Johnny Angel's Ginchy Stuff

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Feature Friday: Who wrote that? ... Leiber & Stoller!

Posted on May 15, 2020 at 9:50 AM

Good day Ginchers,

Feature Friday has arrived and today I ask the question ... "Who Wrote That?" ... Leiber and Stoller, who else?  Growing up in the 50's and 60's one of my necessities was the tansistor radio ... couldn't be without it ... why? ... Music, music, music!  As I think back on those days and all the great records I heard for the first time, I realized that a majority of them were written and or produced by Jerry Leiber and Michael "Mike" Stoller.  Here is but a small sample of their works; "Smokey Joe's Cafe", "There Goes My Baby", "Hound Dog", "Jailhouse Rock", "Love Potion #9", "Kansas City", "Yakety, Yak" and the list goes on and on!  They launched "Red Bird" records in the early 60's that released some of the greatest "Girl Group" sounds and greatest classics from the famous Brill Building era.  They formed "Sparks" records which was later purchased by Atlantic Records.   Leiber was born in Baltimore, Maryland and Stoller in Long Island, New York and when they met, Stoller was playing piano and Leiber worked at Norty's record store.  They both shared a passion for Blues and Rhythm and Blues and began writing some songs together. They lived a life similar to the Beatnik style and in the early 50's had some success writing for Charles Brown, Wilbert Harrison and Big Mama Thornton.  They then had a string writing for Elvis Presley and the new Rock n' Roll sound artists like the Coasters and Drifters.  The Leiber and Stoller story is deep and would take too many pages of writing to even scrape the surface so when you have time, pick up the book "Hound Dog, the Leiber and Stoller Autobiography ... it's a keeper!  I met Jery Leiber and Mike Stoller at the premiere of their play, "Smokey Joe's Cafe" in Cleveland Ohio.  I was invitied to their pre-show cast party and meet and greet.  I had a love for their music so, as you now know me, I was loaded for bear with Leiber and Stoller questions.  From this meeting I wished that I had met them in their prime, their thinking and responses were very well expressed and I kept thinking to myself these two gentlemen are actually Hip Beatniks living in a refined gentlemans, suit wearing, body!  Their music is part of Rock N' Roll, Rhythm N' Blues History.  They were inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1985 and into the Rock N' Roll Hall of Fame in 1987.  If you are ever playing a rock n' roll trivia game and the question "Who wrote this song?" comes up ... odds are Leiber and Stoller were involved!  Till tomorrow stay safe, stay healthy, help a friend when you can ... and, God Bless!


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