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The Coasters Web Site
Singles Discography
Young Blood midi

The Robins on Spark | Coasters Singles

Coasters´ EPs | Singles Discography with leads
Off-Shot Coasters Singles | In the Beginning (Sill-Leiber-Stoller) 


Edited by Claus Röhnisch (updatedJune 6, 2009)
Printer-Friendly Version including all vinyls.

The original Coasters in 1956. Top: Bobby Nunn and Carl Gardner, bottom: Leon Hughes and Billy Guy.

Idol With The Golden HeadMy Baby Comes To Me
"Yakety Yak" on original Atco single.

Label and catalog number followed by date of issue (month/year).

(the only Robins´ recordings featuring Carl Gardner are on Spark)


Riot In Cell Block #9  /  Wrap It Up
Loop De Loop Mambo  /  Framed
If Teardrops Were Kisses  /  Whadaya Want?
One Kiss  /  I Love Paris
I Must Be Dreamin  /  The Hatchet Man
Smokey Joe´s Cafe  /  Just Like A Fool   


The Atco single of "Smokey Joe's Cafe".

6059 10/55
Smokey Joe´s Cafe  /  Just Like A Fool  


"Searchin´"  sheet music."Poison Ivy" and "Charlie Brown".
"Searchin´ " on Atco 78-6087."Brazil".Atco single 45-6104
First pressing of "Yakety Yak" 45."Charlie Brown" promo 45.

Check Atco singles images (both sides)



Down In Mexico  /  Turtle Dovin´
One Kiss Led To Another  /  Brazil
Young Blood  /  Searchin´
Idol With The Golden Head  / 
(When She Wants Good Lovin´) My Baby Comes To Me
Sweet Georgia Brown /
What Is The Secret Of Your Success?
Gee, Golly  /  Dance!
Yakety Yak  /  Zing! Went The Strings Of My Heart
The Shadow Knows  /  Sorry But I´m Gonna Have To Pass
Charlie Brown  /  Three Cool Cats
Along Came Jones  /  That Is Rock & Roll
Poison Ivy  /  I´m A Hog For You
What About Us  /  Run Red Run
Besame Mucho (Parts I & II)
Wake Me, Shake Me  /  Stewball
Shoppin´ For Clothes  /  The Snake And The Book Worm
Wait A Minute  /  Thumbin´ A Ride
Little Egypt (Ying-Yang)  /  Keep On Rolling  
Girls Girls Girls (Parts I & II)
(Ain´t That) Just Like Me  /  Bad Blood 
Ridin´ Hood  /  Teach Me How To Shimmy
The Climb (vocal & instrumental)
The P.T.A.  /  Bull Tick Waltz   
T´Ain´t Nothin´ To Me  /  Speedo´s Back In Town
Bad Detective  /  Lovey Dovey 
Wild One  /  I Must Be Dreaming
Lady Like  /  Hongry
Let´s Go Get Stoned  /  Money Honey
Crazy Baby  /  Bell Bottom Slacks And A Chinese Kimono
(She´s My Little Spodee-O)
She´s A Yum Yum  /  Saturday Night Fish Fry   


Soul Pad  /  Down Home Girl
She Can  /  Everybody´s Woman
D.W. Washburn  /  Everybody´s Woman


504 1969 
Act Right  /  The World Is Changing


Love Potion Number Nine  /  D.W. Washburn
Cool Jerk  /  Talkin´ ´Bout A Woman
Soul Pad  /  D.W. Washburn

Atlantic Oldies Series
(Atco reissues. There are more issued than listed - with flips by pther artists,
The Robins: "Smokey Joe's Cafe" b/w The Chords,

"Zing! Went The Strings Of My Heart" b/w The Sensations, and "Just Like Me" b/w Tee Tucker.

