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Throw Back Thursday: Rock N' Roll Royalty ... Carl Gardner!

Posted on May 14, 2020 at 9:55 AM

Hey Ginchers,

Let's open up another Throw Back Thursday and throw back to the early days of Rock n' Roll.  The mid 1950's was a time that Rock n' Roll was creating a giant stir, was it gonna last, was it obscene, will the governing powers put a halt on the movement, will young people go crazy listening to it?  Well, songwriting team Leiber and Stoller didn't think so and during that period wrote some of the greatest classic records of the Rock n' Roll era for the greats, I'm talking about Elvis Presley and the Coasters.  Let's take a closer look at the Coasters.  The group began in the early 1950's as the Robins, a rhythm n' blues group that recorded Leiber & Stollers classic "Smokey Joe's Cafe".  In 1956 Carl Gardner, a member of the Robins, left the group to start his own group called the Coasters with Bobby Nunn, Leon Hughes and Billy Guy.  They had one of the greatest song writing teams in R&R history, once again Leiber & Stoller.  In 1957 they charted with a two sided hit ... "Young Blood" the lead sung by Carl Gardner and "Searchin".  They had some personnel changes and added the likes of Cornell Gunter and Dub Jones and hit once again with a string of records ... "Yakety Yak" with King Curtis laying down the famous Sax solo, "Charlie Brown" and "Poison Ivy".  These great records could actually be the soundtrack of the late 1950's Rock N' Roll era.  The Coasters and Carl Garnder were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame in 1987.  These classic Rock n' Roll hits were definately my soundtrack of the 1950's hearing them everyday on our popular R&R radio stations.  I had the pleasure of meeting and working with Carl Gardner later in my music career.  One of my fondest memories was singing backup for Carl when he and the Coasters were inducted into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame.    As always, I spent some quality time talking with the master of classic R&R roll records and like a sponge tried to hear everything about that era that Carl would throw at me.  I later met Leiber & Stoller at their premier of "Smokey Joe's Cafe" play.  What a memory meeting the guys who wrote the classics and the man who sang them.  Rock n' Roll Royalty ... thanks Carl Gardner and Leiber & Stoller ... the memories live on in my head!  Till tomorrow stay safe, stay healthy, help a neighbor when you can ... and, God Bless!

Johnny



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