Lyricist Jerry Leiber Passes Away at 78

According to published reports, lyricist Jerry Leiber, of the legendary songwriting team Leiber and Stoller, has passed away from cardiopulmonary failure. He was 78 years old.

Leiber and Stoller's first successes were as the writers of such crossover hit songs as "Hound Dog" and "Kansas City." Later in the 1950s, particularly through their work with The Coasters, they created a string of ground-breaking hits that are some of the most entertaining in rock and roll, by using the humorous vernacular of the teenagers sung in a style that was openly theatrical rather than personal, songs that include "Young Blood," "Searchin'," and "Yakety Yak." They were the first to surround black music with elaborate production values, enhancing its emotional power with The Drifters in "There Goes My Baby" and influencing Phil Spector who worked with them on recordings of The Drifters and Ben E. King. Leiber and Stoller went into the record business and, focusing on the "girl group" sound, released some of the greatest classics of the Brill Building period.

They wrote hits including "Love Me," "Loving You," "Don't," "Jailhouse Rock," and "King Creole," among others for Elvis Presley. They were inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1985 and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987.

Their music came to the Broadway stage in 1995 with SMOKEY JOE'S CAFE, a musical revue showcasing 39 pop standards, including rock and roll, rhythm and blues songs written by the duo. The Original Broadway cast recording, Smokey Joe's Cafe: The Songs Of Leiber And Stoller won a Grammy award in 1996.

 

 

 


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