Searchin´  /  Young Blood
Little Egypt  /  Down In Mexico
Poison Ivy  /  Idol With The Golden Head
Yakety Yak  /  Along Came Jones
Charlie Brown  /  I´m A Hog For You
Shoppin'  For Clothes  /  Run Red Run
Wake Me, Shake Me / T´ain´t Nothin´ To Me

as Carl Gardner & The Coasters
(This is a Wilson Pickett label - both tracks written by the five Coasters)

8103 1976    
Hush Don´t Talk About It  /  The World Keeps On Turning


Get the Coasters' singles  (and more)
ebay auctions on RARE Coasters items
New ebay items

Link to Matt Broyles' e-bay site

"Love Potion Number Nine" - the original King single.King´s  "Love Potion Number Nine".King single 6385.
"Soul Pad" on King 6404.Cool JerkTalkin'  'Bout A Woman

The Coasters´ Chart Hits


Great label shots of the ´50s Hits
and nice EP covers


1958: Jones, Gardner, Gunter, Guy, and guitarist Jacobs.
Note: The line-ups are presented for general overview and do not always fit with issue dates.
Label and catalogue number followed by track titles (with lead and  recording dates)  followed by month/year of issue.
Printer-Friendly version

The vocal part of "Besame Mucho".


The Robins
(Carl Gardner, Bobby Nunn, Terrell Leonard, Billy Richard, Roy Richard, Grady Chapman)
leads: CG-Gardner; BN-Nunn; GC-Chapman; RB-Richard Berry (guest lead) (Los Angeles)
Spark 103 - Riot In Cell Block # 9 (RB ca 3/54)  /  Wrap It Up (BN,CG ca 3/54) - 6/54
Spark 107 - Loop De Loop Mambo (CG 8/54)  /  Framed (BN 8/54) - 10/54
Spark 110 - If Teardrops Were Kisses (CG 2/54)  /  Whadaya Want? (GC 2/54) - 2/55
Spark 113 - One Kiss (CG 8/54)  /  I Love Paris (GC 2/54) - 4/55
Spark 116 - I Must Be Dreamin (CG 8/54)  /  The Hatchet Man (BN 2/54) - 6/55
Spark 122 - Smokey Joe´s Cafe (CG prob 7/7/55)  /  Just Like A Fool (CG prob 7/7/55) - 9/55
Atco 6059 - Smokey Joe´s Cafe (CG)  /  Just Like A Fool (CG) - 10/55 (reissue)
(all of the above later issued on EP, LP and CD compilations as The Coasters).

