RIP: Carl Gardner of the Robins & the Coasters

The Coasters- rock roll legends!

On Sunday, we lost another rock music pioneer. Carl Gardner, founding member of the Robins, which evolved into the Coasters, has passed away. The 83 year old singer died of congestive heart failure. He had battled Alzheimer’s disease and passed at Florida’s Port St. Lucie Hospice Home, according to a statement made by his wife and manager Veta Gardner.

The Robins were a rhythm and blues band that worked closely with songwriter/producers Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller. One of the Robins’ earliest records was “Riot in Cell Block #9” which came out on the Sparks label in June 1954. Richard Berry, songwriter of LOUIE LOUIE, wasn’t a member of the Robins, but he was enlisted by Leiber & Stoller to sing lead vocals on this song. Richard wasn’t credited as the vocalist on this song, as he was still signed to the Bihari Brothers‘ Modern/Flair record company.

In October 1955, Carl Gardner and Bobby Nunn, two of the founding Robins linked up with Billy Guy and Leon Hughes to form the Coasters, which continued the production/writing partnership with Leiber and Stoller, creating such hits as “Searchin'” “Young Blood”, “Yakety Yak,” “Along Came Jones,” “Poison Ivy,” and a lot of catchy melodies that became part of the American musical vocabulary.

Unlike the typical DooWop vocal group of their time, the Coasters embraced humor and whimsical story-telling as a big element of their music.

A lot of musicians covered Coasters songs – the Beatles, Elvis Presley, the Grateful Dead, the Monkees, the Hollies, Leon Russell, Bad Company, and countless others.

Just the song “Riot In Cell Block #9,” inspired a lot covers by such musicians as Wanda Jackson, the Beach Boys, Commander Cody, and Jr. Cadillac, to a name a few.

The Coasters were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987, and the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 1999. In 1994, the Coasters music was a big part of musical revue Smokey Joe’s Cafe, that received one Grammy Award and seven Tony Award nominations following its 1995 Broadway debut.

Not a bad legacy…..

If there is a rock and roll heaven in the afterlife, then the party just got a little livelier with Carl Cardner joining the club…

News article obituaries on Carl Cardner



Official Coasters website:

1 comment to RIP: Carl Gardner of the Robins & the Coasters

  • jerry zwecher

    Sorry to see all of the great pioneers of rock and roll passing away. If anyone has vhs or downloads etc of southern california doowop society shows such as: cleve duncan and penguins, virgil johnson, buddy bailey, calvanes etc get back to me. also other hard to find doowop shows.

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