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Music / Leiber and Stoller

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Authors of a large part of the soundtrack to The '50s.

Jerome Leiber (April 25, 1933 – August 22, 2011) and Mike Stoller (born March 13, 1933) met as teenagers in Los Angeles in 1950, found that they were both fans of Blues and Rhythm & Blues, and started writing songs together. Jerry wrote the lyrics; Mike wrote the music. Their first hit came in '52, an R&B song called "Hard Times" recorded by Charles Brown. They stayed in the R&B genre for a few more years, writing songs that would later become huge hits, including "Kansas City" and "Hound Dog".

In the mid-'50s, Atlantic Records hired them as both songwriters and Record Producers. They moved in a doo-wop direction, writing hits for The Drifters and The Coasters. Songs like "Charlie Brown" and "Yakety Yak" became famous for their sense of humor and understanding of '50s youth culture.

After Elvis Presley made "Hound Dog" famous, they started writing for him, including "Loving You", "Jailhouse Rock", and "King Creole". Along with Elvis, they helped popularize black music in America, with R&B hits that crossed over into the mainstream. Unfortunately, however, the collaboration was largely short lived, as Elvis' manager, Colonel Tom Parker, was ticked off at the fact that the duo had a direct line to Elvis rather than going to him first.

In the early '60s, they left Atlantic for United Artists Records, and then to their own label, Red Bird. At Red Bird, they had success with Girl Groups The Shangri-Las and The Dixie Cups. They sold Red Bird in the late '60s and became independent songwriter-producers.

They won a Grammy Award in 1969 for Peggy Lee's "Is That All There Is?", and were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1987. A Broadway Jukebox Musical featuring their work, Smokey Joe's Cafe, came out in 1995 and won them another Grammy.

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Famous songs, and the musicians who made the famous:

  • “Along Came Jones”: The Coasters
  • "Black Denim Trousers and Motorcycle Boots": Edith Piaf (as "L’Homme à la Moto")
  • "Charlie Brown": The Coasters
  • "Don't": Elvis Presley
  • "Hound Dog": Elvis Presley
  • "I Keep Forgettin'": Chuck Jackson, Procol Harum, Ringo Starr, David Bowie
  • "Is That All There Is?": Peggy Lee
  • "Jailhouse Rock": Elvis Presley
  • "Kansas City": Wilbert Harrison
  • "King Creole": Elvis Presley
  • "Love Me": Elvis Presley
  • "Love Potion #9": The Searchers
  • "Loving You": Elvis Presley
  • "On Broadway": The Drifters (co-written with Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil)
  • "Only in America": Jay and the Americans
  • "Pearl's A Singer": Elkie Brooks (co-written with Ralph Dino and John Sembello)
  • "Poison Ivy": The Coasters
  • "Riot In Cell Block Nine": The Robins, The Blues Brothers
  • "Ruby Baby": The Drifters, Dion
  • "Searchin'": The Coasters
  • "Smokey Joe's Cafe": The Robins
  • "Spanish Harlem": Ben E. King (co-written with Phil Spector)
  • "Stand By Me": Ben E. King (co-written with King)
  • "There Goes My Baby": The Drifters (co-written with Ben E. King, Lover Patterson, and George Treadwell)
  • "Yakety Yak": The Coasters
  • "Young Blood": The Coasters (co-written with Doc Pomus)
  • "(You're So Square) Baby I Don't Care": Buddy Holly, Elvis Presley

Leiber and Stoller provide examples of: