The Coasters: Contact
Grabow, your The Coasters booking agent for private corporate events. Call our management team for production,
celebrity entertainment and speaker needs for your next corporate event or
private performance. Your Private & Corporate Entertainment Booking Agency for The Coasters.
"If rock ´n´ roll had produced nothing but the
Coasters and Leiber and Stoller, it would still have commanded attention as the
sound embodiment of a time and generation", Arnold Shaw wrote in his book "The
Rockin´ ´50s". The Coasters are widely regarded as the pre-eminent vocal group
of the original rock ´n´ roll era. "There never was - nor will there ever be -
another group quite like the Coasters", Neil Slaven stated in late 1997.
The Coasters truly deserve their high rankings in music history - hand-chosen
professional performers, all debuting during the early years of rhythm & blues
and contributing to the emerging of original rock ´n´ roll - exciting
individuals, creating the best of vocal group harmonies ever waxed.
The foursome was created September 28, 1955 from the nucleus of the Los Angeles,
California based vocal sextet the Robins, originally recording since 1949 with
Bobby Nunn - born September 20, 1925 in Birmingham, Alabama - as bass/lead
singer. It was the young producing-composing team of Jerry Leiber & Mike Stoller,
who with manager-salesman Lester Sill persuaded Bobby Nunn and Carl Gardner,
lead tenor vocalist with the Robins from 1954 on Leiber-Stoller´s tiny Spark
label in L.A., to leave that group and launch the Coasters. Gardner - born April
29, 1928 in Tyler, Texas - is still the Coasters´ spokesman and coach today (and
sang lead with the group for 50 years). The Robins´ West Coast hits from Spark
were later issued on Coasters compilations (a.o. RIOT IN CELL BLOCK #9 and
SMOKEY JOE´S CAFE).
Attracted by the success of SMOKEY JOE´S CAFE with Gardner on lead vocal,
Atlantic Records signed an independent producer-composer contract with Leiber &
Stoller on September 28, 1955. Two hand-chosen Californians, Billy Guy (a young,
slick baritone, born June 20, 1936 in Itasca, Texas) from the duo Bip & Bop, and
Leon Hughes (born August 26, 1932 in Los Angeles County), completed the original
Coasters line-up. They were contracted to Atlantic´s new subsidiary Atco
Records. Through the Coasters Leiber-Stoller launched some of the most
entertaining songs of the ´50s. The first Coasters´ recording was DOWN IN MEXICO
from January 11, 1956. The record became a "sleeper" R&B hit - followed by the
minor Pop hit ONE KISS LED TO ANOTHER. The group now hit the road for national
promotion and produced R&B´s most famous double-sided smash in 1957 (with
Gardner and Guy lead singers on one side each). YOUNG BLOOD (the original
A-side) hit the national R&B Best Seller Chart #1 on June 3 and the week after
its flip, SEARCHIN´, occupied that same spot for a further 12 weeks and also
went to #1 on the R&B Disc Jockey and Juke Box Charts (with YOUNG BLOOD at # 2).
Both titles also became national Pop Top Ten hits, staying on the charts for
half a year. This success stands as a rather unique achievement in American
music history. After three less successful, but exciting issues, (a.o. IDOL WITH
THE GOLDEN HEAD) the Coasters reformed and - with Jerry & Mike - moved from the
West Coast to New York. Bobby Nunn and Leon Hughes stayed in California, where
Nunn later launched his own "The Coasters, Mark II". Nunn died of heart failure
on November 5, 1986 in Los Angeles. His group, now led by Billy Richards Jr,
continued to tour as "Billy Richards´ Coasters", and Hughes also started his own
off-shoot Coasters group, "The World Famous Coasters" aka "The Original
Two new group members were recruited by the Coasters´ prolific manager Lester
Sill and shared leads on the first New York Coasters Atco effort, ZING! WENT THE
STRINGS OF MY HEART (a beach music classic today). Both new-comers were former
L.A. experienced group singers - Will "Dub" Jones, successful bass lead with the
Cadets, born in Shreveport, Louisiana on May 14, 1928; and Cornell Gunter, lead
with the Flairs, born November 14, 1936 in Coffeyville, Kansas. The two joined
Gardner and Guy to establish the classic New York quartet that recorded all the
other famous Coasters´ golden million sellers: YAKETY YAK (a #1 Pop and R&B hit
in 1958, which received a Grammy Hall of Fame Award in 1999), CHARLIE BROWN (Pop
and R%B #2) and ALONG CAME JONES ( Pop #9) in 1959 and the double-sider POISON
IVY (R&B # 1, Pop #7) b/w I´M A HOG FOR YOU. The classic Coasters had a fifth
member in guitarist Adolph Jacobs, born April 15, 1939 Sabine, East Texas, who
was succeeded by a Coasters employee, Sonny Forriest, on WHAT ABOUT US b/w RUN
RED RUN, which was the last single of the highly successful year of 1959.
