Rock ‘n’ roll songwriter Jerry Leiber dead at 78
LOS ANGELES— Rock ‘n’ roll songwriter Jerry Leiber, who wrote lyrics for such hits as “Hound Dog” and “Jailhouse Rock,” died Monday. He was 78.
The death was confirmed by his longtime publicist, Bobbi Marcus, said.
With Leiber as lyricist and partner Mike Stoller as composer, the team channeled their blues and jazz backgrounds into pop songs performed by such artists as Elvis Presley, the Coasters and Ben E. King.
Their breakout hit was blues great Big Mama Thornton’s 1953 rendition of “Hound Dog.” Presley’s version hit No. 1 in 1956.
Other artists who have recorded their songs reads like a who’s-who of popular music: Barbra Streisand, Buddy Holly, the Rolling Stones, the Beatles, Aretha Franklin and Jerry Lee Lewis. Their songwriting took a more serious turn in 1969 with Peggy Lee’s hit “Is That All There Is?”
They were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987.
“The music world lost today one of its greatest poet laureates,” said Terry Stewart, president of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum. “Jerry not only wrote the words that everyone was singing, he led the way in how we verbalized our feelings about the societal changes we were living with in post-World War II life. Appropriately, his vehicles of choice were the emerging populist musical genres of rhythm and blues and then rock and roll.”