The Coasters
(Carl Gardner, Bobby Nunn, Billy Guy, Leon Hughes)
leads: CG-Gardner; BN-Nunn; BG-Guy  (Los Angeles, Chicago*, New York**)
Atco 6064 - Down In Mexico (CG 1/11/56)  /  Turtle Dovin´ (CG 1/11/56) - 2/56
Atco 6073 - One Kiss Led To Another (CG 1/11/56) /  Brazil  (CG,BN,BG 1/11/56) - 7/56
Atco 6087 - Young Blood (CG 2/15/57)  /  Searchin´ (BG 2/15/57) - 3/57
Atco 6098 - Idol With The Golden Head (CG 7/24/57*)  /  (When She Wants Good Lovin´) My Baby Comes To Me (BG 7/24/57*) - 8/57
Atco 6104 - Sweet Georgia Brown (CG,BG,BN 2/12/57)  / What Is The Secret Of Your Success? (BG 7/24/57*) - 11/57
Atco 6111 - Gee, Golly (BG 12/4/57**)  /  Dance! (CG 12/4/57**) - 1/58
(Gardner, Guy, Will Jones, Cornell Gunter)
leads: CG-Gardner; BG-Guy; WJ-Jones, CoG-Gunter (New York)
Atco 6116 - Yakety Yak  (CG,BG 3/17/58)  /  Zing! Went The Strings Of My Heart  (WJ,CoG 3/17/58) - 4/58
Atco 6126 - The Shadow Knows (BG 8/8/58)  /  Sorry But I´m Gonna Have To Pass (WJ 8/8/58) - 8/58
Atco 6132 - Charlie Brown (unison 12/11/58)  /  Three Cool Cats (CG 3/17/58) - 1/59
                  Clarion edition of the above has Charlie Brown with CG, CoG as leads
Atco 6141 - Along Came Jones  (joint leads 3/26/59)  /  That Is Rock & Roll (CG 3/26/59) - 5/59
Atco 6146 - Poison Ivy  (CG,BG 7/16/59)  /  I´m A Hog For You (unison 8/8/58, edited 7/17/59) - 8/59
Atco 6153 - What About Us (unison 7/16/59)  /  Run Red Run (BG 7/23/59) - 11/59
Atco 6163 - Besame Mucho (Parts I & II) (WJ 2/26/60) - 3/60
Atco 6168 - Wake Me, Shake Me (BG 2/26/60)  /  Stewball (BG 3/17/58) - 6/60
Atco 6178 - Shoppin´ For Clothes (BG,WJ 7/29/60)  /  The Snake And The Book Worm  (CG,CoG 2/26/60) - 9/60
                  - a-side also issed as Clothes Line (Wrap It Up)
Atco 6186 - Wait A Minute (BG;rec 1957 12/4/57)  /  Thumbin´ A Ride (CG 7/29/60) - 1/61
Atco 6192 - Little Egypt (Ying-Yang) (BG 2/9/61)  /  Keep On Rolling  (CG,CoG 2/26/60) - 4/61
Atco 6204 - Girls Girls Girls (Parts I & II) (BG 2/9/61) - 8/61
(Gardner, Guy, Jones, Earl Carroll)
leads: CG-Gardner; BG-Guy; WJ-Jones; EC-Carroll (New York, Los Angeles*)
Atco 6210 - (Ain´t That) Just Like Me (BG 9/25/61)   /  Bad Blood (CG 9/25/61) - 11/61
Atco 6219 - Ridin´ Hood (unison 12/7/60*) /  Teach Me How To Shimmy (BG 4/10/61*) - 2/62
Atco 6234 - The Climb (vocal & instrumental) (WJ 7/31/62) - 9/62
Atco 6251 - The P.T.A. (BG 1/11/63)  /  Bull Tick Waltz (BG 7/31/62) - 1/63
Atco 6287 - T´Ain´t Nothin´ To Me (BG,WJ 11/16/63)  /  Speedo´s Back In Town (EC 11/16/63) - 2/64
Atco 6300 - Bad Detective (BG 12/17/63)  /  Lovey Dovey (CG 12/17/63) - 5/64
Atco 6321 - Wild One (BG 8/28/64) /  I Must Be Dreaming (BG,CG 8/28/64) - 10/64
Atco 6341 - Lady Like (unison 2/26/60)  /  Hongry (BG 4/10/61*) - 2/65
Atco 6356 - Let´s Go Get Stoned (BG 4/21/65)  /  Money Honey (unison 4/21/65) - 5/65
Atco 6379 - Crazy Baby (BG 4/21/65, edited 9/8/65)  /  Bell Bottom Slacks And A Chinese Kimono
                      (She´s My Little Spodee-O) (CG 4/21/65, edited 9/8/65) - 9/65
Atco 6407 - She´s A Yum Yum (unison 1/26/66)  /  Saturday Night Fish Fry (BG 1/26/66) - 3/66
Date 1552 - Soul Pad (BG,EC 11/18/66) /  Down Home Girl (BG 11/18/66) - 3/67
Date 1607 - She Can (BG,CG,EC 10/30/67) /  Everybody´s Woman (EC 10/30/67) - 5/68
Date 1617 - D.W. Washburn  (BG,CG 10/31/67  /  Everybody´s Woman (EC 10/30/67) - 7/68

(Gardner, Guy, Carroll, Ronnie Bright)
Turntable 504 - Act Right (BG 69)  /  The World Is Changing (EC 69) - 1969
King 6385 - Love Potion Number Nine (CG 2/13/68, edited late 71)  /  D.W. Washburn (BG,CG 10/31/67) - 11/71
King 6389 - Cool Jerk (CG late 71)  /  Talkin´ ´Bout A Woman (BG,CG,EC; act. She Can 10/30/67) - 4/72
King 6404 - Soul Pad (BG,EC 11/18/66)  /  D.W. Washburn (BG,CG 10/31/67) - 1973
Carl Gardner & The Coasters
(Gardner, Carroll, Bright, Jimmy Norman)
Wicked 8103 - Hush Don´t Talk About It (CG ca 76) /  The World Keeps On Turning (EC ca 76) - 1976

