Drifters, Platters and Cornell Gunter’s Coasters
Few people recall anymore the historical significance of Cornell Gunter’s decision at the time to “fly in the face of the wind.”: After all, he thought he could form a new group that would overcome the sudden lack of public interest in The Coasters‘ music and 1950’s music in general. And he thought he could do so by relying, in part at least, on Coasters’ music. Cornell believed that there was a new and unique way to present 1950’s music and clearly a new approach was needed because the early 60’s brought about a stunning and sudden change in American musical tastes. The Beatles and psychedelic music were right around the corner and almost overnight The Coasters, along with all of the other purveyors of the oldies group sound (The Drifters, The Shirelles, The Platters, to name a few), went from living as stars in the spotlight to being unable to get a new record played on the radio.
Looking back, given the current popularity of their type of music, it is hard to believe that this immensely popular art form could have fallen into disfavor so rapidly, joining such other fads as disco, calypso, big band, and swing; all of which disappeared from the American music scene.