Robert Gordon was well established in the New York City punk scene in the early 1970s with a band called Tuff Darts. A chance encounter with record producer Richard Gottehrer sent Gordon in a new direction: rockabilly.
Impressed with Gordon’s baritone and rendition of Elvis Presley’s “One Night,” the two began a collaboration. Now, some 40 years later, Gordon is considered a leader in the rockabilly revival. He was influenced by people like James Brown, Otis Redding, Gene Vincent, Jack Scott, Billy Lee Riley and Eddie Cochran.
Gordon brings that sound and a sense of rockabilly history to the Stanhope House on Saturday, Sept. 25. Showtime is 7:30 p.m.
Gordon’s career catapulted in 1978 when RCA Records signed him to a contract which he described as “a dream come true” to record for “Elvis’s label. In 1979, the album Rock Billy Boogie was issued on the RCA Victor label. Classic Rock History journalist Brian Kachejian described the single “Rock Billy Boogie” as the song that defined Gordon’s artistry. Bruce Eder of All Music hailed Gordon’s next album, Bad Boy (1980), as one of the best mature rockabilly albums ever recorded. Gordon’s next and final album for RCA was 1981’s Are You Gonna Be the One. It is Gordon’s best-selling album to date.
In 1982, Gordon co-starred with Willem Dafoe in future Oscar winner Kathryn Bigelow’s first film, a 1950s-styled motor-biking movie inspired by Marlon Brando’s The Wild One called The Lovess. This was Dafoe’s first feature starring role. Critics generally liked the soundtrack but disliked the film. The Loveless did poorly at the box office but is now considered a cult favorite.
Gordon also appeared on the TV comedy show SCTV in which he performed with his band after having been “mistakenly” booked on the show as the astronaut Gordon Cooper. This included a spoof of a space shuttle launch.
The Stanhope House is located on Main Street in Downtown Stanhope. For more information visit stanhopehousenj.com.