trademark when the group stopped touring in 1976, but Faye Treadwell, the wife of the band's original manager, won the name back in Federal District Court. Mr. Marshak has appealed, so the court holds the trademark.

In a 1997 television interview with ABC's PrimeTime Live, Mr. Marshak told Diane Sawyer that on any given night, he might have three different Coasters bands playing in different venues. "The Coasters are no longer a show where individuals matter," Mr. Marshak said in the interview. "The only thing that matters about the individuals is that they are top quality." He told the Associated Press in 1999 that there was no deception going on, even though he often billed The Coasters as being members of the Rock N' Roll Hall of Fame. The Hall of Fame said they inducted only the four original members, including Mr. Gardner. Mr. Gardner won a judgement for $190,000 from Mr. Marshak in February, of which he says he's seen only $75,000. In February, 2001, the Gardners are scheduled to be in court with the legendary Dick Clark, who according to the couple, introduced imposter Coasters as "the legendary Coasters" on more than one occasion. "He knows me like he knows his son," Mr. Gardner said. But Mr. Gardner alleges that on at least three different occasions, including once on national TV, Mr. Clark introduced "phony" Coasters as the real thing. The Gardners, along with former members of The Supremes, The Shirelles, The Crystals, The Chantelles, The Platters, Danny and the Juniors, and The Drifters have formed the Truth in Rock Foundation which is trying to get the federal government to step in. Before his death, California Congressman Sonny Bono was working to get a Truth in Rock bill passed into Congress. The official Danny and the Juniors played the Festival of Three Saints on Friday, though "Danny" is no longer living. Joe Terry, an original member, owns the trademark and still tours with the group. He has also been in fights with groups which perform under the same name. "Even though we own it, there are still some problems with groups that come out because of the way the laws are structured," he said. He said the copyright laws don't do a good job protecting bands who own trademarks.

The Gardners said the people who can best fight against imposter bands is the paying public. "Is the American public so stupid that they can't see that there's a difference in age group of the guys and that they're not The Coasters?" Mr. Gardner said. "Carl Gardner, the original Coaster, is very alive and well, and still performs today. I wish that my fans would think about that for a moment when they go see a former group. Think about how these guys have given so much. We're depending on the fans to help us." In Lawrence Friday night, opinions were mixed. Some didn't realize they weren't seeing the real thing, others didn't care. Most had no idea that the original bands didn't get a piece of the pie. "I would think they'd have to pay royalties," said Larry Smith of Hampstead, N.H., who watched The Drifters on Friday but was disappointed The Platters, or their impersonators, weren't playing. As Mrs. Porter said, it's about consumers caring what they are paying for. "I have a right not to be deceived, not to have anything misrepresented to me," she said. "There are people out there singing songs, saying, 'This is one of our greatest hits,' and the person making the statement isn't as old as the record."

Mail from Scott Schinder  April 9, 2006
Hello Claus, I very much enjoyed your Coasters website, particularly the information regarding fake Coasters groups.
Marshak Cornell Gunter's Coasters in late 2005.  Marshak Cornell Gunter's Coasters in late 2005.

Several pics of what I assume to be the East Coast version of Larry Marshak's fake "Cornell Gunter's Coasters," who performed at a free outdoor show (sponsored by the NYC retailer J&R Music) last August at City Hall Park in Manhattan.  Also on the bill were Marshak's bogus Drifters and (the real) Percy Sledge.  The only group member I can identify is lead singer Dave Revels, who apparently has performed with the Marshak Coasters for several years. Coincidentally, a few days after this performance, the Las Vegas-based versions of Marshak's fake Coasters and Drifters (different guys wearing suits identical to those of the groups on the City Hall Park bill) performed on Jerry Lewis' Muscular Dystrophy Telethon.  A few hours later, Lewis introduced yet ANOTHER Drifters group, performing in New York...  best, Scott.

Thanks Scott - and you are right these are the East coast Marshak bogus Coasters.

Put a stop to doo-wop imposters, states urged
Wednesday, January 11, 2006
By Tracie Mauriello, Post-Gazette Harrisburg Bureau

HARRISBURG -- Musical groups shouldn't call themselves The Platters unless they include some of the original tableware.
That's the premise of a group of doo-woppers campaigning nationwide to stop imposter bands from passing themselves off to concert-goers as the real deal.

The group is starting its crusade in Pennsylvania, where lawmakers are poised to authorize fines and injunctions to prevent performances by imposter bands that advertise false, deceptive or misleading affiliations with a recording group. "There's a two-fold problem. One is the identity theft of the artist and the second is consumer fraud, misleading the public. Those are serious issues," said Nate Silcox, legislative director for Sen. Robert Robbins, R-Mercer, sponsor of the bill. The truth-in-music legislation, which already was passed in the state Senate, yesterday received unanimous approval from the state House Committee on Tourism and Recreational Development. It now heads to the House floor.

North Dakota and South Carolina have similar laws already, but those don't protect trademark holders enough or provide high enough fines for violators, said Jon Bauman, who is better known as Bowzer, the former leader of the rock 'n' roll group Sha Na Na. Mr. Bauman is a member of the Truth in Music Committee of the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in Sharon, Mercer County. Pennsylvania's legislation could become a model for the rest of the country, say Mr. Bauman and other musicians behind the legislation. They intend to press for similar legislation in at least 10 other states. "Pennsylvania is a key state to start in. It's always been a real strong oldies state," said Joe Terry, a founding member of Danny and the Juniors, which originated in Philadelphia in 1956. "Pennsylvania cares about nostalgia music and that's a good reason to start this there and kick it off there."

The legislation would prevent groups from using trademarks they don't own -- unless at least one member of the group was a member of the original recording group and is legally entitled to the name. The legislation also allows for tribute bands if concert advertising does not mislead. The legislation would allow Pennsylvania Attorney General Tom Corbett to stop performances and to impose fines of $5,000 to $15,000. Bill Pinkney, the only surviving member of The Drifters, said the fines should be even higher. "People are going around calling themselves The Drifters, The Platters and The Coasters when it's not the truth. It's not fair to the ones who paved the road, the ones who laid the foundation and made it possible for these young up-and-coming groups," Mr. Pinkney said from his home in South Carolina. At 80, he is still performing. He heads to Connecticut this weekend for a doo-wop show Sunday at Mohegan Sun casino. Another group, billing itself as Beary Hobb's Drifters, is slated to perform the same night across the country at the Sahara Hotel in Las Vegas. They aren't The Drifters, Mr. Pinkney assures. "I don't think that's fair. It's not fair to the artists and it's not fair to the public. The public is being misled," he said.

