Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Songwriter Jerry Leiber

 Jerry Leiber, who died on Monday, described working with Mike Stoller to NPR as “long, long years of … stepping on each other's toes … and words and sentences and, also, finishing each other's lines on songs.”  When Stoller told Rolling Stone that “in the early days we'd go back and forth note for note, syllable for syllable, word for word in the process of creating,” Leiber added: “We're a unit. The instincts are very closely aligned. I could write, 'Take out the papers and the trash', and he'll come up with 'Or you don't get no spendin' cash.'”

Jerry Leiber (rt) and partner Mike Stoller working together in 1956. (Michael Ochs Archives)
What's your favorite Leiber/Stoller song? Here's a mini roll call: “Hound Dog,” “Jailhouse Rock,” “Yakety Yak,” “Stand By Me” “Love Potion No. 9,” “Kansas City,” “I’m a Woman,” “Is that All There Is?” and “On Broadway.”

Elvis with Stoller & Leiber at MGM in 1957.

So many great singers have performed his songs—Peggy Lee, Sinatra, even John Lennon. Do you have a favorite?


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