Half of a pair who arguably wrote the soundtrack to the 20th century, Jerry Leiber (pictured left) of the famous Leiber and Stoller writing duo has died in Los Angeles aged 78. Family members were at his bedside when he died of cardiopulmonary failure at the Cedars-Sinai Medical Centre.
Meeting his songwriting partner Mike Stoller in Los Angeles aged 17, the two immediately bonded over a love of music and began writing together. They would go on to pen such music standards as ‘Hound Dog’, ‘Jailhouse Rock’, ‘Stand By Me’ and ‘Poison Ivy’.
‘Hound Dog’ was originally recorded by Big Mama Thornton and hit the top of the R & B charts, before a young upstart named Elvis Presley changed some of the lyrics and hit the top of the charts with the song in 1956. The duo would also pen further hits for The King including ‘Jailhouse Rock’ and ‘King Creole’.
Leiber generally handled lyric writing duties, with Stoller pumping out the music and ontheir own label, Spark records, they wrote an astonishing number of hits for groups such as The Coasters’ with ‘Searchin’ and ‘Yakety Yak’; The Drifters’ ‘On Broadway’, and The Clovers’ ‘Love Potion #9’.
Their run of hits continued through the 1960s and in to the 1970s, with the partnership infamously penning ‘Stuck in the Middle With You,’ for Stealers Wheel. The pair were inducted in to the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1985 and in to the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame in 1987.