Robert Gordon, a pioneer of the rockabilly revival and a well-known figure in the punk rock scene in New York City in the 1970s, passed away on Tuesday at the age of 75. Although no specific cause of death was given, his family just started a GoFundMe effort to support him in his fight against acute myeloid leukemia.
Cleopatra Records would like to send his family and friends our sincere condolences. Robert’s strong baritone voice and unwavering devotion to his music will be missed, as well as the fact that we enjoyed working with him, stated label VP Matt Green.
The label will release Gordon’s farewell album, “Hellafied,” on November 25. It reunites him with British guitarist Chris Spedding once more.
His Cause of Death
Although no particular cause of death was disclosed, Gordon was battling an aggressive form of acute myeloid leukemia, according to a GoFundMe page set up by his family.
Gordon, who was born in Bethesda, Maryland, on March 29, 1947, grew up idolizing pioneering 1950s rock singers like Eddie Cochran, Gene Vincent, and Elvis Presley. On these role models, he later based his musical approach and aesthetic.
As a part of the growing downtown punk movement centered on CBGB, he and his band Tuff Darts were included on the 1976 Atlantic Records CD Live at CBGB alongside musicians including Patti Smith, the Ramones, Talking Heads, and Blondie.
In the 1970s, it would have been simple to dismiss Gordon as a throwback to “Happy Days” because of his swept-up D.A. hairdo and preference for 1950s attire. But among the neo-rockabilly revivalists, Gordon stood out for having a voice that was emotionally resonant and passionate, curatorial finesse, and outstanding judgment in guitarist collaborators like Spedding, Link Wray, and Danny Gatton.
His work came before Brian Setzer’s Stray Cats, who popularised the sound he embraced in the early 1980s. You Can Check more related articles on Lee Daily.
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Gordon, who was born in Bethesda, Maryland, on March 29, 1947, was a compulsive radio listener and record collector with a preference for Elvis Presley, Eddie Cochran, and Gene Vincent
. After performing in several local bands in his teens, including the Confidentials and the Newports, Gordon enlisted in the National Guard to escape being drafted for service in Vietnam. He then got married at the age of 19 and had two children.
In 1970, Gordon and his family relocated to New York City with plans to build a clothes store, but when bands like Blondie, Television, and the Ramones started to pack CBGB, Gordon’s attention was drawn to the city’s burgeoning punk movement.
Gordon joined the NYC pop-punk group Tuff Darts and collaborated with them on a portion of the Atlantic label album “Live at CBGB” from 1976. On the song “Slice,” he sang lines like “I’d sooner slash my wrist and cut my throat than spend the night with you.”
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In 2014, Gordon said to this reporter, “I was doing the rockabilly thing, which always seemed to get people off, but I was an angry young man.” “Punk worked for me after I divorced my first wife. However, I wasn’t exactly a punk fan. Those old songs made me miss singing.”
When Gordon heard Tuff Darts cover Presley’s “One Night” by Richard Gottehrer, a producer/songwriter from the renowned Brill Building and the man behind successes like “My Boyfriend’s Back” and “I Want Candy,” he was persuaded to return to his roots and record a rock and roll album. Gordon disbanded Tuff Darts, joined Gottehrer, and persuaded Link Wray, the father of rockabilly, to record with them.
Songs By Singer Robert Gordon
The group made its debut in 1977 with “Robert Gordon with Link Wray” and released “Fresh Fish Special” shortly after. This album not only featured the Jordanaires, Elvis Presley’s backup singers, but also Bruce Springsteen, who contributed the song “Fire” to the sessions and played keyboards on the track.
When I split up with my wife, Bruce used to hang around at my fourth-floor walk-up, Gordon said to this reporter. We grew to be good friends. We could have had something there if the Pointer Sisters hadn’t performed their cover of “Fire.”
Gordon joined Presley’s prized RCA label soon after the critically lauded “Fresh Fish Special” came out, and in 1979 he made his debut with the dazzling “Rock Billy Boogie” before moving on to “Bad Boy.” Gordon informed me, “Gottehrer was key in setting me up with Link, first, then this cat I heard in London, Spedding.
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Gottehrer completed his tasks. He helped Spedding obtain a green card and was crucial in signing me to RCA. For the 1981 album “Are You Gonna Be the One” and its MTV-favored hit single “Someday, Someway,” written by power-pop hero Marshall Crenshaw, Gordon switched some of his emphasis away from rockabilly and toward pop, R&B, and country with flamboyant guitarist Danny Gatton and for RCA.
Soon after the album was released, Gordon contributed songs to the soundtrack of Kathryn Bigelow’s debut feature film, “The Loveless,” a low-budget production.
Gordon continued to make successful rockabilly and blues-based albums after leaving RCA, recording them for labels like Viceroy, Jungle, Rykodisc, Lanark, and Cleopatra for his most recent studio album, 2020’s aptly named “Rockabilly for Life.”
Gordon took great pride in the way his more recent recordings were put together. He explained to this writer that “it’s quite raw but also pretty clean, as opposed to much pseudo-rockabilly stuff that sounds like crap.”
To that end, Gordon’s upcoming album “Hellafied” alongside Spedding and longstanding collaborator and former Blue Oyster Cult drummer Albert Bouchard include brand-new original songs written by the singer alone as well as several others that he co-wrote with Bouchard and Mark Barkan.
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Gordon Roberts passed away today. His band, the Tuff Darts, was a staple of the punk scenes in New York City’s CBGB and Max’s Kansas City in the 1970s. He was a rockabilly enthusiast and singer. He was 75.
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