The productions of the Coasters´ Atco recordings were far superior to any
contemporary group efforts (using the best musicians available, especially Texan
King Curtis´ fruity sax breaks) with the lyrics neatly deriding aspects of
teenage and/or black ghetto life. The group also worked out hilarious stage
routines and became the most professional act in late ´50s Rhythm & Blues and
early ´60s International Pop.
In 1960 the Coasters hit with WAKE ME, SHAKE ME and waxed one of their all-time
greatest recordings, SHOPPIN´ FOR CLOTHES (with Guy and Jones sharing lead
vocals). That year they also released their under-rated, but qualitative "One By
One" LP. In 1961 they hit with WAIT A MINUTE (recorded in 1957). After the
group´s last U.S. Pop Top 30 hit entry, LITTLE EGYPT (Ying-Yang), Cornell Gunter
left the group in June, 1961. He formed his own "Fabulous Coasters" a couple of
years later. Gunter died in his car by a gun shot from an unknown in Las Vegas
on January 26, 1990. Remnants of his group tour as "The Original Cornell Gunter
The famous former lead of the Cadillacs, Earl "Speedo" Carroll, born November 2,
1937 in New York City, became new second tenor in the qualitative line-up of the
Coasters, which continued to record for Atco through early 1966, with a.o. the
live recording of T´AIN´T NOTHIN´ TO ME (originally issued on a various-artists
"Apollo Saturday Night" LP - hitting the Cash Box R&B Chart #20 in March, 1964);
and the original recording of LET´S GO GET STONED. Leiber-Stoller had left Atco/Atlantic
in 1963, but the vocal quartet renewed their collaboration with the team in late
1966, recording for the CBS subsidiary Date Records, for which the Coasters
waxed DOWN HOME GIRL, and in 1967 SHE CAN (later reissued as TALKIN´ ´BOUT A
WOMAN), also the wonderful original of D.W. WASHBURN (released in 1968 and
reissued on King Records in the ´70s).
In the years of the Coasters´ first revival Will Jones had left for new tasks
(in New York and later California), replaced by Ronnie Bright, born October 18,
1938 in New York City and original bass singer in Harlem´s early ´50s group the
Valentines. Billy Guy, the great comedian of the group, had started his attempts
as a solo artist back in 1962 (still recording and performing with the group up
to 1973), sometimes substituted first by Vernon Harrell and later by the
hard-working soul veteran Jimmy Norman - born August 12, 1937 in Nashville,
Tennessee. He had sung with Jesse Belvin´s Chargers and became a regular Coaster
in the revival line-up of the ´70s. The group performed all over U.S. and toured
Europe several times. They even made a brief come-back on the U.S. Hot 100 Chart
with a re-rendition of the Clovers' classic LOVE POTION NUMBER NINE (for King
Records in the winter of 1971/72 with Carl Gardner as happy lead vocal) and
issued a great album produced by Leiber-Stoller on King, titled "The Coasters On
Broadway". The group continued to make records - although the hits came dry.
With Gardner, Speedo, Bright and Guy they had recorded for Lloyd Price's
Turntable in 1969 (ACT RIGHT and THE WORLD IS CHANGING, produced by Jimmy
Norman). Later Ronnie Bright sang lead on CHECK MR. POPEYE, and the group, now
with Guy definately out, did a single for Wilson Pickett's Wicked label (HUSH
DON'T TALK ABOUT IT).
