The Coasters

16 Greatest Hits [Passport Audio]

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Between 1956 and 1961, the Coasters (Carl Gardner, Bobby Nunn, Leon Hughes, and Billy Guy) put out a dozen or so classic singles that brilliantly detailed teenage angst, love, and lust, all of them given a slight comic spin that allowed the songs to nestle into AM pop radio with undetected subversive intent. It helped, too, that the Coasters material was written, produced, and arranged by the great team of Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, who knew exactly what to do and how to do it, and songs like "Yakety Yak," "Young Blood," "Along Came Jones," and "Charlie Brown" successfully cut across the boundaries between R&B and pop. All of these are collected here, as well as the truly bizarre "Run Red Run," which tells the story of a beer-drinking, card-playing monkey who tries to shoot his keeper for cheating at poker (you gotta love these guys!). Also here is the group's version of "Love Potion Number Nine," cut at a last session in 1971, and which reached number 76 in what was to be the Coasters' final visit to the pop charts.

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