That's one reason Veta Gardner, wife of Coasters original Carl Gardner, is eager to see the Pennsylvania bill pass. "The name 'The Coasters' is a legacy that belongs to the people who created the music," Mrs. Gardner said. "I would like to secure the legacy of my husband. He has given 50 years of hardship and it wasn't easy." The Coasters were making music before the civil rights movement took hold and when racism was rampant. "They could work in the fancy hotels, but they couldn't sleep in the hotels. They couldn't go in restaurants to eat, so the bus driver would buy crackers and cheese for them to eat on the bus or the managers, who were white, would go get them hamburgers," Mrs. Gardner said. "Why should they have to fight for their trademarks now?" she asked. "Why should people be making money off their talents after all that?" The sentiment is that when people pay good money to hear "Yakety Yak," Carl Gardner ought to be the one yakking. Instead, imposter Coasters take the stage -- probably 10 times a night in different parts of the country -- said Bob Crosby, president of the Vocal Group Hall of Fame. "They stand on stage and say things like, 'When we recorded these songs,' and 'When we won our Grammys.' They completely fool the public into thinking they're the real groups and then the real guys can't get any work because the fakes are so well promoted," Mr. Crosby said.

What's worse, said Mr. Bauman, is that imposters are basking in applause meant to recognize aging musicians' longevity, song-writing and legacies.

Truth In Music  (read this interesting article).

Vegas Concert Goers Duped by Fake Band Members

Chip Yost

ay 22, 2008, 9:25 AM PDT

When you drive into Las Vegas, it's hard to miss the billboard for the big show at the Sahara Hotel. Advertised as a chance to "experience rock and roll history," the show features the Platters, the Marvelettes and Cornell Gunter's Coasters. The hits put out by the groups on the bill include "Please Mr. Postman" and "The Great Pretender." Now, critics say the show itself is a pretender – putting out people who had nothing to do with the original acts and passing them off as the real thing. When KTLA called the ticket office to inquire about the show, we were twice told that each group on the ticket included at least one original member of the group.

In person, a lady at the ticket office told us that all of the Marvelettes were originals and that one of the Platters had been with the group for 38 years. That claim was repeated on stage later that evening at the show. Last week, we took Sonny Turner and Charlie Duncan to the show with us to find out if any of those claims were true. From 1959 to 1970, Sonny Turner was the lead singer on a number of the Platters hits. For more than a quarter of a century, Charlie Duncan performed with Cornell Gunter in Cornell Gunter's Coasters – a spin-off of the original Coasters. Charlie and Sonny recognized nobody on stage as having anything to do with their groups. As for the Marvelettes, none of that group's singers even looked old enough to be alive when "Please Mr. Postman" topped the charts in 1961.

When Sonny confronted the "38 year" Platter after the show, story-line changed. In Sonny's presence, the performer 'he' had never claimed to be a member of the Platters, but instead claimed he had only worked for a former member of the group. The day after the show, we stopped by the Sahara to try to get an explanation. When Andrea Sun, a hotel spokesperson, came down to talk to us, she repeated the claim that each group contained at least one original member and said the hotel was unaware of any dispute over that statement.

However, she later said she couldn't make any more comments after learning that the hotel was facing litigation over a previous act that was once part of the same show. The hotel referred us to the show's promoter, National Artists, Inc. for further comment. Sun said National Concerts, Inc. is responsible for booking the acts in the show. National Artists' Bill Caron admitted to us that none of the performers we saw on stage were part of the original recording groups. Caron said that nobody should have ever made claims otherwise, but he defended the authenticity of the show by claiming that the promoters of the show owned the trademarks to the groups' names, and therefore had the right to put up any group of people it wanted to on stage. People connected to the original groups challenge the trademark claims made by the promoter. Such claims have been part of a lot of much litigation, and more is likely in the near future. There's also been requests made that the Nevada Attorney General step in and apply a recently passed "Truth in Music" law, that some feel gives the state the authority to step in and try to have the show shut down.

Copyright © 2008, KTLA

From the Corsicana Daily Sun, Texas newspaper.
Published: July 10, 2007
Motown act not all smooth sailing
New Texas law could shut down similar concerts around state
By Janet Jacobs
The music, not the original performers, is the star of the ‘50s music concert scheduled for September at the Palace Theater. However, while the music may hearken back to a happier time, it’s not without controversy. The rights to perform under those legendary groups’ names is being contested by various heirs and other performers. It’s not as clear-cut as it would be with the Beatles, for example, which had few members and ownership of the music. In the early ‘50s, bands were often created by record companies and provided with the line-up, music, look and managers to make them successful. Singers were considered interchangeable, and could be fired or replaced at whim. “The sad part is that most of those groups that were pre-television were recording groups prior to the civil rights movement, and very little consideration was given to the groups,” said Bob Crosby, president and CEO of the Vocal Music Hall of Fame Foundation. “When they signed contracts, they signed their names away and any chance for royalties in the future.

“How many times have you heard ‘Under the Boardwalk’ ‘Yakety Yak’ and ‘Charlie Brown?’ Those artists never received a dime from those. The record companies made money.” When movies like “American Graffiti” and “Grease” helped create new interest in ‘50s music, dozens of groups formed under the Platters, Drifters, Marvelettes and other famous names, according to The Coasters Web site, compiled by Claus Rohnisch. Lawsuits and appeals spent years working their way through the courts, often resulting in decisions that allowed original members to “brand” their own groups and continue performing, according to articles in the Detroit Free Press and Los Angeles Times. Thus, the groups performing at the Palace are very specifically Cornell Gunter's Coasters, Elsbeary Hobbs' Drifters, and The Platters. And although Gunter and Hobbs are dead, their rights were obtained from family members, according to Leah Blackard with the Palace Theater in Corsicana.

