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The History of American Rock & Roll

February 15, 2020      8:00 pm

Bobby “Brooks” Wilson Tributes his father Jackie Wilson and more
Charlie Thomas’ Drifters
The Coasters
With Long Island’s Own The Chiclettes
Charlie Thomas’ Drifters

ROCK AND ROLL HALL OF FAMER (1988) Charlie Thomas was born in Lynchburg, Virginia on April 7, 1937. He was a member of a group known as The Five Crowns in 1958 along with Ben Earl Nelson (later known as Ben E. King), who were being managed by Lover Patterson.

While The Five Crowns met with little commercial success, they enjoyed local popularity and that is why they were on the bill at the Apollo Theater in New York City in 1958 when George Treadwell fired his famous group, The Drifters. It was Charlie Thomas’ voice that Treadwell heard and hastily recruited the Crowns to become the new Drifters.

Lover Patterson once said that Charlie Thomas’ voice was one that the world would enjoy forever, and he was right!

The new Drifters’ first release in 1959 was a song called “There Goes My Baby.” This was the beginning of what is generally acknowledged as the Golden Years of the Drifters.

In 1988, Charlie Thomas, along with other original members Doc Green, Ben E. King and Elsbery Hobbs were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame at the Waldorf Astoria in New York City. The group was known for their famous hits such as:

  • Save The Last Dance For Me
  • Up On The Roof
  • This Magic Moment
  • Under The Boardwalk
  • Sweets For My Sweet
  • Saturday Night At The Movies
  • On Broadway
  • There Goes My Baby
  • Dance With Me


The Coasters

The Coasters are an American rhythm and blues/rock and roll vocal group that had a string of hits in the late 1950s. Beginning with “Searchin'” and “Young Blood,” their most memorable songs were written by the songwriting and producing team of Leiber and Stoller. Although the Coasters originated outside of mainstream doo wop, their records were so frequently imitated that they became an important part of the doo wop legacy through the 1960s.

The Coasters are a doo-wop group that started in October 1955. The original members of the Coasters were Carl Gardner, Billy Guy, Bobby Nunn, Leon Hughes (who was replaced by Young Jessie on a couple of their early Los Angeles recordings), and guitarist Adolph Jacobs. Jacobs left the group in 1959. The Coasters were formed out of the group The Robins, a Los Angeles-based rhythm and blues group, which included Carl Gardner and Bobby Nunn.

The songwriting team Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller had started Spark Records, and in 1955 produced “Smokey Joe’s Cafe” for The Robins (their 5th single with Leiber-Stoller). The record was popular enough that Atlantic Records offered Leiber and Stoller an independent production contract to produce The Robins for the Atlantic label. Only two of The Robins—Gardner and Nunn—were willing to make the move to Atlantic, recording their first songs in the same studio as The Robins had done (Master Recorders). In late 1957, the group moved to New York and replaced Nunn and Hughes with Cornell Gunter and Will “Dub” Jones. The new quartet was from then on stationed in New York (although all had Los Angeles roots).

The Coasters’ association with Leiber and Stoller was an immediate success. Together, they created a string of good-humored “storytelling” hits that are some of the most entertaining from the original era of rock and roll. Their first single, “Down in Mexico,” was an R&B hit in 1956 and appears (in a re-recording from 1970—still with Gardner singing the lead) on the soundtrack of Quentin Tarantino’s Death Proof. The following year, The Coasters crossed over to the national charts in a big way with the double-sided “Young Blood”/”Searchin’.” “Searchin'” was the group’s first U.S. Top 10 hit, and topped the R&B charts for 13 weeks, becoming the biggest R&B single of 1957 (all these were recorded in Los Angeles).

“Yakety Yak” (recorded in New York), featuring King Curtis on tenor saxophone, included the famous lineup of Gardner, Guy, Jones, and Gunter, became the act’s only national #1 single, and also topped the R&B chart. The next single, “Charlie Brown,” reached #2 on both charts. This was followed by “Along Came Jones,” “Poison Ivy” (#1 for a month on the R&B chart), and “Little Egypt (Ying-Yang).”


The Chiclettes

From The Crystals to The Supremes to Donna Summer — Sarah, Deanna, and Susan will keep you on your feet showcasing the female artists that dominated the music scene for the last five decades.

The Chiclettes demonstrate their diversity with a wide array of music, performing favorites from the ‘50s, ‘60s, ‘70s, and beyond which are reminders of the fantastic female contributions these artists made to the pop music scene through the years. Their high-energy appeal is universal; young and the young-at-heart appreciate them alike.

Over the years, various incarnations of The Chiclettes have shared the stage with such performers as The Drifters, Johnny Maestro & the Brooklyn Bridge, Lou Christie, Southside Johnny, Little Anthony and The Imperials, The Crystals, and the list goes on. They have also appeared on NBC TV, CBS FM’s Doo Wop Shop with Don K. Reed, and can be seen on the “Doo Wop 52” special produced by WQED TV and aired nationwide.

Their harmony talents have been used to back up other artists such as Lou Christie, Mel Carter, Jimmy Clanton, Ron Dante & more.

The Chiclettes have appeared in theatres, concert halls, casinos, & clubs all over the tri-state area & beyond, including venues in Atlantic City, NJ, Wildwood, NJ, Manhattan and municipalities on Long Island, NY, upstate NY, Connecticut & Delaware.

They also performed on the Time/Life© sponsored Malt Shop Memories Cruise in 2013, 2017, 2018, and 2019.

They continue the tradition of being an exciting, unique addition to any performing arts calendar. Wherever they perform, the combination of talent, memories, and high-energy fun always leaves a lasting impression!


Bobby Brooks Wilson

Bobby Brooks Wilson is the son of legendary R&B/Soul singer Jackie Wilson. Bobby has the same amazing traits and talents of his father, that many say Jackie Wilson’s legacy lives on through him. His adoring fans have dubbed him as “Mr. Entertainment” from his natural ability to entertain and bring crowds to life.

Bobby is a three-time Grammy-balloted artist with his latest CD, “It’s About Time,” and four Top 10 hits that peaked at #10 on the Adult Contemporary Charts.

Bobby’s musical journey began after leaving the US Navy and residing in Honolulu, Hawaii. He was invited to join the world-famous Doo Wop Group “The Love Notes” by Papa Mars (Peter Hernandez Sr.) and son Little Bruno, known as “The World’s Youngest Elvis Impersonator,” who is now pop star Bruno Mars.

While Bobby was emerging as a talented entertainer, he came across many opportunities to recreate the persona of Jackie Wilson because of his uncanny resemblance, voice, and moves that were almost identical to Jackie. It was during this time in his career he learned where his musical skills originated; he really was Jackie Wilson’s biological son!

Since that time, Bobby has emerged into a Global Entertainer with his own shows including: “Jackie Wilson, The Legacy Continues,” “Bobby Brooks Wilson, The Motown Years,” and his latest show “Bobby Brooks Wilson’s Red Tie Tour,” due to the success of his latest CD recorded by Plateau Music. Bobby has opened for his friend Bruno Mars, and now stars in clubs, theaters, casinos, and cruise ships around the world.

His latest radio releases, “I Can’t Love You Anymore” and “I Get The Sweetest Feeling” are currently airing in the UK and soaring up the charts. Because of popular demand, has scheduled an upcoming tour in the UK. Another single is set to release in South Africa beginning June 1st. He is currently recording a new CD that will be released world-wide this fall with a special attachment which he will disclose in the very near future.

Many watch with anticipation as Bobby Brooks Wilson’s success continues to soar through the “Grace of God,” he says, as the singer, the entertainer, and the artist!