Monday, August 22, 2011

Jerry Leiber, R. I. P.

Jerry Leiber of songwriting team Leiber and Stoller dies at 78 - Jerry Leiber, who with his songwriting partner Mike Stoller created a songbook that infused the rock 'n' roll scene of the 1950s and early '60s with energy and mischievous humor, has died. He was 78.

Leiber, the words half of the duo, died Monday at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles of cardiopulmonary failure, said Randy Poe, president of the songwriters’ publishing company.

Inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1985 and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987, Leiber and his lifelong writing partner, Stoller, wrote hits that included Elvis Presley's rat-a-tat-tat rendition of "Hound Dog" in 1956 and Peggy Lee's 1969 recording of the jaded "Is That All There Is?"

But they may be best remembered for the ebullient, impudent hits written for�the Clovers ("Love Potion No. 9"), the Drifters ("Ruby Baby"), the Cheers ("Black Denim Trousers and Motorcycle Boots"), the Robins ("Smokey Joe's Cafe," "Riot in Cell Block No. 9") and, especially, a Robins' spinoff group that Leiber and Stoller helped create, the Coasters ("Searchin'," "Yakety Yak," "Poison Ivy," "Charlie Brown," "Down in Mexico," "Little Egypt").


Ed Gorman said...

One of the great rock music writers of the fifties and sixties. As is his oartner. Their work for Elvis made them seminal figures.

Anonymous said...

Bummer. We saw the show based on their work, SMOKEY JOE'S CAFE, several times. Great stuff.


Fred Blosser said...

I didn't realize until recently that Leiber and Stoller had produced Sammy Turner's LAVENDER BLUE, one of the great ballads of the late '50s. Seminal talents in 20th century rock and pop.