“Most of these groups it’s just been so many years. There are going to be deaths and retirements, especially with Motown. You see it under Motown more than anything else,” she said. The groups set to perform in Corsicana have already won fans around Texas, in Grapevine, Austin and other venues, which is why the Palace booked them, Blackard said. “The audiences loved them, and we’ve heard nothing but rave reviews,” she said. Not included in that camp of fans are other members or heirs of the groups, who claim exclusive rights to the names. Specifically, Carl Gardner Jr., whose father, Carl Gardner, was a member of the Coasters and who claims to hold trademark on the Coasters name, and Herb Reed of Herb Reed and the Platters, who claims to be the only living Platter left performing. Bill Pinkney, the last member of the 1953 Drifters, claimed to have the rights for that group’s name. He died last week in Florida.

Still, with so many of the performers, and their heirs out there, one solution being proposed is to tighten up the laws on advertising. The law supported by the Vocal Music Hall of Fame limits a group’s rights to perform under that name to original, living members, or those who hold the trademark. A Texas version of the law, HB 54, passed the Texas Legislature this past spring, and was signed by Gov. Rick Perry. The law takes effect Sept. 1, 2007. The Corsicana concert takes place Sept. 15.

“The value of the law is that now it can be enforced by the attorney general’s office, which can insist on the show being shut down because they’re in fact breaking a consumer law, fooling the public into believing its legendary artists when it’s not,” Crosby said. However, enforcement of the law is still in its infancy, even in states which have had the law awhile, Crosby said. It’s unclear how long it will take Texans to begin to enforce the new law, or if it would affect the Corsicana concert. Blackard said she isn’t worried about the Corsicana show because the ads have been clear about Cornell Gunter's Coasters and Elsbeary Hobbs' Drifters, rather than just billing them as the Coasters, Drifters and Platters. “It’ll be interesting to see what changes happen,” Blackard said. “You hate it because these Motown groups are so good. They put on a fabulous show.”

Myles Save and the Stars from ......


..... (Billy) Richards (Jr.) began his professional singing career at age 17 when he started performing with the rock and roll group, The Robins, created by his uncles, Roy and William Richards, and also featuring Carl Gardner and Bobby Nunn. Gardner and Nunn left to form the Coasters. Nunn eventually moved to the West Coast, recruited Richards as the lead singer and formed his own Coasters group. For more than two decades, the aggregation toured the world and helped keep appreciation for '50s music alive. After Nunn died, Richards became owner and manager of the group, renaming it Billy Richards' Coasters...
Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles March 11, 1999
(in a report of Richards Jr. recovery from an aneurysm).
Billy Richards (Jr) joined the Robins (not Coasters)
around 1960, substituting (and later replacing) his uncle Billy (William) - and was featured with Bobby Nunn, Grady Chapman et all - and is nowadays fronting the (West) Coasters (ed. mark).

Billy and Roy Richards
Hi Claus,
I wonder if you can help us confirm the dates of the original Rob(b)ins. According to the U.S. Social Security files, a Roy Richards died in Santa Monica, CA. on 11 Dec 1996 (and was born on 24 Apr 1923) and a Roy D. Richards in October 18, 1975, Orange Cty, CA. (and was born on 11 Nov 1933). I don't think it's the 1923-1996 entry. Could the twin brothers have been 13-14 when they joined the group in 1947? Today I understand Billy is not very well & has not answer our letters. Are you in contact with Billy Jr. as he may know? I've included what I have on the early members in hope that you may have more complete dates. Notice Bobby Nunn's DOB which you may want to include on your website.  HAND (Have A Nice Day)!
ERIC - Eric LeBlanc-CISTI 
(Thanks Eric - I will; ed.mark - and concerning the dates of births  - Roy Richards was not alive in 1994, when the R&B Foundation issued the Pioneer Awards to the living legends of the Robins and the Coasters.)

    The Robins with (front row) Grady Chapman, Ty Terrell Lenoard, Billy Richards, (and top) Bobby Nunn and Roy Richards in 1953/54. Billy Richards´ Coastersin 2000.
             The Robins, not Coasters.             Billy Richards´ Coasters.

Cornell Gunter's Coasters


New Year's Eve Dinner Show at the Edgewater

From Lauglin Nevada Entertainer

Published: Tuesday, December 25, 2012 7:05 PM MST
The double bill at the Edgewater's E Center dinner and dance parties,
December 29-31, features Monroe Powell and The Platters Revue
and Cornell Gunter's Coasters (see page 4 for times/tickets).
We got in touch with Charlie Duncan with Cornell Gunter's Coasters,
so here is a closer look at his group...

It was Cornell Gunter, Carl Gardner, Dub Jones and Billy Guy who, in 1958, first “coasted” through novelty hits like “Yakety Yak,” “Along Came Jones,” “Charlie Brown,” “Little Egypt,” “Poison Ivy,” “Searchin’” and more.

The Coasters were one of the most prolific R&B groups to emerge from the ‘50s with a storied career that eventually led to their induction into the  Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Cornell Gunter continued performing with his Coasters when the original group disbanded. The torch was passed to Charlie Duncan, when Gunter died in 1990. At the time, Duncan had been a member of the group for 27 years, ever since joining in 1963. He toured the world with the Coasters in the high profile spot as the designated  “Charlie Brown” of the group.

After Gunter’s death, numerous legal battles ensued as to ownership of the Coasters name. Duncan finally prevailed and obtained legal rights to the name of the The Original Cornell Gunter’s Coasters. Current members of this group are Duncan, long-time member Lionel "Z" Pope and recent addition, Ron Stevenson.

Here's Charlie Duncan's take on things from our interview:

The show...

Duncan: Of course we do all the Coasters' hits including “Charlie Brown” and “Yakety Yak”—people ask for it over and over, so we’ve got to do it. But we also do ballads from guys like Louis Armstrong and Frank Sinatra—and some of the songs we just recorded like “Baby This Time” and a remix of George Strait’s song, “The Chair.”

The good thing about working with guys with years of experience is the harmonies are still there. If one of us can’t hit a particular note on a particular night for whatever reason, the other guys can. As long as it blends together, that’s all that matters. When people hear our voices, it sounds like one person. We don’t want one guy standing out or showing the others up. That’s why we call it a group.

People come to be entertained and they come to have fun. We could get up and just sing our 12 songs and get off the stage, but we come to interact and have fun, too.

