If Quentin Tarantino's movie career can be encapsulated in a single blast of music,…
- Posted on Jun 13th 2011 2:40PM by Theo Bark
Gilles Petard, Redferns
Best known for '50s hits such as 'Yakety Yak,' 'Poison Ivy,' 'Charlie Brown' and 'Searchin',' Gardner was born in Tyler, Texas, and formed the group in 1955 with Bobby Nunn. The group scored its first hit, 'Down in Mexico,' for AtCo Records in 1956 and went on to record some of the most popular rock and R&B songs of the era.
Though they never received the money that Gardner thought they deserved -- he estimated that they sold 137 million records and were owed close to $50 million -- the Coasters were covered by both the Beatles and the Grateful Dead early in their careers, inspired the Sly Stone album title 'There's a Riot Goin' On,' and counted a young Jimi Hendrix as a band member for a short period of time.
The sonorous, tenor-voiced front man toured as the group's lead vocalist for 50 years, though he went into semi-retirement when his son, Carl, Jr., took over the role in 2005."Sharing my most deepest feelings of the love that my father and I shared -- especially when we were on stage together," Carl, Jr. wrote on the Coasters' website.
"Carl Gardner was one of the great lead voices of the rock and roll era," former label mate Sam Moore of Sam and Dave said in a statement.
Though he was unable to regain his lost revenue, Gardner successfully maintained the trademark his group's name, fighting impostor Coasters for much of his later career. The Coasters were the first group inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987 and were inducted into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 1999.
"At the time they inducted me, I thought it was kind of nice, but all of a sudden I said to myself, I didn't get paid, so what the hell do I care," an embittered Gardner said in an interview. "They owe me 50 million dollars. Where's my money? We had 12-14 gold records. Where's the money?"
Gardner penned an insightful history of his career 'Carl Gardner: Yakety Yak I Fought Back -- My Life With the Coasters,' with his wife Veta in 2007. He is survived by Veta and Carl Jr.
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