Known for their comedic exploits, The Coasters were the beloved class clowns of early rock ’n’ roll. Fun-loving tracks like “Charley Brown,” ‘Young Blood,” “Searchin’” and “Yakety Yak” got big laughs — as did their onstage antics — and cemented their place in music history.
Behind the scenes, Brill Building hitmakers Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller fed the ’50s R&B-fueled vocal group a steady diet of ingenious arrangements and witty lyrics. And it was these factors that made The Coasters so much more than a mere novelty act.
Jim Ritz, a writer for a variety of TV shows who has produced, annotated and/or written liner notes for 100 CD reissue projects, served as producer for There’s A Riot Goin’ On: The Coasters On Atco, an exhaustive four-CD retrospective put out by Rhino Handmade that empties the vaults of a wealth of unreleased Coasters material and alternate takes of well-known songs. Having also written the liner notes for this collection, Ritz offers his unique insight on the inner workings of The Coasters and the group’s glorious history.