Research Guru / Moderator
Jun 13, 2011, 2:55 AM
Carl Gardner Sr., founder and lead singer of the Coasters, died Sunday in Port St. Lucie, Florida after a long illness, rhythm and blues historian and author Todd Baptista announced on the group's official Web site. He was 83.
Carl Gardner Sr., 83, was founder of the Coasters
Gardner had been ill with congestive heart failure and vascular dementia for some time, Baptista said.
The song "Searchin'," performed by the Coasters on Atco Records, was on the soundtrack of the 1999 film The Iron Giant, released by Warner Bros. Feature Animation.
In Toon TV, a 1992 episode of Tiny Toon Adventures, the songs included the group's rendition of "Yakety Yak."
And in Jim Reardon's twisted, unauthorized parody Bring Me The Head Of Charlie Brown, a 1986 short made at the California Institute of the Arts, the soundtrack included -- you guessed it -- the Coasters' famed tune "Charlie Brown."
"Sharing my most deepest feelings of the love that my father and I shared -- especially when we were on stage together," said Gardner's son Mickey, who often referred to himself as Carl Jr.
Born Carl Edward Gardner in Tyler, Texas on April 29, 1928, he left his home and family at age 23 and moved to Los Angeles to follow his dream of becoming a big band singer, or to be another Nat King Cole or Billy Eckstine. Instead, he became the first original Coaster in September 1955. Ever since, he stayed with the group and became its official spokesman.
He led such Coasters classics as "Young Blood," "Love Potion Number Nine" and "Cool Jerk." His tenor was also featured in the Coasters' famous unison hits "Yakety Yak," "Charlie Brown" and "Poison Ivy."
In 1987, the Coasters were the very first vocal group to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. He was honored along with fellow Coasters Billy Guy, Will Jones and Cornell Gunter.
Gardner's son entered the Coasters just in time for his father's 70th birthday, and toured with the group, eventually sharing leads with his father. On November 5, 2005, he officially took over from his father, who semi-retired, but still acted as special coach to Carl Jr.
He wrote an autobiography, Yakety Yak I Fought Back: My Life With the Coasters.
Besides his son, Carl Gardner Sr. is survived by his wife Veta.
(This post was edited by eminovitz on Jun 13, 2011, 2:55 AM)