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This Week in Texas Music History: Carl Gardner

by Stephen Becker 4 May 2012 2:02 PM

This Week in Texas Music History, we meet a singer who was itching to make it in the music business.


Art&Seek presents This Week in Texas Music History. Every week, we’ll spotlight a different moment and the musician who made it. This week, Texas music scholar Gary Hartman talks about one of the oldest and most distinctive musical traditions in Texas.

You can also hear This Week in Texas Music History on Sunday at precisely 6:04 p.m. on KERA radio. But subscribe to the podcast so you won’t miss an episode. And our thanks to KUT public radio in Austin for helping us bring this segment to you. And if you’re a music lover, be sure to check out Track by Track, the bi-weekly podcast from Paul Slavens, host of KXT’s The Paul Slavens Show, heard Sunday night’s at 8.

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Carl Gardner, lead singer of the pop group the Coasters, was born on April 29, 1928, in Tyler. In the early 1950s, Gardner moved to Southern California and started the doo-wop band the Robins. By 1955, Gardner and bassist Bobby Nunn had relocated to New York and formed a new group, the Coasters. The Coasters released their first recording, “Down in Mexico,” in 1956 and followed this with several other hits, including “Charlie Brown,” “Young Blood” and “Poison Ivy.”

In 1958, the Coasters released what became perhaps their best-known song, “Yakety Yak,” featuring fellow Texan King Curtis on saxophone.

Next time on This Week in Texas Music History, we will meet the “other Carter Family” of American roots music.