The musicians..

Duncan: We have a live back-up band made up of Denny Cole on keyboards and bass; Mike Bowl on guitar; Cliff Workman on drums; and Johnny “JC” Johnson on alto and tenor sax. JC played in a band with me and James Brown 44 years ago.

On today’s music..

Duncan: Some of it’s okay, but too much of it sounds like you’re hearing the same song over and over.  If there is anything out there that has potential to become a classic, I’m not hearing it.

Legal battles...

Duncan: We battle it every day. It’s an ongoing project. I’m a member of the Truth in Music group with Jon “Bowzer” Bauman (of Sha Na Na fame). Every other week we’re stopping a group. A lady called me in New Jersey about a “Coasters” group that said they were 34 years old. People are buying that and it messes with our livelihood. We spend a lot of money in legal fees because people just want us to turn our heads. They think “it’s just for one night or two days.” They’re lining their pockets and they don’t care about equity.

The magic of entertaining..

Duncan: I get joy from seeing people’s faces when they’re smiling, laughing and having fun. I might not be having a good night personally, but when I go out on stage and see people having a good time and smiling, it makes all the aches and pains disappear. That makes all of this worthwhile.

I’ve been an entertainer since I was 15 years old so obviously if I didn’t do this any more, I would miss it.

His own Coaster history...

Duncan: I was a 15-year old drummer playing for Wilson Pickett and Ike and Tina Turner. I  became the drummer for The Coasters before I became a singer.

The only reason I became a singer was the bass singer didn’t show up one night. We were headed to St. Louis and he didn’t make it. Cornell comes to me and says, “you know the routines, you can fill in.” So I put on a tux that was two sizes too big. We were performing with The Drifters and Danny and the Juniors so we got  drummers to replace me from each of those groups.

I came out on the front line and people loved me. The next night, Cornell says, “we have a singer”—which upset me because I loved my drums. Ever since then I’ve been singing. Sometimes I get to play the drums in our current show.

Latest projects...

Duncan: I’m in the process of writing a book about Cornell Gunter and my time spent with him.

I’m also recording the theme song for a new reality show coming to the air called, “Living it up in L.A.” It’s a nice little catchy song—and what I like most about it, they’re paying me for it.

The Coasters - Greatest Hits (Sequel 869)

A mainstay of my childhood record player, the Coasters' Greatest Hits album documents one of the hippiest and certainly one of the most hilarious pop groups ever. I recently found this UK reissue of the album on CD, including the original ten tracks from the LP and adding 14 bonus tracks not originally included, and it's a serious hoot. The Coasters were probably best known for "Yakety Yak" ("Don't talk back!") and "Charlie Brown" ("He's a clown"), both staples of "Wacky Classics" type compilations and countless episodes of "Happy Days." That said, it's likely that this disc may not appeal to everyone, but my gol-dang, what a different and better world it would be if every idiot Blur fan on the planet would start listening to the Coasters instead. Sorry if I like my music to be good, Blur fans.

There's a couple other Coasters anthologies to choose from (Rhino put out a comprehensive 2-disc set awhile back), but for my money you can't beat this one, even though it doesn't include certain songs ("Smokey Joe's Café" and "Down in Mexico" are not present, for example, but those are far from my favorites). It's just a great collection, programmed with lots of love and representing easily the Coaster's coolest sides. For those not aware of the group, they were the primary proponents of the songs of Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, who specialized in great 50's pop, but really shined on hilarious productions that hinged on clever vocal interplay and especially baritone vocal hooks (i.e. "Don't talk back!"). The liner notes point out that everyone involved would be pretty much rolling on the floor in laughter while recording these songs, and it's not hard to see why. They're not funny in the way, say, an Adam Sandler album is (fewer dick jokes, for one thing), but the over-the-top crazy voices and inflections put across by the group are truly something to marvel at. But the result does not become outright comedy or even simple novelty, because they pull off the harmonies with real power. What emerges is a group that knows how to laugh, but doesn't need to preen.

The DEF favorites on Greatest Hits are "Along Came Jones" (truly one of the funniest songs ever, makes me laugh pretty much every time), "I'm a Hog For You Baby" (extremely cool, especially for the line "One little piggie ate a pizza, one piggie ate potato chips" ---blatantly aiming at the teen market without being exploitative) and "That is Rock And Roll" (featuring Jerry Leiber himself singing on the bridge because no one else in the group could get it right). The great thing about these tracks is that they're fun but not half-assed---the bands are full of great players (King Curtis plays sax on almost all the tracks; Milt Hinton makes an appearance; Phil Spector (!) is on guitar on one track), and the arrangements are hugely inventive. A few of the tracks even have a rhythm banjo player, but totally mixed in with the band so you hardly even notice why it sounds so unique. The guitars (most notable tracks featuring George Barnes) are very inventive, and the drums throughout are amazing (check out the cover of Louis Jordan's "Saturday Night Fish Fry" for some of the best fills you've ever heard).

At twenty-four tracks, this is a whole lot of coastin', but every track is utterly solid. I'm torn between giving it six or seven l'il puppies, but I feel that to most people, a little of the Coasters sound goes a long way, like Spike Jones or black cherry soda --- very cool, but best in smaller doses. But regardless of the arbitrary rating, this is highly recommended --- sh*t man, it was good enough for the Beatles! Wait, but so was Carl Perkins, scratch that.
Loud Bassoun, 1999.
- from Loud Bassoun, web site.


Sequel CD with bonus tracks.

                  Read more about the CD originally issued in 1997.
  Poison Ivy
  Along Came Jones
  The Shadow Knows
(unissued stereo master)
  I´m A Hog For You Baby
  Charlie Brown
(unissued stereo master)
  Yakety Yak (unissued stereo master)
  Zing! Went The Strings Of My Heart
(unissued stereo master)
  That Is Rock And Roll
  Young Blood

She´s A Yum Yum
Saturday Night Fish Fry
What About Us
Run Red Run
Keep On Rollin´
Three Cool Cats
(unissued stereo master)
Bad Blood
Little Egypt
Girls Girls Girls Pt 1
Sorry But I´m Gonna Have To Pass

  (unissued stereo master)
Besame Mucho Pts 1 & 2 (two tracks)
Shoppin´ For Clothes
Bad Detective
Lovey Dovey

The Coasters Biography
as told at


Will Jones, Cornell Gunter, Adolph Jacobs, Billy Guy, and Carl Gardner in 1958.

