Jerry Leiber, who with longtime partner Mike Stoller wrote "Hound Dog," ''Jailhouse Rock," ''Yakety Yak" and other hit songs that came to define early rock 'n' roll, died unexpectedly of cardiopulmonary failure today (Monday, August 22, 2011) He was 78.
Leiber, along with his writing partner Mike Stoller penned their breakout hit, "Hound Dog," for blues great Big Mama Thornton in 1953; in the process, helping launch Elvis Presley's career.
Both Leiber and Stoller far preferred Thornton's version of "Hound Dog" to Presley's. In the Leiber & Stoller dual penned autobiography, “Hound Dog” --published in 2009, Leiber said, "Lick for lick, there's no comparison between the Presley version and the Big Mama original…” Stoller simply said that he was annoyed by the Presley version.
The song writing duo’s catalog includes almost every major hit by the Coasters, including "Searchin'," "YoungBlood," "Charlie Brown," "Yakety Yak" and "PoisonIvy."
They penned "Jailhouse Rock," "Treat Me Nice" and "You're So Square (Baby I Don't Care)" specifically for Elvis Presley, who recorded more than 20 Leiber & Stoller songs.
Leiber, who like Stoller was white, said his musical inspiration came from the close identification he had with black American culture during his boyhood and teen years in Baltimore and Los Angeles.
According to Stoller, “He (Jerry Leiber) was my friend, my buddy, my writing partner for 61 years…We met when we were 17 years old. He had a way with words. There was nobody better. I am going to miss him."
THE FOLLOWING IS A VERY ABBREVIATED LIST OF LEIBER and STOLLER TUNES
Down in Mexico (Coasters)
ThereGoes My Baby (Drifters)
Stand By Me (Ben E. King)
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