The Coasters Biography
The Coasters were a popular American rhythm and blues/rock and roll vocal group in the late 1950s. Their most renowned songs were penned by the songwriting and producing combination of Leiber and Stoller, starting with “Searchin'” and “Young Blood” in 1956. Despite the fact that the Coasters were not part of the mainstream doo-wop movement, their records were so widely imitated that they became an important part of the doo-wop legacy in the 1960s. They were the first band to be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1987.
On October 12, 1955, two members of The Robins, a Los Angeles-based rhythm-and-blues combo, signed with Atlantic Records. Because they traveled from west to east, they were dubbed The Coasters. Carl Gardner and Bobby Nunn were among the Robins. Gardner, Nunn, Billy Guy, Leon Hughes (who was replaced by Young Jessie on a few of early Los Angeles recordings) and guitarist Adolph Jacobs were the original Coasters. In 1959, Jacobs quit the group.
Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, a songwriting duo, founded Spark Records in 1955 and produced “Smokey Joe’s Cafe” for the Robins. Nunn and Hughes traveled to New York in late 1957 and formed The Coasters with Cornell Gunter and Will “Dub” Jones. The new quartet was stationed in New York from then on, despite the fact that they were all from Los Angeles.
In 1956, their first record, “Down in Mexico,” became an R&B success. With the double-sided “Young Blood”/”Searchin'” the next year, the Coasters made a significant splash on the pop charts. “Searchin'” was the group’s first Top 10 smash in the United States, topping the R&B chart for 13 weeks and becoming the year’s biggest R&B single (all were recorded in Los Angeles).
“Yakety Yak,” which included King Curtis on tenor saxophone and featured the legendary combo of Gardner, Guy, Jones, and Gunter, was the act’s lone national number one hit, topping both the pop and R&B charts. “Charlie Brown,” the next single, reached number two on both charts.
“Along Came Jones,” “Poison Ivy” (number one on the R&B chart for nearly two months), and “Little Egypt (Ying-Yang)” followed.In the 1960s, a lack of success was attributed to changing popular tastes and changes in the group’s line-up.
Billy Guy was also working on solo projects at the time, so Vernon Harrell, a New York singer, was brought in to fill in for him on stage. Earl “Speedo” Carroll (the Cadillacs‘ lead singer), Ronnie Bright (the bassist on Johnny Cymbal’s “Mr. Bass Man”), Jimmy Norman, and guitarist Thomas “Curley” Palmer were later members. The Coasters reunited with Leiber and Stoller (who had parted ties with Atlantic Records in 1963) and signed with Columbia Records’ Date label in 1966, but never recaptured their prior glory.The Coasters scored a small hit in 1971 with “Love Potion No. 9,” a song written by Leiber and Stoller for the Coasters but given to the Clovers in 1959. The group’s song “Sorry But I’m Gonna Have to Pass” was featured in a Volkswagen TV commercial in the United Kingdom in 1994, and it charted there briefly.
The Coasters were the first group to be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1987, with the members of the 1958 lineup receiving recognition. In 1999, the Coasters were inducted into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame.
The lone surviving member of the original Coasters, Leon Hughes, performs with his own band. Some of the former members suffered tragic ends.In 1971, two junkies stabbed saxophonist King Curtis (the “fifth Coaster”) to death outside his apartment building. Cornelius Gunter was shot and killed in a parking garage in Las Vegas in 1990. In 1980, Nate Wilson, a member of one of Gunter’s Coasters breakaway organizations, was shot and mutilated.
Patrick Cavanaugh, a former manager, was found guilty of the murder because Wilson threatened to inform police about Cavanaugh’s plans to buy furniture with stolen checks. In 1984, Cavanaugh was found guilty of murder and sentenced to death, but his sentence was commuted to life in prison. In 2006, he died in Nevada’s Ely State Prison at the age of 60.
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Frequently Asked Questions
Who Were The Original Members Of The Coasters?
The original members of the coasters were: William “Bill” Haley, Johnny Grande, Marshall Lytle, and Joey D’Ambrosio. The group was formed in 1951 and made their first recordings in 1953. They are best known for their hit songs “Rock Around the Clock”, “Shake, Rattle and Roll”, and “See You Later, Alligator”. The coasters were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987.
How Did The Coasters Get Famous?
The coasters got famous for their unique sound and style of writing songs. They wrote about topics that were popular at the time, and their music was catchy and easy to listen to. People loved dancing to their music, and the coasters became one of the most popular groups of the 1950s. They continued to release hit songs throughout the 1960s and 1970s, and they are still considered one of the greatest doo-wop groups of all time.
Are The Coasters In The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame?
The Coasters are not currently in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, though they have been nominated several times. The group was inducted into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 2001.
Who Was The Lead Singer For The Coasters?
The lead singer for the Coasters was William “Bill” Haley. He was born in Detroit, Michigan, and grew up in a musical family. His father played the banjo and his mother sang and played the guitar. As a young man, Haley played the guitar and drums in a band called “The Four Aces of Western Swing” before moving to Los Angeles, where he formed the Coasters.
Who Wrote The Songs For The Coasters?
The Coasters were a 1950s rock and roll group, who had many songs written by the team of Leiber and Stoller. Some of their most popular songs include “Searchin’,” “Young Blood,” and ” Yakety Yak.” The Coasters are also known for their humorous lyrics and vocal style, which helped them stand out from other groups of the time. Despite their success, the Coasters were never able to achieve the same level of popularity in the United States as they did in other countries, such as the United Kingdom. Nevertheless, the group’s legacy has lived on, and they are considered to be one of the most influential rock and roll groups of all time.