Formed Los Angeles, 1955; ended in the late 60s, though 'Coasters'
groups still surface on the oldies circuit.

The received wisdom has it that rock'n'roll was dying on its feet during the period between Buddy Holly's death and The Beatles' invasion of the USA. However, the music that came out during this time - the first rumblings of Berry Gordy and Motown, the infectious New Orleans rhythms of The Showmen and Huey 'Piano' Smith, and especially the comedy of The Coasters - was perhaps more joyous and more intensely rhythmic than anything by Elvis, Chuck Berry or Buddy Holly. The neglect of this music is perhaps down to subconscious racism, but probably has more to do with the fact that this music was producer's music par excellence, lacking an even remotely iconic presence. Nowhere is this more apparent than with the remarkable Coasters. The Coasters evolved out of The Robins, a Los Angeles-based R&B vocal group who recorded for Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller's Spark records. The Robins had several regional hits in California, most notably "Riot In Cell Block #9" (sung by future "Louie, Louie" composer Richard Berry) and "Smokey Joe's Cafe". Impressed by the songwriting talents of Leiber and Stoller, who not only wrote The Robins' hits, but the R&B staples "Hound Dog" and "Kansas City" as well, Atlantic offered the duo an indepenent production deal. Carl Gardner (vocals) and Bobby Nunn (vocals) from The Robins decided to join Leiber and Stoller and recruited vocalists Billy Guy and Leon Hughes to become The Coasters. Their first single, "Down In Mexico" (1956), contained almost all of the elements that would characterize their style: novel rhythms, a prominent, honking sax, and a lyric that told a comically mysterious story in an exotic setting. After a few lacklustre singles, The Coasters hit their stride with "Searchin'" (1957). Leiber and Stoller's lyric brilliantly combined a detective story with poetic boasting, but it was the music that pushed the song into the American Top 3. The feel was reminiscent of Fats Domino with a slightly less funky New Orleans rhythm and drunken piano, played by Stoller himself. Although Leiber and Stoller are now recognized as one of the greatest songwriting partnerships in pop history, it was their instinctive musical and rhythmic feel that was reponsible for their success. The flip side, "Young Blood", went into the Top 10 in its own right and was the first example of the comedic style that The Coasters are best remembered for. "Yakety Yak" (1958) justly went straight to the top of the American charts on its release and has since become one of the classic rock'n'roll songs. The lyric itself was hilarious but it was Nunn's (actually Jones´; ed.mark) basso profundo 'Don't talk back' and King Curtis's sax solo that made the song. This sax embodied the rock'n'roll horn sound and would reappear on "Charlie Brown" (1959), the utterly bizarre "Along Came Jones" (1959), whose rhythm was based on a banjo riff, and "That Is Rock & Roll" (1959), which was also based on a banjo. By this time, Hughes and Nunn had left and were replaced by a succession of singers including Will Jones and Obie Jessie. The Coasters closed out 1959 with a string of remarkable songs. "Poison Ivy" abandoned the sax in favour of a harder, guitar-based rhythm and was constructed around a dazzling extended metaphor filled with over-the-top internal rhymes, while "What About Us", along with Chuck Berry's "Brown Eyed Handsome Man", pioneered rock'n'roll's exploration of race and class issues. "Run Red Run", meanwhile, was perhaps their best song. On the surface it was another one of Leiber and Stoller's comic playlets, but underneath was an extraordinary political statement. As Leiber puts it, 'once the monkey knows how to play [poker], he knows how to understand other things. And once he understands that he's being cheated and exploited, he becomes revolutionary.' After 1959, the hits dried up with the exception of "Little Egypt" (1961) and the wonderful "Shoppin' For Clothes" (1960), whose depiction of cool was so perfect that it's been sampled by both Barry Adamson and The Jungle Brothers in their portraits of hipness. The Coasters continued until the late 60s with little success, and numerous versions of the band continue to play the 'oldies' circuit. Leiber and Stoller continued writing and producing hits for The Drifters, Ben E. King, The Dixie Cups and Elvis - they were not only early rock'n'roll's greatest songwriters, but its greatest producers as well. In the unwritten history of popular music's miscegenation, Leiber and Stoller, two Jewish kids from the Bronx, occupy a central role, for they created rock'n'roll's metaphors and lingo, and its rhythmic language too.
The Very Best Of The Coasters (1994; Rhino/Atlantic). The cream of the crop from Rhino's 50-song retrospective, Coastin' Classics. This shows off Leiber and Stoller's enormous talent for mixing the comic and the political, and suggests why things like Red Wedge and Rock Against Racism are such abject failures.
Peter Shapiro

(as shown pre 2002 on AMG - All Music Guide on the Internet)

