Jerry Lieber and Mike Stoller shaped the rock and roll era - this is their story in their own words.
In 1950 a couple of rhythm and blues loving teenagers named Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller met for the first time. Leiber was looking for someone to help compose music for lyrics he'd written, and a friend recommended a Piano player named Mike Stoller. They discovered their mutual affection for R&B, and, as Jerry and Mike put it in this fascinating autobiography, it was the beginning of an argument that has been going on for more than fifty years with no resolution in sight.
With the assistance of David Ritz, they describe what it was like when Elvis was a fresh new face and when two young guys with tons of talent and an insatiable love of good old American R&B could create the soundtrack for a generation - and have a great time doing it.
Jerry Leiber was born in Baltimore, Maryland on April 25th 1933, and Mike Stoller was born in Queens, New York on March 13th 1933. They first met in Los Angeles in 1950, moved to New York in 1957 and returned to L.A. in 1989, where they both still reside. They were inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1985 and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987.
The golden days of rock 'n' roll flit by in this sprightly memoir by the celebrated songwriting duo. A couple of Jewish kids with a passion for black music, Leiber and Stoller started out as teenagers writing blues ballads, penned such early, genre-defining rock classics as "Hound Dog" and "Stand by Me," then conceived a midlife obsession with aging chanteuse Peggy Lee, for whom they wrote and produced an album of ruminative torch songs. Along the way, they went through iconic music-biz rites of passage: hanging with Elvis; working at the Brill Building; getting into financial disputes with Phil Spector, Atlantic Records and the Mafia. As arranged by collaborator Ritz, the authors harmonize well in their alternating reminiscences; Stoller is the more reflective one, while the best anecdotes belong to the brash Leiber, who was challenged to a drag race by James Dean, choked by Norman Mailer and forced to trade his car for a pair of shoes. There's not a lot of deep insight into the creative process the authors seem to have written most of their songs on 15 minutes' notice just vignettes from pop music's giddy youth, short and sweet and catchy. Photos.