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News » Songwriter Jerry Leiber dies at 78

Songwriter Jerry Leiber dies at 78

23 August 2011
Jerry Leiber (songwriter of famous song such as "Hound Dog", "Jailhouse Rock", "Stand By Me", etc) died on August 22 in Los Angeles from cardio-pulmonary failure.

Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller met in Los Angeles in 1950, where Stoller was a freshman at Los Angeles City College while Leiber was a senior at Fairfax High. After school, Stoller played piano and Leiber worked in a record store and, when they met, they found they shared a love of blues and rhythm and blues.

In 1950, Jimmy Witherspoon recorded and performed their first commercial song, "Real Ugly Woman".

In 1952 the pair wrote the song "Hound Dog" for Big Mama Thornton, which became a hit for her in 1953.

Despite their widely reported distaste for Presley's version of "Hound Dog", they would eventually pen "Jailhouse Rock," "Loving You," "Don't Treat Me Nice" and "King Creole" for Elvis.

Their work for other artists of the era. For The Coasters they wrote "Charlie Brown," "Searchin'," "Yakety Yak," "Young Blood" and "Poison Ivy." For Ben E. King they penned "Stand By Me" and "Spanish Harlem", and for The Drifters - "On Broadway" and "There Goes My Baby". They also scored hits for Peggy Lee ("Is That All There Is?" and "I'm a Woman"), LaVern Baker ("Saved") and The Clovers ("Love Potion #9"), among others.

The pair was so successful at creating hit tunes for other acts that Atlantic Records signed them to an innovative contract that allowed them to produce records for outside artists while remaining tied to the Atlantic label, in effect granting them status as independent producers.

In 1985 the duo was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987.

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