Jerry Leiber, 1933-2011

Jerry Leiber, best known as the lyricist half of renowned songwriting duo Jerry Leiber & Mike Stoller, passed away yesterday in Los Angeles. He was 78. His place in the Elvis legend cannot be overstated, co-writing such classics as “Jailhouse Rock,” “Love Me,” “Hound Dog,” “Santa Claus Is Back In Town,” “Treat Me Nice,” “Don’t,” “Bossa Nova Baby,” “Trouble,” “Loving You,” and “Baby, I Don’t Care.”

Leiber’s association with American music is not limited to Elvis, though. His list of song credits often reads like the history of rock ‘n’ roll. Other hits include:

  • “Charlie Brown” (The Coasters)
  • “Dance With Me” (The Drifters)
  • “Fools Fall In Love” (The Drifters [later covered by Elvis])
  • “Love Potion #9” (The Clovers; The Coasters)
  • “On Broadway” (The Drifters)
  • “Ruby Baby” (The Drifters)
  • “Saved” (LaVern Baker [later covered by Elvis])
  • “Smokey Joe’s Café” (The Robins)
  • “Stand By Me” (Ben E. King)
  • “There Goes My Baby” (The Drifters)
  • “Yakety Yak” (The Coasters)

For a full list of Leiber & Stoller songs, see their official site.

Leiber is survived by three sons and two granddaughters. My condolences go out to his family and friends.

Related Links
Leiber & Stoller: Official Site
“Christmas Blues” — Elvis Today Blog
“Jerry Leiber – RIP” — For Elvis CD Collectors Forum
“Songwriter Jerry Leiber Dies at 78” — Rolling Stone
RIP Jerry Leiber: half of one of rock’s greatest songwriting teams” — LA Times
“Jerry Leiber, Prolific Writer of 1950s Hits, Dies at 78” — The New York Times

4 thoughts on “Jerry Leiber, 1933-2011

  1. “Santa Claus is Back in Town”, thank you. Cool story about the writing of this song. I put it in, say, the Top Ten of Best Fifties Recordings and maybe only “Jailhouse Rock” is a better Fifties Vocal Performance. Too bad about Jerry. Another true legend gone.


    • Hey Wellsy, good to have you back. Yes, Thomas did a great job on putting that together for his Elvis Today Blog.

      The Leiber/Stoller team was definitely hard to beat when it came to quality Elvis songs. Too bad the association didn’t last longer – but at least we have what we have. I like the way Elvis would still pick up their songs now and again, even though they were no longer written directly for him.


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