Monday, August 22, 2011

Composer Jerry Leiber Dies at 78

Jerry Leiber, half of one of the most celebrated and successful songwriting teams of the 1950s and '60s, has died of cardio-pulmonary failure following a long illness. He was 78.

With his partner Mike Stoller, Leiber was the author of such hits as "Hound Dog," "Jailhouse Rock," "Yakety Yak," "Stand By Me" and many others. Leiber wrote the lyrics, Stoller the music; the two were among the first and most successful songwriters/producers to merge rhythm and blues with pop music in the 1950s.

Their last major hit as producers came in 1972, when they produced Stealers Wheel's "Stuck in the MIddle with You," which was later used to great effect in Quentin Tarantino's "Reservoir Dogs."

They were inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1985, the Producers Hall of Fame in 1986 and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame two years later.

In May 2011, "American Idol" contestants performed the songs of Leiber and Stoller on a show in which they were mentored by Lady Gaga.

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