Rockabilly revival singer Robert Gordon dead at 75

Juan Naharro Gimenez/Redferns

Robert Gordon, the deep-voiced singer who helped launch the rockabilly revival during the late 1970s, died Tuesday, Variety reports. He was 75.

Gordon’s record label, Cleopatra Records, confirmed his passing to Variety and posted a Facebook message offering “our deepest condolences to his family and friends.” “We liked working with Robert and will miss his powerful baritone vocal as well as his focused dedication to his music,” the label added.

No cause of death was mentioned, but a GoFundMe page recently launched by Gordon’s family revealed he was battling acute myeloid leukemia.

Born in Bethesda, Maryland, Gordon recorded with a group called The Confidentials as a teenager. After relocating to New York City in 1970, he joined the early punk band Tuff Darts and sang on a few of their early singles.

Gordon launched his solo career in 1977 after teaming up with veteran producer/songwriter Richard Gottehrer, who suggested he collaborate with pioneering rock ‘n’ roll guitarist Link Wray. Gordon recorded two albums with Wray — 1977’s Robert Gordon with Link Wray and 1978’s Fresh Fish Special.

Both albums showcased Robert’s booming, Elvis Presley-inspired vocals and mainly featured covers of vintage rock ‘n’ roll tunes. Fresh Fish Special included Presley’s longtime backing vocal group The Jordanaires and an early cover of Bruce Springsteen‘s “Fire” that featured Springsteen on keyboards.

Gordon went on to work with such other acclaimed guitarists as Chris Spedding and Danny Gatton. His 1981 album, Are You Gonna Be the One, reached #76 on the Billboard 200 and featured a popular cover of Marshall Crenshaw‘s “Someday, Someway.”

Robert continued to record sporadically and tour regularly throughout his life. A new Gordon album, Hellafied, a collaboration with Spedding, is due out on November 24. It includes a variety of previously unreleased archival songs.

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