Possibly the most popular doo wop group of the '50s, the Coasters started on the West Coast as the Robins, scoring hits under the writing-and-production helm of Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller. When Atlantic signed Leiber and Stoller as a production team, the group split into two factions; the core of the group became the Coasters and moved to New York to record, while the Robins continued on the West Coast to diminishing acclaim. The Coasters' hits, some of the most finely crafted, well written, and hilarious in the genre, continued throughout the rest of the decade. Carl Gardner's sly leads and Bobby Nunn's bass singing defined their sound through numerous personnel changes. When their time on the charts came to an end a number of "Coasters" groups suddenly proliferated (much like the Drifters, many of them still dotting the landscape of a million oldies shows and still singing those classic songs).
-- Cub Koda, All-Music Guide
Hard core doo-wop fans will forever remain divided on the musical merits of the Coasters. Were they really a great vocal group or merely the core remnants of a much better one (the Robins) being manipulated as so many spare parts by producers-songwriters Jerry Lieber (sic) and Mike Stoller? Was their lack of solid ballad material in their discography done by design or did it mask a far more serious musical deficiency in the group's makeup? Were the jokes and comic nature of their material all part of Lieber and Stoller's master plan to sell a Black doo-wop group to White America via the minstrel approach or were the Coasters the first vocal group since the Ink Spots to truly possess crossover appeal? There's no easy answers to any of these questions, but certainly the majority of the answers can be found on Rhino's excellent two disc anthology, 50 Coastin' Classics. The set starts with their final records as the Robins with Lieber and Stoller at the production helm and shows how early in the game, the producers were not above bringing in a ringer like Richard Berry to do the bad-ass narration work on "Riot In Cell Block #9" if the group's regular singer wasn't getting the job done. The group became a cleaner, leaner and less of a 'street' group when its core membership moved to the East Coast and started recording in New York under their name. Their sound became bluesier and almost gospel in nature on material like "Idol With The Golden head" and positively eerie on pieces like the minor keyed "Three Cool Cats." Lieber (sic) and Stoller's penchant for arranging the group's vocals and assigning each member a segment of the lead part was already pronounced by the flip side of their first Coaster single "Searchin'" with the one line at at time reel off at the end of each verse on the seminal "Young Blood." This tune became the blueprint for later entries like "Along Came Jones" and "The Shadow Knows" while it perhaps even further refined on hits like "Charlie Brown" and "Yakety Yak." Although the group recorded almost no ballad material of any kind, it wasn't for lack of vocal power, as a quick listen to either "Besame Mucho" or "Zing! Went The Strings Of My Heart" will quickly attest. No, the Coasters simply were too talented, adaptable and moldable as entertainers to be worried about getting a hot version of "Gloria" on one of their LPs to prove to the local crowd that they could croon as good as the local homeboys. Although the preponderance of comedic and novelty material keeps the group out of the pantheon of names normally associated with the tops in doo-wop vocalizing, the Coasters were certainly one of the very best the genre ever produced on a multitude of levels.

-- Cub Koda

Check Jay Warner´s presentation of the Coasters as published in "American Singing Groups"
and Steve Huey´s presentation on the All Music Guide of today here:

The Coasters - Summary

Biography   on The Coasters  as told at
Guy, Jones, Gardner, and Gunter in 1960.


This R&B vocal group hailed from Los Angeles, USA. The illustrious career of the Coasters, the pre-eminent vocal group of the early rock 'n' roll era, was built on a remarkable body of cleverly comic R&B songs by their producers, Leiber And Stoller. Under their direction, the Coasters exchanged the crooning of ballads favoured by most groups of the era for robust and full-throated R&B shouting. The group came together in 1955 from remnants of the Robins, who had a dispute with their producers/songwriters, Leiber and Stoller. The original Coasters consisted of two ex-Robins, Carl Gardner (b. 29 April 1928, Tyler, Texas, USA; lead) and Bobby Nunn (b. 1925, Birmingham, Alabama, USA, d. 5 November 1986; bass), plus Leon Hughes (b. 1938; tenor), Billy Guy (b. 20 June 1936, Itasca, Texas, USA; lead and baritone) and Adolph Jacobs (b. Oakland, California, USA; guitar). Hughes was replaced in 1956 by Young Jessie, who in turn was replaced by ex-Flairs Cornell Gunther (sic) (b. 14 November 1936, Los Angeles, California, USA, d. 26 February 1990). In 1958 Nunn was replaced by ex-Cadets Will 'Dub' Jones (b. 1939 )not correct, ed.mark), Los Angeles, California, USA). Ex-Cadillacs Earl Carroll (b. Gregory (actually not Gregory; ed.mark) Carroll, 2 November 1937, New York, New York, USA) replaced Gunther in 1961. The Coasters first charted with 'Down In Mexico' (US R&B Top 10) in 1956, but the double-sided hit from 1957, 'Searchin'' (US R&B number 1 and pop number 3) and 'Young Blood' (US R&B number 2 and pop Top 10) established the group as major rock 'n' roll stars (in the UK, 'Searchin'' reached number 30). Three more giant hits sustained the Coasters' career, namely 'Yakety Yak' (US R&B and pop number 1 in 1958), 'Charlie Brown' (US R&B and pop number 2 in 1959), and 'Poison Ivy' (US R&B number 1 and pop Top 10 in 1959). In the UK, 'Yakety Yak' went to number 12, 'Charlie Brown' to number 6, and 'Poison Ivy' to number 15, the group's last chart record in the UK. By this time, they were generally regarded as one of the wittiest exponents of teenage growing problems to emerge from the rock 'n' roll era. By the early 60s the lustre had worn off, as the hits increasingly emphasized the comic lyrics to the detriment of the music. The group continued for decades as an oldies act, and fractured into two different groups playing the oldies circuit. Bobby Nunn died on 5 November 1986; Cornell Gunther was shot dead on 26 February 1990. The group was inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame in 1987.
Based on Colin Larkin´s presentation
in Guiness´ Encyclopedia on Popular Music.

This article was featured in The Oak Ridger on April 15, 2003:
Oak Ridger, TN
Yakety Yak, The Coasters are back
by R. Cathey Daniels at the Oak Ridger staff
"Why's everybody always pickin' on me?"
The Coasters, in one way or another, have been trying to figure that one out since the 1950s and Oak Ridge will watch them try again May 17, at A.K. Bissell Park. The group, still touting one original member, lead singer and founder Carl Gardner, is slated to headline the Secret City Festival's entertainment tab. From Salty Sam and Sweet Sue in "Along Came Jones" to a young woman who can give a guy "Poison Ivy" (and other assorted ailments), the group will bring its special brand of humor and rhythm to festival participants. "The Coasters are an excellent headliner for the Secret City Festival," said Joye Montgomery, entertainment coordinator and Arts Council of Oak Ridge executive director. "They are sure to appeal to all ages and will definitely put on a great show. We are excited to add them to our long list of excellent entertainment throughout the two-day event." Will Minter, community outreach co-chair and director for the Small Business Program Office at Oak Ridge National Laboratory said, "Music from the 50's and 60's helped many people get through their awkward teenage years and into adulthood. The most significant events in our lives are remembered through the fabric of music, and The Coasters helped us laugh our way through them."The evening's entertainment begins at 5 p.m. with the bluegrass band High Altitude followed by Mitzi Hubb, an award winning country artist. LB1 Band, a 70's disco group will play, as well as The Invaders, a 60's British invasion band, playing tunes by the Beatles, Rolling Stones and others. Prior to The Coasters taking center stage, they will give a backstage party at the Oak Ridge Mall for senior citizens who are members of the Covenant Health Passport Program. Members of Passport can apply to attend by calling 481-1811. Attendance is limited to 950. The Coasters' performance is sponsored by Covenant Health Passport Program, Methodist Medical Center and Cariten Healthcare.

