Robert Gordon, a leading figure in the rockabilly revivalist movement of the late ’70s, has died at the age of 73. His record label confirmed the news to Variety. Though no cause of death was cited, a GoFundMe page had been set up by Gordon’s family last month to assist with his battle with acute myeloid leukemia.
“Cleopatra Records would like to offer our deepest condolences to his family and friends,” label VP Matt Green said in a statement. “We liked working with Robert and will miss his powerful baritone vocal as well as his focused dedication to his music.”
Born on March 29, 1947 in Bethesda, Maryland, Gordon developed an interest in music at an early age after hearing the likes of Elvis Presley, Gene Vincent, and Eddie Cochrane. In 1970, Gordon moved to New York City and became a part of the bourgeoning punk scene when he joined the punk band Tuff Darts, one of the earliest acts to establish a following at the CBGB club alongside the likes of Blondie, Patti Smith, and the Ramones. Their song ‘All For the Love Of Rock ‘N’ Roll’ opens the 1976 compilation Live At CBGB’s, which also includes their tracks ‘Head Over Heels’ and ‘Slash’.
Gordon left Tuff Darts before the release of their 1978 debut album and launched a solo career as a rockability revivalist singer. He worked with the great ‘Rumble’ guitarist Link Wray on two albums, 1977’s Robert Gordon With Link Wray and 1978’s Fresh Fish Special, the second of which included the first recorded version of Bruce Springsteen’s ‘Fire’, with Springsteen himself on keys. Gordon signed with RCA Records, Presley’s label, in 1978, and his 1981 album Are You Gonna Be the One spawned the single ‘Someday, Someway’, which peaked at No. 76 on the Hot 100. He continued touring and went on to release several more albums over the following decades. His final LP, Hellafied, is set for release via Cleopatra on November 25.