Carl Gardner

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Carl Edward Gardner (April 29, 1928 – June 12, 2011) was an American singer, best known as the foremost member and founder of The Coasters. Known for the 1958 song "Yakety Yak", which spent a week as number one on the Hot 100 pop list, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987.

Life and career[edit]

Gardner was born in Tyler, Texas, to Rebecca and Robert Gardner.[1] As a singer, his first major career success came with The Robins, a rhythm and blues group that had a big hit in 1955, "Smokey Joe's Café".[1]

After leaving that group, in 1956 Gardner formed the Coasters with the Robins' bass singer Bobby Nunn, Leon Hughes and Billy Guy, at the behest of the songwriting/producing team of Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, and had a two-sided hit in 1957, "Youngblood" (on which Gardner sang lead) and "Searchin'". With new members Cornel Gunter and Will "Dub" Jones, the Coasters went on to produce several enduring classics of 1950s rock and roll music including "Yakety Yak", "Charlie Brown", and "Poison Ivy".[1]

Together with the other members of the Coasters – Cornell Gunter, Billy Guy and Will "Dub" Jones – Gardner was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987.[2]

Gardner's son, Carl Jr., officially joined the Coasters in late 2005, after Gardner semi-retired, although Carl Jr. had been touring with them since at least 1998.

Carl Sr. frequently visited the World Famous Gold & Silver Pawn Shop in Las Vegas, NV before it became famous for the hit reality show, Pawn Stars.[3] Gardner, however, never appeared on the show before his death.

Carl Gardner, Sr. died on June 12, 2011, after suffering with congestive heart failure and vascular dementia (according to the Coasters website).[4] Carl, Jr., took over as lead singer, but left the group in 2012 to form his own Coasters group. Veta Gardner, Carl's widow, manages the group, which contains no original or recording members.


  1. ^ a b c Bruce Weber (June 13, 2011). "Carl Gardner, Singer With Coasters Pop Group, Dies at 83". The New York Times. Retrieved 14 June 2011. 
  2. ^ "The Coasters". Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Retrieved 2007-12-31. 
  3. ^ "Vegas Pawn (pitch)". SCREENBOT via YouTube. Retrieved 2014-12-06. 
  4. ^ "Coasters singer Carl Gardner dies aged 83". BBC News. June 14, 2011. Retrieved 14 June 2011. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Gardner, Carl; Gardner, Veta; Ingrassia, Tom (2007). Yakety Yak I Fought Back : My Life with The Coasters. Bloomington, IN: AuthorHouse. ISBN 978-1-4259-8981-1. 

External links[edit]