The Coasters - not on any single (no live recordings included)
(Note: there also are several alternates and edited masters of the singles, not listed below)
Recorded in New York unless otherwise indicated.
1957  Lola (CG 2/12/57 L.A.) - Atco LP 33-101 The Coasters
Three Cool Cats (alternate arrangement CG 3/17/58) - MR. R&B CD-102 Charlie Brown
1958  Crocodile (unison 8/8/58) - MR. R&B CD-102
1958  I´m A Hog For You (several different versions-unison 8/8/58) - MR. R&B CD-102
1958  Hey Sexy (unison 12/11/58) - Rhino CD R2 71090 50 Coastin´ Classics
1958  Sexy (Hey Sexy) (CG 12/11/58) - MR. R&B CD-102
1959  That Is Rock & Roll (edited version, WJ 3/26/59) - Atco LP SD 33-371 Their Greatest Recordings - The Early Years
1960  The Snake And The Bookworm (unison version 2/26/60) - Atco LP SD 33-135 Coast Along With The Coasters
(only the stereo album)
1960  The Coasters - One By One - Atco LP SD 33-123 (6/13&15/60)
1961  My Babe (BG 9/25/61) - Atco LP SD 33-135 Coast Along With The Coasters
1962  The Slime (WJ 7/31/62) - Clarion LP SD-605 That Is Rock & Roll
(alternate of The Climb, act. titled so on the album)
1967  Mohair Sam (unison 10/30/67) - King LP 1146-498 The Coasters On Broadway
1968  Down At Papa Joe's (unison 2/12/68)  King LP 1146-498
1968  Shake ´Em Up And Let ´Em Roll (lead: Jerry Leiber 2/13/68) - Rhino CD R2 71090  
1971  Mustang Sally (BG late 71) - King LP 1146-498
1971  On Broadway (CG late 71) - King LP 1146-498
1971  The In Crowd (CG late 71) - King LP 1146-498
1973  The Coasters - 16 Greatest Hits (featuring 10 re-recordings with Gardner and Norman, leads ca 73) - Trip LP TOP 16-7
1977  Check Mr. Popeye (lead: Ronnie Bright 77) - Epic LP PE-34668 (various artists with Southside Johnny)

The Coasters - unissued recordings
1957  I´m Fallin´ - unissued Atco (12/4)
1960  Dog Face - unissued Atco (7/29)
1961  Weddin´ Days - unissued Atco (2/9)
1961  Giving Up / I’m A Hum Dinger – unissued Atco (4/10 L.A.)
1963  Cottonfields / Skylark  - unissued Atco (12/17)
1964  Speedball - unissued Atco (8/28)
1967  Teeny Bopper - unissued Columbia (6/28) (prob demo)
1968  Personality - unissued Columbia/King (2/13) - prob. only demo
1971  Good Lovin´  - unissued King (late) - only instr. track exists

Off-Shot Coasters singles
The Coasters Two Plus Two (Hughes, Nunn, Chapman, Jerome Evans) L.A.
Chelan 2000 - Searchin´ 75  /  Young Blood  - 1975
Billy Guy and The Coasters (Billy Guy) L.A.
Sal/WA 1001 (Guy solo)  - You Move Me / Take It Easy Greazy  - 1975
BlackCircle 102 - Watergate (Put Some Funk On, Cause The Money's Been Long Gone) / Hockey-Puck   - 1975 
"World Famous" Coasters (Jones, Hughes, plus) L.A.
AI-1122 - If I Had A Hammer (parts 1 & 2) - 1976
The World Famous Coasters (feat. Leon Hughes) Lake Tahoe
AceHi 101 - So Fine  / Baby What You Want Me To Do - ca 1977

The Coasters (Guy, Jones, Jack Grochmal, plus) Nashville
Polydor (G) 2040273 - Ain´t No Greens In Harlem  /  Jumbo Bwana  - 1977
King GT4-2057 - Yakety Yak  /  Charlie Brown  - 1978 (1986)
"Charlie Brown" on King.


The British singles

Billy Guy, Will Jones, Carl Gardner, and Cornell Gunter.
A French EP of 1963 featuring both sides of "The Climb"
(picture shows the Coasters of 1960).

The French Attlantic single 11546.
A French 7" single of the 1970s.

A Dutch "Charlie Brown" reissue single.
A Dutch single with "Charlie Brown" and "That Is Rock & Roll".
Atco Dance! single.

