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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.
Gardner was born in Tyler, Texas, to Rebecca and Robert Gardner. As a singer, his first major career success came with The Robins, a rhythm and blues group which had a big hit in the early 1950s, "Smokey Joe's Café".
After leaving that group, Gardner formed the Coasters with Bobby Nunn in 1955, at the behest of the songwriting/producing team of Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller. The Coasters went on to produce several enduring classics of 1950s rock and roll music including "Yakety Yak", "Charlie Brown", and "Poison Ivy".
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 Gardner, Sr. died on June 12, 2011, after suffering with congestive heart failure and vascular dementia (according to the Coasters website). His son Carl, Jr., having taken over as lead singer, carries on with the group.
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