By the early ´80s Carroll had left to reform his Cadillacs, and Guy and Jones
sporadically acted with a special "World Famous Coasters" in California. Will
"Dub" Jones died in Long Beach, California on January 16, 2000 at the age of 71
after several years of semi-retirement. Billy Guy died in his sleep at home in
Las Vegas, Nevada on November 5, 2002. In 1987 the Coasters (Gardner, Guy,
Jones, and Gunter individually) were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of
Fame - the first vocal group receiving that honor. The true Coasters by-then
touring lineup, still fronted by Carl Gardner, included Norman, Bright, and
veteran guitarist Thomas Palmer - born in El Paso, Texas on August 15, 1929, who
had joined the group already in early 1962 (debuting on the notorious THE
CLIMB). This became the longest lasting lineup, touring for 18 years. At times
more than ten different "Coasters" sang the hits on stage. Former Coasters Mark
II members Grady Chapman and Bobby Sheen (of the late Robins) had a Coasters
group (and even Randy Jones, who had sung with Gunter´s and Nunn´s groups, had
one). In the late ´90s "Billy Guy´s Coasters" emerged on the scene, semi-coached
by Billy Guy - that group (managed by Larry Marshak) nowadays tours in several
versions as "The Cornell Gunter Coasters". Carl Gardner and his Coasters have -
despite the competition from bogus and off-spring Coasters groups - been heavily
engaged in live bookings during the late ´80s and the whole of the ´90s into the
new millennium (even performing at the Carnegie Hall). Carl Gardner has been
up-front all the time (leading a super-funky live version of SMOKEY JOE'S CAFE -
the title which was used for the famous Leiber-Stoller musical).
In early 1998 the true Coasters were a singing quartet again (with Palmer still
on guitar). Alvin Morse (born in February, 1951) had joined the group - and in
time for Gardner´s 70th birthday Carl Gardner Jr (petnamed Mickey - born April
29, 1955) replaced Jimmy Norman, who had left to start a new reggae career. By
the end of July, 2001 Joe Lance Williams (aka J. W. Lance, who had sung with
Marshak's Coasters), born June 16, 1949, started to substitute for Gardner Jr.
In November, 2004 Carl Jr returned to his father's group and Lance stayed. On
November 5, 2005 Carl Gardner Jr officially took over lead vocals from his
father, who semi-retired (but still coaches the group). The Coasters are
probably America´s most exciting veteran vocal group of today. We truly haven´t
heard the last from them yet!
All of the Coasters´ Atco recordings are available on a Rhino Handmade 4CD-box
(with 113 tracks) issued ion December 11, 2007, titled "The Coasters On Atco -
There's A Riot Goin' On". Rhino´s "The Very Best of The Coasters" is their most
worthwhile 1CD-anthology. U.S. Rhino have also issued a terrific double CD
titled "50 Coastin´ Classics" (although out of catalogue nowadays). A 30-track
2CD-set, titled "The Definitive Soul Collection" is planned (featuring all their
pop hits). The Coasters´ fine Date/King sides are to be found on a recommended
Varese Vintage CD, "Down Home", issued late August 2007.
Or Contact us regarding The Coasters at 972-250-1162 or Click
here to Email us
We would act as your booking agent to have The Coasters appear
in Private Parties or Corporate Events.
Book The Coasters Today.
Grabow has a proven history since 1983 in the corporate and private entertainment industry, and acts as an
event planner, entertainment contractor and producer of private and corporate events.
We do not claim or represent ourselves as The Coasters agent (exclusive), manager or management. We present ourselves as your agent to book The Coasters or any other talent or celebrity on our roster for private & corporate events.
We concentrate our efforts on serious inquiries of talent buyers. We are unable to answer
personal, fan or media requests. We cannot provide The Coasters management contact
Below are Links that will provide you with more information about how
Grabow can help you:
Two new roller coasters now open at Fun Spot USA Orlando Business Journal (blog) The coasters, which are part of Fun Spot's 15-acre, $20 million expansion, include White Lightning â€” Orlando's only wooden coaster â€” and Freedom Flyer, a steel, inverted coaster. Still to come is the 250-foot SkyCoaster, which started construction in ...
Michael Stershic: Tourism vital to Lehigh Valley Allentown Morning Call Whether they are coming to spend a day on the coasters at Dorney Park & Wildwater Kingdom, catch a show at the State Theatre Center of the Arts in Easton or watch the Lehigh Valley IronPigs make a run for the playoffs, our visitors are vital to our ...
Roller Coasters Are a Ride for the Parks that Build Them MainStreet Duane Marden, owner of The Rollercoaster DataBase, says that the industry, like coasters themselves, have peaks and valleys. "There was a time in the 80s and 90s that we call the Coasters Arms Race, where parks were building them bigger and faster, but ...