Sunday, August 28, 2011

They were gold, Jerry

By Al Tays

Does the name Jerry Leiber mean anything to you? Didn't to me, either, until I read his obituary after he died on Monday at the age of 78. Leiber was the lyrics half of the songwriting team that also included composer Mike Stoller.

If you've ever listened to 1950s rock and roll, you know Leiber and Stoller. The pair, who met in L.A. when Leiber was still at Fairfax High (a scant few blocks from the former West Coast HQ of Six String Symphony) wrote such hits as"Kansas City," "Love Potion No. 9," "There Goes My Baby," "Hound Dog," "Yakety Yak," "Stand by Me" (with Bedn E. King), "Charlie Brown," "Jailhouse Rock" . . . the list is seemingly endless. They also produced the 1972 Stealers Wheel classic, "Stuck in the Middle With You."

The team almost was broken up in 1956, when Stoller and his wife found themselves aboard the SS Andrea Doria when it was accidentally rammed and sunk by another ship. The Stollers were rescued, and when they got to New York Leiber met them and told them that "Hound Dog," which they had first written for Big Mama Thornton, had become a hit for Elvis Presley.

Tons of material to choose from, video wise, but for those who know "Jailhouse Rock" only from the Blues Brothers, let's check out the original Elvis version, shall we?

No comments:

Post a Comment