Robert Gordon, singer who brought rockabilly revival to New York punk clubs in the 1970s, dies at 75
Robert Gordon, the rockabilly revivalist who introduced his brand of classic rock and roll to young punk music fans in the 1970s, has died aged 75.
Gordon passed away on Tuesday, his record label Cleopatra Records announced in a statement posted on Facebook later in the day.
The musician and his band the Tuff Darts regularly performed at iconic punk-friendly New York City clubs during the 1970s, including CBGB and Max’s Kansas City, according to Deadline.
Finale: Robert Gordon, the rockabilly revivalist who introduced his brand of classic rock and roll to young punk music fans in the 1970s, has died aged 75; seen in Chicago in 1981
“Cleopatra Records would like to extend our deepest condolences to his family and friends,” the label wrote in a short statement. “We have enjoyed working with Robert and will miss his powerful baritone singing and his focused dedication to his music.”
A GoFundMe account created by Gordon’s family in September stated that he was suffering from acute myeloid leukemia, although no cause of death was initially stated.
The fundraiser initially said the musician had been hospitalized for six weeks while “fighting for his life” against the disease.
After his death, the post had raised nearly $16,000 from a $20,000 goal.
Illness: A GoFundMe account created by Gordon’s family in September said he was suffering from acute myeloid leukemia, but no cause of death was listed; seen with (L–R) Chris Spedding, Dave Teighem and Tony Garnier in NYC in 1981
Classical punk music of the 1970s was a response to the perceived excesses of rock music of the period, which combined elements of earlier, simpler rock and roll styles with rawer aggression.
Gordon, who wore a ducktail haircut with an extreme pompadour at the height of his career, was indebted to classic rock and roll stars of the 1950s, including Elvis Presley, Gene Vincent and Eddie Cochran.
While Rockabilly may refer to the earliest types of classic rock and roll, it also describes a revived version of the music that was popular with some punk fans.
His band’s rhythms and voice were a tribute to earlier styles of music, but Gordon also worked with an esteemed selection of guitarists, including Link Wray, Danny Gatton and Chris Spedding, who appeared on his latest album, Hellafied. will be released posthumously on November 25.
Though mainstream success largely eluded Gordon, he remained an influential underground figure, and others would have more success with the rockabilly revival formula.
Old school: Gordon played a revived form of early rock ‘n’ roll known as rockabilly, although it bore similarities to punk acts playing the same venues in the 1970s; seen in 1982
Born in 1947 in Bethesda, Maryland, Gordon grew up on classic rock ‘n’ roll records and early rock radio, but his performance in bands as a teenager was cut short when he enlisted in the National Guard to avoid being drafted. to fight in Vietnam.
The rocker married at the age of 19 and had two children.
“I did the rockabilly thing that always seemed to scare people off, but I was an angry young man,” Gordon told AD Amorosi about Variety in 2014. ‘I was divorced from my first wife and punk worked for me. But I didn’t really like punk. I missed singing those old songs.’
Gordon’s early music from that period contained more confrontational punk-style lyrics, but he was later encouraged to dig through the history of rock and roll for his rockabilly sound.
On the artist’s 1978 album, he looked back by singing with Elvis Presley’s backing vocalists, the Jordanaires, along with up-and-coming rocker Bruce Springsteen, who wrote the classic tune Fire for the sessions.
“Bruce used to hang out in my fourth-floor hallway when I broke up with my wife,” Gordon recalled Amorosi. ‘We became good friends. If the Pointer Sisters hadn’t come up with their version of Fire, we could have had something there.”
More to come: Gordon’s critical success in the late 1970s included working with Bruce Springsteen, and he continued to release LPs until this year. His next LP, Hellafied, will be out on November 25; seen in 2016 in NYC
Critical praise for the album led Gordon to sign with RCA, which had long been Elvis Presley’s own record company.
He also took up acting, with his first major role opposite a young Willem Dafoe in Katherine Bigelow’s feature film debut The Loveless (1982), for which he also produced the soundtrack album.
Gordon continued to record steadily throughout the remainder of the 20th century and into the present.