R.I.P. Carl Gardner: 10 Facts About The Coasters

The Coasters

Carl Gardner, the last surviving member of The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Coasters, passed away on 6/12/11 at Port St. Lucie Hospice Home at 7:15 P.M. after a long battle with Alzheimer’s and congestive heart failure.

Carl had been ill with congestive heart failure and vascular dementia for some time. Please remember his wife Veta, son Mickey (Carl Jr.), and his family in your prayers.

Besides his wife of 24 years, Gardner is survived by a daughter, Brenda; two sons, Carl Jr. and Ahilee; three stepsons, Ramon, Hanif and Wayne; his brother, Howard; his sister, Carol Bartlett; seven grandchildren; and a great-granddaughter.

1. The Coasters origins start in Los Angeles vocal group The Four Bluebirds, who formed in 1947. They eventually became legendary R&B group The Robins.

2. Carl Gardner joined The Robins in 1954. He left the group a year later with group member Bobby Nunn and formed The Coasters.

3. Most of The Coasters’ material was provided by legendary songwriting team Jerry Lieber and Mike Stoller who had been working with The Robins since 1953.

4. The Coasters were one of the most respected and legendary R&B groups of all time, due to clever songwriting and funny, witty lyrics.

Carl Gardner

5. The group’s first hit was titled “Down in Mexico,” which was a top 10 hit in 1956.

6. The Coasters made their first recordings in New York in 1958, up until that point, they were a West coast based group. Their first single out of New York was “Yakety Yak,” which featured legendary saxophonist King Curtis.

7. “Yakety Yak” was The Coasters first #1 R&B pop hit. Other hits during this time included “Youngblood/Searchin’,” “Charlie Brown,” “Along Came Jones,” “Poison Ivy,” “Shopping for Clothes” and others.

8. In 1961 Earl “Speedo” Caroll of legendary R&B group The Cadillacs, joined The Coasters.

9. Lieber & Stoller left Atlantic in 1963 and The Coasters left the label in 1966, after the hits dried up.

10. Elvis and The Beatles were fond of The Coasters. Elvis remade “Girls, Girls, Girls” and “Little Egypt,” while The Beatles remade “Three Cool Cats” and “Searchin’.”

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