The Coasters singer Carl Gardner dies aged 83

Tue Jun 14, 2011 10:33am EDT
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LONDON (Reuters) - The Coasters lead singer and founding member Carl Gardner has died aged 83, the band's website announced.

He passed away at a hospice in Florida on Sunday after suffering from congestive heart failure and vascular dementia "for some time."

The Coasters were a U.S. R&B vocal group with a string of hits in the 1950s that included "Young Blood," "Searchin,'" "Poison Ivy" and chart topper "Yakety Yak."

Gardner was lead vocalist for Los Angeles-based The Robins before he and bandmate Bobby Nunn teamed up with Billy Guy, Leon Hughes and guitarist Adolph Jacobs to form the Coasters in 1955.

They joined songwriting duo Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller and became known as the "clown princes of rock 'n' roll" for their humorous songs and comic onstage antics.

"They were sort of our comedy troupe, and we wrote songs for them and assigned different lines to different singers because they were, like, acting out little plays," Stoller told the Los Angeles Times.

The band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987. In its biography of the group, the institution wrote:

"From 1956 to 1961, the Coasters released a string of classic singles that reflected the life of the American teenager with keen wit and hot, rocking harmonies."

It added that the band was also popular in England, where the Beatles, the Rolling Stones and others covered their songs.   Continued...