The Coasters  at Wikipedia

The Coasters were an American doo wop and early rock and roll group, evolving from The Robins, a Los Angeles based doo wop group. After The Robins signed with Atlantic Records (1955, after the massive chart success of "Smokey Joe's Cafe"), the group split up. Carl Gardnr (tenor) and Bobby Nunn (bass) formed The Coasters. The Coasters continued their association with the Robins' legendary songwriters, Leiber & Stoller. They soon added Billy Guy (baritone), Leon Hughes (tenor) and Adolph Jacobs (guitar), releasing their first single "Down in Mexico", a major R&B hit in 1956.

In 1957, The Coasters crossed over with "Young Blood"/"Searchin'". This was followed by a dry period, and the group relocated to New York City. Nunn and Hughes left, replaced by Dub Jones (bass, of The Cadets) and Obie Jessie. Jessie was soon replaced by Cornell Gunter (The Flairs). This new line-up released "Yakety Yak", which included King Curtis on tenor saxophone. The song was a huge mainstream hit, as was the follow-up "Charlie Brown". This was followed by "Along Came Jones", "Poison Ivy", "Shoppin' for Clothes" and "Little Egypt". A series of line-up changes contributed to a lack of hits in the 1960s.

The Coasters signed with Columbia Records, but were never able to regain their former fame. The Coasters last hit was "Love Potion No. 9" in 1971. Several groups used the name in the 1970s, touring throughout the country, though Gardner held the legal rights to it. Nunn died in 1986, the group was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame one year later. Gunter was murdered in Las Vegas in 1990. The group was inducted into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 1999. Jones died in 2000 and Guy in 2002. Gardner continues to tour as The Coasters and has made many attempts to stop bogus groups with no connection to the original group from using the name.

January 2005 (Wikipedia is an open encyclopedia, freely edited by viewers), check the present text.

The Coasters

This is from with information collected from the editor of The Coasters Web Site.

"Those Hoodlum Friends" - "The Clown Princes of Rock ´N´ Roll", The Coasters were the first vocal group to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on January 21, 1987. They have appeared in 6 major movies and have amassed over 100 million record sales in their career. The foursome was created in October, 1955 from the nucleus of the Los Angeles, California based vocal sextet "the Robins". It was the young producing-composing team of Jerry Leiber & Mike Stoller, who with manager-salesman, Lester Sill, persuaded Bobby Nunn and Carl Gardner, to leave that group and launch the Coasters.

Attracted by the success of "Smokey Joe's Cafe" with Gardner on lead vocal, Atlantic Records signed an independent producer-composer contract with Leiber & Stoller. Two hand-chosen Californians, Billy Guy and Leon Hughes, completed the original Coasters line-up. They were contracted to Atlantic´s new subsidiary, Atco Records. Through the Coasters, Leiber-Stoller launched some of the most entertaining songs of the ´50s. The first Coasters´ recording was "Down In Mexico" on January 11, 1956. The record became a sleeper R&B hit - followed by the minor Pop hit, "One Kiss Led To Another". The group now hit the road for national promotion and produced R&B´s most famous double-sided smash in 1957. "Young Blood" (the original A-side) was an R&B Juke Box No. 1 hit (acutally No. 2  - but #1 on the R&B Best Seller chart - the old infomation is from a wrongly presentation on an old Joel Whitburn summary; ed.note), and a No. 2 hit on the R&B Disc Jockey chart, while the flip side, "Searchin´", which occupied the No. 1 spot on the R&B Best Seller chart for thirteen weeks (actually 12 weeks, succeeding its flip; ed.note), and lasted No. 1 on the R&B Disc Jockey chart for seven weeks. Both titles also became national Pop Top Ten hits, staying on the charts for half a year.

After three less successful releases, the Coasters reformed and moved from the West Coast to New York. Bobby Nunn and Leon Hughes stayed in California, where Nunn later launched his own "The Coasters, Mark II". Nunn died of heart failure on November 5, 1986 in Los Angeles. His group, now led by Billy Richards Jr, continued to tour as "Billy Richards´ Coasters". Hughes also started his own Coasters tribute group - "The Original Coasters". Tenor, Cornell Gunter and bass, Will "Dub" Jones, replaced Hughes and Nunn, and in 1959, The Coasters rattled off a string of hits that included "Yakety Yak" (a No. 1 Pop hit in 1958), "Charlie Brown" and "Along Came Jones" (1959) and the double-sider "Poison Ivy" b/w "I´m A Hog For You". The classic Coasters had a fifth member in guitarist Adolph Jacobs from Oakland, California, who was succeeded by a Coasters´ employee, Sonny Forriest, on "What About Us", which was the last single of the highly successful year of 1959.

The productions of the Coasters´ Atco recordings were far superior to any contemporary group efforts (using the best musicians available, especially King Curtis´ sax breaks) with the lyrics neatly deriding aspects of teenage and/or black ghetto life. The group also worked out hilarious stage routines and became the most professional act in late ´50s Rhythm & Blues and early ´60s International Pop. In 1960, the Coasters had a few more minor hits with "Wake Me, Shake Me" and "Shoppin´ For Clothes". In 1961 they hit with "Wait A Minute" (recorded in 1957). After the group´s last U.S. Pop Top 30 hit entry, "Little Egypt", Cornell Gunter left the group in June, 1961. He formed his own "Fabulous Coasters" a couple of years later. Gunter died in his car by a gun shot from an unknown person in Las Vegas on January 26, 1990.

Leiber-Stoller had left Atco/Atlantic in 1963, and the hits quickly dried up, but the vocal quartet renewed their collaboration with the team in late 1966, recording for the CBS subsidiary Date Records. By this time however, doo-wap music was hopelessly out of style, and despite releasing several new records, The Coasters were unable to repeat their earlier success. The group continued to perform all over U.S. and toured Europe several times. They even made a brief come-back on the U.S. Hot 100 Chart in 1972, with a re-rendition of "Love Potion Number Nine". By the early ´80s, Carroll had left to reform his Cadillacs, and Guy and Jones sporadically acted with a special "World Famous Coasters" in California. In the late ´90s yet another fake Coasters, "Billy Guy´s Coasters", emerged on the scene, semi-coached by Billy Guy.