What About UsThe Coasters in 1965.Girls Girls Girls
Shoppin´ For ClothesBesame MuchoShoppin´ For Clothes (diff pressing)
The Date single "She Can"."Wake Me, Shake Me" in the Atlantic Oldies series.
"Brazil".My Baby Comes To Me
Dance 45 single.

Check this:
ebay auctions on RARE Coasters items

The Turntable single.King single 6385.
The first Date single - side AThe first Date single - side B Oldies Music


The Coasters EPs


The United States of America

The Coasters´ first EP (Atco 4501).Atco EP 4503.The third Coasters EP - Atco 4506.Atco EP 4505 (US).

    Atco EP 4501   Rock and Roll with The Coasters
Searchin´ / Young Blood - Idol With The Golden Head / My Baby Comes To Me

1958    Atco EP 4503
   Keep Rockin´ with The Coasters
Yakety Yak / Framed - Loop De Loop Mambo / Riot In Cell Block #9

1959    Atco EP 4506
   The Coasters
Charlie Brown / Three Cool Cats - The Shadow Knows / Sorry But I´m Gonna Have To Pass

1959    Atco EP 4507
   The Coasters Top Hits
Along Came Jones / That Is Rock & Roll - Dance! / Gee, Golly

Great Britain

The British London EP.

    London REE 1203    The Coasters
Searchin´ / Young Blood - Yakety Yak / Charlie Brown


The Swedish - very rare EP London RE 5031 (1958).London EP RE 5055London EP RE 5068.Atlantic EP 80.036.

    London RE 5031    The Coasters
Yakety Yak / Zing! Went The Strings... - Gee, Golly / Dance

1959    London RE 5055
   Charlie Brown
Charlie Brown / Three Cool Cats - Searchin´ / Brazil

1959    London RE 5068    The Coasters Top Hits
Poison Ivy / Lola - I´m A Hog For You / That Is Rock & Roll

1960    Atlantic 80.036    Wake Me, Shake Me
Wake Me, Shake Me / Stewball - Besame Mucho (Parts 1 & 2)


The first French EP - "Yakety Yak".The French "Charlie Brown" EP on BLY 3165.French Atlantic EP 21 2016The French Atlantic EP 212 072.
The French "Besame Mucho" EP.      French EP "I Must Be Dreaming" - "Little Egypt"
    Atlantic/Barclay  70 213    Yakety Yak
Yakety Yak / Brazil - Gee Golly / Searchin´

    Atlantic 212 001
   Charlie Brown
Charlie Brown / Zing! Went The Strings... - Three Cool Cats / Sweet Georgia Brown
(also on BLY 3165)

1959    Atlantic 212 016    Poison Ivy
Poison Ivy / I´m A Hog For You - That Is Rock & Roll / Along Came Jones
(reissued on 212 072 as Along Came Jones)

1960    Atlantic 742.023    Besame Mucho
Besame Mucho (Parts 1 & 2) - Run Red Run / What About Us

1964    Atlantic 212 084    I Must Be Dreaming - Little Egypt
I Must Be Dreaming / Wake Me, Shake Me   - Little Egypt / The Shadow Knows

Atlantic 212.001

Note: There are prob more Latin issues.

The Mexican RCA EP.Brazilian EP of 1960.Belter EP of Spain.The Spanish 1961 EP featuring "Wait A Minute"-
    RCA ATEX-01 (Mexico)
   The Coasters
Poison Ivy / Charlie Brown   -  Yakety Yak / Searchin'

    Cat 33-407 (Braz)
   The Coasters´ Greatest Hits
Yakety Yak / Searchin´ -  Along Came Jones / Charlie Brown

1960    Belter 50.390 (Spain)    The Coasters
Poison Ivy / That Is Rock & Roll - Young Blood - Yakety Yak

1960    Belter 50.394 (Spain)    The Coasters
Wake Me, Shake Me / Stewball - Brasil / Charlie Brown

    Belter 50.408 (Spain)    The Coasters
Thumbin'  A Ride / Searchin´ -  Wait A Minute / The Snake And The Book Worm


    Atlantic A 4519CD    Sorry But I´m Gonna Have To Pass
Sorry But I´m Gonna Have To Pass / Poison Ivy - Framed / Searchin´

| Wanna check the Ultimate Coasters Collection? |


Check singles and albums - Want List!

