We’ve lost Jerry Leiber. Rob or Tuffley will be able to more extensively run you through why this is important and you should know it. But Leiber is one of those people whose work you know even if you don’t know you know it. Any even passing knowledge of the music of the 50s and 60s and you can’t get around his lyrics and partner Mike Stoller’s music. “Jailhouse Rock,” for example–even if you don’t know the Elvis version, you’ve seen The Blues Brothers crush it. “Hound Dog”…I don’t know how you can not know the Elvis version of that, but it was originally (and is still) owned by Big Mama Thornton. The musical Smokey Joe’s Cafe is based around their work. And The Coasters…I shan’t call them novelty songs, stuff like “Charlie Brown” and “Poison Ivy”…because they’re too well put together to be mere novelty tunes.
I’ve created a thirty-eight track playlist of Leiber and Stoller tunes as a tribute. That’s on Spotify. Enjoy. And a few tracks I couldn’t find on Spotify are embedded below.
Thanks for everything, Mr. Leiber. Rest well.
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David Gilmour with the Rhythm Kings covering “Don’t,” originally by Elvis.
And Jerry Reed with “Framed,” which was originally performed by The Robins.
Here’s Rob Bry–sorry, Tom Jones covering Elvis Presley.