Lost Treasures: The Coasters – “Little Egypt (Ying-Yang)”

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From 1961, this week’s Lost Treasure was released on the Atco label.  “Little Egypt (Ying-Yang)” continued a string of successful ‘story-telling’ hits by The Coasters just as changes in music tastes would soon diminish their star.  Born from the ashes of L.A. R&B group The Robins, the members of The Coasters moved to New York along with their incredibly talented songwriting/production team of Jerry Leiber & Mike Stoller.  Leiber & Stoller has created a hit for The Robins with “Smoky Joe’s Cafe” which brought both The Coasters & the production team to the attention of Atlantic Records who offered them all a contract if they moved to New York to record for the label.  A half dozen solid hits released on Atlantic’s Atco label throughout the late 1950’s landed the group on both the R&B & pop music charts.  Their often humorous style of songs paired with the incredible vocal ranges of the Coasters members got them airplay all throughout the States & Canada.  Saxophonist King Curtis, whose familiar horn solos were heard on their records, was known as “the fifth Coaster” before launching his own successful career. As the British Invasion began to dominate the charts, the Coasters hit-making records no longer found success & in 1966 they signed with Columbia’s Date Records, re-united with Leiber-Stoller who had left Atlantic, but failed to regain their previous popularity.  The group again hit the charts in 1971 with their cover of  “Love Potion #9” a song that Leiber and Stoller had written for the Coasters but instead gave to The Clovers in 1959.  In 1987, the Coasters became the first group inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, crediting the members of the 1958 configuration. The Coasters also joined the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 1999. Several groups used the name in the 1970’s, touring throughout the country, though original member Carl Gardner held the legal rights to it. Gardner continued to tour with the Coasters and made many attempts to stop bogus groups with no connection to the original group using the name. In late 2005, Carl’s son Carl Gardner Jr. took over as lead with the group when his father retired. Today, the only surviving original member of The Coasters is Leon Hughes & the group is heard in concert on a few “oldies package” tours & PBS TV specials.  Take a Puget Sound Media ride on the ‘wayback’ machine with the Coasters & “Little Egypt (Ying-Yang)”

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Mike Cherry

Author: Mike Cherry

retired broadcaster: on-air, MD, PD, asst PD, Prod Mgr, IT, station technician/engineer, pioneer Internet webcaster, station installation/maintenance; 12 years in commercial radio, 17 years volunteer in campus/community radio in B.C., Alberta & Wash. Amateur radio operator & "DXer" specializing in AM night-time DX, short-wave DX/listening & remote SDR DXing/listening

7 thoughts on “Lost Treasures: The Coasters – “Little Egypt (Ying-Yang)”

    1. I thought I heard 1989, and then checked for the lyrics, which showed 1949. But, I figured I had simply misheard.

    2. Dick – good ears for picking out that little discrepancy. Admittedly, my copy came from a downloaded file unlike most of the songs posted to “Lost Treasures” which are actual records I have – or once had – in my possession. I can definitely hear the date difference when viewing the Youtube version you’ve linked. I wouldn’t say this an imposter group – there were at least 2 or 3 groups using the Coasters name that contained former though not necessarily original) members performing as such. As noted in my post, leader Carl Gardner had his hands full stopping illegal use of the group’s name for performances & recordings.

  1. From the first breath, it was obvious that those weren’t The Coasters. They were some of the imposters, frauds, and phonies that Carl Gardner couldn’t stop.

    It’s one thing to get up on stage and say, “We’re saluting The Coasters – we love ’em! We know you love The Coasters and we’re going to try to recreate their hit songs and bring back some wonderful memories for you tonight”, but to say “We are The Coasters” is to say, ” We don’t have enough talent to make it on our own, so we’re going to pretend we’re a group you’ve heard of and make a few cheap dollars so we can stay off welfare, if that’s okay.”

    1. well Dick – it had me fooled otherwise I wouldn’t have posted it claiming it to be the original nor would I have likely downloaded the recording in the first place. Problem solved.

    1. “Little Egypt” is on an oldies compilation I bought online & downloaded. Nowhere does it state that the songs included aren’t the original versions. If I use tracks in future from this compilation I’ll be wary of ‘re-creations’ I’ve listened to most of the tracks on the release & they do seem to be the original recordings but it is possible to get fooled on songs that aren’t thoroughly familiar

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