Off-Shot Coasters Singles
The following singles have been issued as by The Coasters,
but feature former Coasters´ members:

German Polydor single 2040 273 with Billy Guy and Will Jones.
SalWa Records with Billy Guy.

The Coasters Two Plus Two  Chelan 2000
1975    Searchin´ 75  /  Young Blood 
(feat. Hughes, Nunn, Chapman)

Billy Guy and The Coasters 
Sal/Wa 1001 
(Guy solo)
1975    You Move Me  /  Take It Easy Greazy

BlackCircle 102   (with backup vocals)
ca 1975   Watergate (Put Some Funk On, Cause The Money's Been Long Gone) / Hockey-Puck    

"World Famous" Coasters (feat. Will Jones & Leon Hughes)  AI-1122
AI= American International Artists
1976    If I Had A Hammer  (A1-1122A single with "disco version" on A1-1122B)
Note: The A-side 3:20 reissued on Ripete 3-track single REP-1039 as by Carl Gardner & The Coasters
- with the flip by The Tams and by Clarence Carter

The World Famous Coasters (feat. Leon Hughes) AceHi M-101
 ca 1977   So Fine  / Baby What You Want Me To Do

The Coasters
(feat. Billy Guy & Will Jones)
Polydor (Germ) 2040 273
1977    Ain´t No Greens In Harlem  /  Jumbo Bwana
King/Gusto GT4-2057
1978    Yakety Yak  /  Searchin´

In the Beginning
Lester Sill - Leiber/Stoller -
the Robins & the original Coasters

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

Lester Sill and the Coasters in 1958.

From "Honkers and Shouters - The Golden Years of Rhythm & Blues"
by Arnold Shaw (Collier Books, New York, 1978)
Arnold Shaw interviewing Lester Sill (The Coasters´ manager 1955 - circa 1963).

Lester Sill, today president of Screen Gems-Columbia, the music division of Columbia Pictures Industries, started in the record business in 1945. From that year until 1951, he worked for the Bihari brothers of Los Angeles, first as a salesman of Modern Records, RPM, and their other labels, and then as a producer of artists like Hadda Brooks, B. B. King, and others. We spoke in his present office on Sunset Boulevard.

"In 1952, I went into the record distribution business myself and my shipping clerks were Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller. I met them in a curious way. When I was still selling for Modern, I was on Fairfax Avenue one day and went into Norty´s Record Shop. The moment I was inside the door, one of the stock clerks came running over to me. He had a song he had written that he wanted me to hear. You couldn´t be in the record business without having a song pitched at you constantly. I probably would have brushed the kid, but he fascinated me. You see, his eyes didn´t match - one was brown and one was blue. He grabbed me by the lapels. I couldn´t take my eyes off his eyes and the managed to shlep me into a back room where I auditioned his song, A cappella, of course. But it had something. And I invited him to come down that night to a Modern recording session where the Biharis were cutting a group called the Robins. The song I had auditioned was called "Back in the good old days" (actually "That´s what the good book says" on March 2, 1951; ed.note). It was recorded that night. Head arrangement, of course. The stock boy who grabbed me was Jerry Leiber. He was going to Fairfax High School at the time, or to LA City College. That night at the session, I met his collaborator, Mike Stoller. When I left Modern and went into the distributing business, Jerry and Mike came to work for me as shipping clerks, Jerry more regularly than Mike. During this period, Jerry got a call one day from Johnny Otis. He was doing a session with Willie Mae Thornton, and he needed a song. Jerry had just finished his lunch, and the brown paper bag was still lying on the counter. Jerry phoned Mike, and they discussed ideas for a song. Then, he wrote the lyric on the lunch bag. I gave him some time off so that he could run over to Radio Recorders and see Otis. The song was "Hound Dog". They were about seventeen then, and they had already had "Kansas City", which they wrote when they were fifteen or sixteen.

