Sunday, April 17, 2011

What makes great music? A collaboration between great musicians and great lyricists. We’ve heard of Lerner & Low for great ballads and Oscar & Hammerstein for great musicals but who is Lieber & Stoller? They have been partners for 60 years and have written most of the old popular hit songs we all sing to.
Stand By Me, Kansas City, Hound Dog, Jail House Rock, Yackity Yac, songs that make these guys legionary. They are Rock & Roll’s original hit men. Jerry Lieber and Mike Stoller met each other at age 17. Mike wanted to be a jazz musician. Their goal was to have their songs recorded by the blues musicians they admired. In 1950 it began when a song of theirs was sung at a Rhythm & Blues concert.
They wrote for mostly black R&B artists. They lived on a perimeter of a Black Ghetto in South Baltimore. They found that Black people were hipper and smart and nicer than many of the White up-coming artists. But it was Elvis with Hound Dog that made them sought after from all artists looking for the next hit song to record. Eash of their hit songs were big hits selling 7 or 8 million copies.

Over the years Elvis ended up recording over 20 of their songs including 4 for the movie Jail House Rock. They liked Elvis but hated his Manager Colonel Tom Parker. In 1978 the composers were invited into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Their favorite song is , Is That All There Is recorded by Peggy Lee. A theaterical ballad sarcastic about after everything has been said and done, lets go dancing.
These two guys stood by each other for 60 years. They are now 77 years old. There secret to their long business arrangement is that they argue and never resolve the issue; they just think of more stuff to keep the dialogue open. We can all learn from this type of relationship and be thankful for all their songs we grew up with that kept our toes tapping and was the music therapy that kept the dialogues of our lives going. Thanks guys.

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