The Leiber & Stoller Autobiography
Simon & Schuster, Hardcover, 9781416559382, 336pp.
Publication Date: June 9, 2009
From “Hound Dog” and “Stand by Me,” to “Yakety Yak” and “Kansas City,” Leiber and Stoller composed the soundtrack of the 1950s and 1960s. They set records—in four hours they wrote four songs that became #1 hits. Their story is also the story of rock ‘n’ roll—and a trend-setting era they helped to create.
• Their own story: Both were born in 1933—Leiber in Baltimore, Stoller on Long Island. They met in Los Angeles in 1950 and went on to write more hits than any other song writing team with the exception of John Lennon and Paul McCartney. With the help of veteran music writer David Ritz, they tell their incredible story in their own words.
• Great stories about a great era: Jerry Leiber’s parents ran a grocery store in a black neighborhood in Baltimore; he learned about R&B from their customers. Mike Stoller’s parents sent him to integrated summer camps, where he received an education in boogie-woogie. When the duo met Elvis (they wrote “Jailhouse rock” for him), they were surprised to discover a kindred spirit in the King, who had an encyclopedic knowledge of the blues. They wrote songs for the Coasters, the Drifters, and Ben e. King. Working in the famous Brill Building in New York City, they mentored Carole King and Burt Bacharach and also helped out a pushy kid named Phil Spector.
• The birth of rock ’n’ roll: Leiber and Stoller were a vital component of rock ’n’ roll’s early sound. As songwriters, they teamed catchy hooks with the rhythms of R&B and swing, crafting hundreds of classic hits; as producers, they revolutionized the recording industry. Their memoir will be a must-read for music fans.