At that time, we were living on Sycamore Street, near Melrose in Los Angeles, Jerry would come over to the house quite often. He loved my wife´s cooking, and one day he asked if he could move in with us. We had three kids at the time, but somehow we made room for Jerry..... During the time Jerry was living with us, I gave up the distributing business. Jerry, Mike, Mike´s father Abe (probably Alvin; ed.note), Jack Levy, and myself started a publishing company called Quintet Music, Inc. We cut simple demos with Mike playing piano and Jerry singing; or we would go and bring in some small groups to cut a demo. We had the same problem then that most publishers have today; getting the A&R man to listen and record your song. Jerry, Mike, and I then decided we would produce our own masters and attempt to lease them to some record company. The first master we produced was "Black Denim Trousers and Motorcycle Boots", sung by a group we found called The Cheers. On the same date we also produced The Cheers doing "Bazoom". Both of these were giant hits. I imagine this made us the first independent producers. If not the first, certainly the first successful independent producers......

... About 1954 or 1955 (early 1954; ed.note), Leiber, Stoller, and I started a label called Spark Records. We went on to have several hits. Then we went to a convention in Chicago where I played some new releases for our distributors. Ahmet Ertegun of Atlantic heard them. He came running down the hall, sort of out of the woodwork, and flew Jerry Leiber and me into New York. Atlantic bought Spark Records, which included The Coasters... (well not quite like that, but..; ed.note)... Atlantic set up a subsidiary label. This was the beginning of Atco - The Coasters - and Bobby Darin.

"Charlie Brown" sheet music.Lee Hazlewood and Lester Sill around 1960-61."I´m A Hog For You" advertised in trade papers in 1959.
"Charlie Brown" Australian sheet music. "I´m A Hog For You" was advertised as the original A-side of "Poison Ivy".
Image center Lee Hazlewood and Lester Sill (who produced a.o. "Ridin´ Hood").

.... after that, Mike and Jerry decided they wanted to move to New York (late 1957; ed.note). They asked me to move with them. They had no family; I did. My family and I decided to remain in Los Angeles. Jack Levy (and Mike´s father before that; ed.note) and I sold our interest, allowing the boys to pay us out over a period of a few years. When they moved, we had offices on Melrose and La Brea, which I took over. Shortly after that, I met Lee Hazelwood (Hazlewood; ed.note) through a mutual friend. Lee and I founded a publishing and production company called Gregmark Music. Our first act was Duane Eddy. We produced fifteen straight chart records with Duane. About two years later, Phil Spector stopped up to see me at 1610 Argyle, where we had just moved. Yes, he left mother Bertha Spector, after whom he later named his publishing company... I used to take him down to Phoenix with us, where we recorded Duane Eddy. He (Phil) absorbed everything we did like a sponge. I met Phil right after he made "To Know Him Is To Love Him" with the trio he called The Teddy Bears. I saw him at work in the studio then, and he amazed me with what he was doing with vocal harmonies. He looked like he was twelve years old. It was Bunny Robyn´s studio on Fairfax....  After we recorded Duane Eddy in Phoenix, we brought the records back here and overdubbed them at Gold Star.....  Phil and I then started Philles Records (in late 1961;ed.note), a title derived from the first syllables of our names.

After Lee and I parted company, I took a semihiatus for about a year and a half, after which I was approached by Don Kirshner, then president of Screen Gems-Columbia Music, Inc., and now the Rock Concert impresario, to come into the organization as a consultant. It was to be a temporary situation because I didn´t want to get locked into a big company at that time. The end result is that after twelve years, I am still with Screen Gems-Columbia Music..."
(Lester Sill stayed with Screen Gems for 21 years ending up as President - and ended his days as head of the huge "Motown" publishing firm Jobete Music, where he landed in 1985 - and died in 1994; ed.note).
Lester Sill at

The first promotion letter from Milton Deutsch Agency of Hollywood, California in early 1956.
The first promotional letter for the Coasters from Milton Deutsch Agency of Hollywood, Calif.