In 1987 the Coasters, Gardner, Guy, Jones, and Gunter (the line-up that made the hits) were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame - the first vocal group receiving that honour. Carl Gardner & The Coasters were - despite competition from bogus and off-spring Coasters groups - heavily engaged in live bookings during the late ´80s and the whole of the ´90s (even performing at the Carnegie Hall).

All of the early members launched their off-shoot Coasters´ recording groups during later years. Billy Guy has issued records as Billy Guy & The Coasters, and there were Bobby Nunn´s Coasters, Mark II - later touring as Billy Richards´ (West) Coasters; Leon Hughes´ Original Coasters; Cornell Gunter´s Fabulous Coasters (nowadays; ed.note) acting with fake members as Cornell Gunter´s Coasters Inc. There also was Will Jones´ World Famous Coasters (which often featured Billy Guy, who later semi-coached Larry Marshak´s fake group, which toured (and toures with the Buck Ram Platters and Berry Hobb's Drifters; ed.note) as (yet another; ed.note) Cornell Gunter´s Coasters with Shirley Gunter as mentor. The true Coasters though, were led by Carl Gardner (until late 2005, when his son Carl Jr took over the lead role and Sr. semi-retired; ed.note).

The Coaster's Top Ten Hits
1957 YOUNG BLOOD - #8
1957 SEARCHING - #3
1957 POISON IVY - #7
1958 YAKETY YAK - #1

Be sure to read Gary James' Interview With The Coasters' Carl Gardner

The classic Coasters: Guy, Jones, Gardner, Gunter.

Fats Domino
New Orleans pianist/organist James Booker, who was pianist on some of Domino´s later recordings, accompanied the Coasters on "Soul Pad" and "Down Home Girl" (the latter originally recorded by N.O. guitarist Alvin Robinson).

Peggy Lee
Jerry & Mike wrote several records for Peggy Lee, a.o. "I´m A Woman", which the Coasters revived as "She Can"- later issued as "Talkin´´Bout A Woman".

Dinah Washington
Cornell Gunter toured with Dinah for almost a year (after leaving the Coasters).

Ruth Brown
Jerry & Mike wrote several popular songs for Ruth Brown (a.o. the Coasterish "I Can´t Hear A Word You Say").

The Clovers
Inspired the Coasters in many ways (and lost in popularity when the Coasters started making hits). Carl et co. thanked them when reviving their "Love Potion Number 9".

Elvis Presley
Covered two Coasters´ originals for the movies in the early 1960s - "Little Egypt" and "Girls Girls Girls".

Johnny Otis
Bobby Nunn, Carl Gardner, and Billy Guy all made their early stage debuts at Johnny´s Watts, California dance clubs.

The Drifters
When the Drifters went for their first decline in the late 1950s this group often masqueraded as "The Coasters".

Lloyd Price
Both Billy Guy and the Coasters (with Carl Gardner and Jimmy Norman) were associated to Lloyd during the 1960s (and later they paid tribute by recording his "Personality").

Ray Charles
Recorded a novelty titled "At The Club" in the early 1960s in a typical Coasters manner, and later revived the Coasters´ original "Let´s Go Get Stoned".

Sam Cooke - Lou Rawls
Sam´s successor in the Soul Stirrers (and the one who duetted with him on "Bring It On Home To Me"), Lou Rawls, once deputized for Carl on a tour in the early 1960s.

The Platters
Just as the Coasters, the Drifters (and nowadays also the Temptations), this group has struggled with the problem of bogus name-sakes thruout later years.

Little Richard
One of the Beatles´ favorites, just like the Coasters - and a rock ´n´ roll survivor.

Joe Turner
The hit "Honey Hush" original pressings had "Yakity-Yak" as alternate title. One of Joe´s old friends (and hit record composer), Doc Pomus, co-wrote  "Young Blood" with Leiber-Stoller.

LaVern Baker
Another favorite of Leiber-Stoller´s who toured with the Coasters´ package shows and used The Cues, who recorded their own "Charlie Brown" in 1956 (compl. diff.) as back-up singers with the name The Gliders.

B. B. King
Shares a blues favorite of Carl Gardner´s - fellow Texan, T-Bone Walker.

Jackie Wilson
Cornell Gunter was the first to be at hand, when Jackie collapsed (to be hospitalized for the rest of his life) on stage at Dick Clark´s Latin Casino Supper Club in Cherry Hill, N.Y. on September 29, 1975.

Joe Tex
Has been inspired in many ways by the Coasters (recorded an answer to "Charlie Brown", "Charlie Brown Got Expelled" in 1959, and used a stage humor just like the Coasters).

Chubby Checker
Used "Charlie Brown" and other famous rock & roll titles for his interesting 1959 debut pop hit "The Class".

The Temptations
Used the same famous stage choreographer as the Cadillacs and the Coasters, namely Cholly Atkins.

Wilson Pickett
Issued a 1970s Coasters recording on his Wicked label.

The Impressions
Recorded several late 1950s songs heavily inspired by the Coasters.

Chuck Berry
The great rock ´n´ roll poet has kept on rockin´ just like the Coasters are keeping on.

All-Music-Guide for books and music!
| the Ultimate Coasters Collection and more Coasters photos |

next: The Robins Discography

top of page

Those Hoodlum Friends - The Coasters

The Hits & the Great Groups | The Coasters Biography | Coasters Singles Discography | 50 Years of R&B
The Coasters Story - Quoted
| Members´ Mini Bio´s | Session Discography | Fake Coasters Recordings
The Coasters CD Guide | Albums Discography | Carl Gardner, lead vocal | The Coasters Line-Ups
Recording Sessions | Sequel´s 4 CD-series | Coastin´ with the Coasters | The Robins Discography
Coasters Re-Cap & Atlantic Records | The Best Records of R&B | Favorite R&B Stars | Ultimate Coasters Collection
R&B Super Hits | The Great R&B Pioneers | Artist Links | R&B Site Links | News Letter

The Coasters Web Site

To enter The Coasters Web Site
(if you´re on a one-frame page, please click)