Tuesday, August 23, 2011

So Long, Jerry Leiber

With composer partner Mike Stoller, lyricist Jerry Leiber was half of one of Rock & Roll's first major songwriting teams. He's the cat who sent Wilbert Harrison to Kansas City, paired Big Mama Thornton with a no-good Hound Dog, made Elvis and Buddy realize they didn't care that their baby is square, and stuck Steeler's Wheel in the middle with you. Leiber and Stoller's effervescent blend of R&B and traditional pop inspired versions of their songs by The Coasters, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Beach Boys, Dion, The Searchers, The Drifters, Ben E. King, John Lennon, Otis Redding, and many, many, many others.

Mike Stoller (left) and Jerry Leiber (right) with unidentified friend."
Jerry Leiber died yesterday at the age of 78 cardiopulmonary failure in Los Angeles. Of course, all that monumental music he made with Mike lives on. Here are a few of the duo's definitive numbers... and a few versions that may have missed the mass of Leiber tributes no doubt pouring across the Internet today:

"Hound Dog" by Big Mama Thornton

"You're So Square (Baby I Don't Care)" by Buddy Holly

"Charlie Brown" by The Coasters

"Kansas City" by Little Richard

"Ruby Baby" by Dion

"Some Other Guy" by The Beatles

"Poison Ivy" by The Rolling Stones

"D.W. Washburn" by The Monkees

"I Keep Forgetting" by Procol Harum (also produced by Leiber and Stoller)

"Stand by Me" by John Lennon

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