Gary/Oldies Magazine # 55 (June 2001)
Tuesday, April 3, 2001, BY FRANCINE RUSSO

"There´s A Riot Goin'  On"  - Rhino´s Leiber-Stoller CD.The Coasters in 1958.
Check CD contents with audioclips

Hours after escaping the wreck of the Andrea Doria, 22-year-old composer Mike Stoller peered from the deck of a rescue ship as it entered New York harbor to see his lyricist partner Jerry Leiber, also 22, lounging on the pier, holding an Italian silk suit--in case Mike needed dry clothes. "We have a hit!" Leiber cried. "Hound Dog...recorded by some kid named Elvis." That was July 1956.  And while lots of folks will tell you that when they heard Elvis shout "You ain't nothin' but a hound dog!" it changed music forever, the revolution was already well under way. In fact, you could say it began in 1950, when a pair of 17-year-old white kids named Leiber and Stoller teamed up to write for black rhythm-and-blues performers like Jimmy Witherspoon and Big Mama Thornton--for whom they yelled and banged out "Hound Dog" in 10 inspired minutes. 

This month Leiber and Stoller, now Rock and Roll Hall of Famers, celebrate their half-century mark as partners and accept the Johnny Mercer Award from the National Academy of Popular Music/Songwriters' Hall of Fame. As songwriters, record producers, record-company owners and music publishers, they are legends in the business, having written and produced scores of hits--from the rhythm and blues of Kansas City to witty pop ditties like "Yakety Yak" and "Poison Ivy" and soul classics like "Stand by Me." Fifty years after they penned their first song, their exuberant music is still everywhere, blasting out of the radio on old records and new CDs, jiving up TV commercials and lending grit to movie sound tracks. Their song collection, Smokey Joe's Cafe, became the longest-running revue in Broadway history, toured Europe and Japan, and is now playing Las Vegas and Seoul. Their collaboration began in Los Angeles, when Leiber, then in high school and boasting a copybook scrawled with song lyrics, called up Stoller, a friend of a friend who he'd heard wrote music. Stoller, a Long Island, N.Y., native, had fallen in love with boogie-woogie piano at an interracial summer camp. Leiber had breathed it in from the black households in Baltimore to which he had delivered kerosene and coal from his mom's grocery store. They bonded over 12-bar blues and had almost immediate success writing for black artists. "These were called 'race records,'" Stoller recalls, "meaning they were played only on stations that catered to a black audience." It was the young songwriters' destiny to become a major conduit of black music to white audiences. When Elvis' version of "Hound Dog" exploded on the scene, their fortunes soared.  Asked by Elvis' producers for more songs, they wrote more than 20, including "Love Me," "Treat Me Nice," "Loving You" and "Jailhouse Rock." "We became his lucky charm," Stoller says of Elvis, then laughs and adds, "until we got bored."  "We wrote to amuse ourselves," Leiber says. It shows in the manic energy and irrepressible good humor of their music. It's still hard not to laugh at the comic tunes they wrote for the Coasters, such as "Charlie Brown" and "Love Potion No. 9." Such story songs as "Along Came Jones" and "Young Blood" were inspired by Leiber's love of radio series like "The Shadow." Their subjects ranged from knife fights and no-accounts to class clowns and the clap. That last can be found in what Leiber calls the "snide innuendo" of their hilarious "Poison Ivy."

In the late '50s, the pair began working with other writers and producing records for such artists as the Drifters and Ben E. King. Stoller recalls the creation of "There Goes My Baby" and the birth of soul. "I started playing a counterline on the piano that was like a Rimsky-Korsakov melody. Jerry said, 'That sounds like strings,' and I said, 'Why not? Let's do it.'" So came the first R&B record with strings. With "Spanish Harlem," they added Brazilian and African percussion. Then came the restlessness. "It was the era of the girl groups," Stoller says. "The focus of songs was getting younger and younger. We decided to try to write in a different vein." "Is That All There Is?", recorded by Peggy Lee in 1969, was the kind of arty cabaret song they meant. They wrote for the theater but weren't taken seriously. After the runaway success of Smokey Joe's, they're reworking two book musicals they wrote at that time.  Their classic songs have been recorded by artists as varied as the Beatles, John Mellencamp, Lou Rawls, Aretha Franklin and Barbra Streisand. "Kansas City" alone, Stoller guesses, has had about 500 versions. Not long ago, the two were invited to the White House. President Clinton was excited to meet them, Stoller recalls fondly: "He broke out singing, 'The neon lights are bright on Broadway...'" Did they ever think when they began that someday the president of the U.S. would croon one of their songs to them? Stoller laughs. "We thought if we were really lucky they might last six months."

next: 50 Years of R&B with the Coasters

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