Tuesday, June 14, 2011

RIP Carl Gardner Of "The Coasters"

I read the unfortunate news about the death of the lead singer of "The Coasters," Carl Gardner, who died at the age of 83. He was with the group since the 1950's and continued to perform with the group until recently, when he stopped performing due to his health. It's unfortunate that we lost a pioneer in the doo wop genre of rock and roll music and more unfortunate that Gardner died not receiving the financial worth and group rights he deserved. He was a talented performer of one of the most memorable doo wop groups of the doo wop era.

As we stated before, "The Coasters" were a doo wop group from the 1950's. Many of their songs were written by the music duo of Leiber and Stoller. For those who watch American Idol, Leiber and Stoller's music has been used as a theme in seasons four and ten. Two of their songs, "Poison Ivy" and "Young Blood," were performed on the show by Anthony Federov and Scotty McCreery respectively. Other hits of theirs included "Charlie Brown," "Searchin'," and probably their most memorable hit, "Yakety Yak." The Coasters were one of the few doo wop groups to actually come out with more than one hit. Many doo wop groups were only one hit wonders and were known for just one song. On many of these occasions, the song was far more memorable than the group. The Coasters maintained the ability of performing memorable songs and being a memorable group.

Unfortunately, doo wop groups didn't get paid the money that the performers of today get paid. They didn't even get paid as well as many of the performers from their generation. Doo wop groups would very often begin as a group of guys getting together at a street corner and singing tunes and injecting a range of voices to create their finished product. The doo wop era started in the fifties and lasted until the British Invasion, folk rock, psychedelic, war protest, and bubblegum genres took over. While "The Coasters" were one of the first groups in be inducted into the Hall Of Fame, Gardner did not receive the money he deserved, which left him bitter. He also fought for the rights of doo wop groups, especially in the respect that new groups don't use the names of these groups.

While those of us will most likely not recognize Carl Gardner or The Coasters, a larger amount should at least recognize songs like "Yakety Yak." Then again, the most that people know about older music is that of Elvis Presley or The Beatles. Some only know them by name. Those who are into the music of the fifties will have a better chance at recognizing The Coasters. While an era is beginning to fade, the music will always remain an important piece of it and will never fade completely. This here is just another loss from an era. RIP Carl Gardner.

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