by Robert Wilkinson
Mike Stoller and his partner Jerry Leiber were two of the greatest songwriters of rock and roll. Today we have some great videos of everyone from Elvis to the Beatles doing their hits!
Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Mike Stoller (March 13, 1933) with partner Jerry Leiber (April 25, 1933 – August 22, 2011) wrote some of the most famous songs of the second half of the 20th century over a 60 year collaboration. Mike wrote the tunes and Jerry wrote the lyrics for such amazing songs as "Hound Dog," "Jailhouse Rock," "Love Me," "King Creole," "Yakety Yak," "Searchin'," "Young Blood," "Love Potion #9," "Kansas City," "Charlie Brown," "Drip Drop," "Poison Ivy," "Stand By Me," "Spanish Harlem," "Smokey Joe's Cafe," "Riot in Cell Block #9," "On Broadway," and the immortal Christmas song, "Santa Claus Is Back in Town," among the many that shaped a couple of generations of musical fans.
They created the hits of the 50s and 60s, and their songs were done by many of the greatest of rock and rollers, including Elvis Presley, Dion, the Coasters, the Drifters and Ben E. King. They created a joyous new musical songwriting style by combining blues, jazz, and pop in a sound that captivated millions over decades. They also produced more major hits than I can list here.
Over their career, they had 15 No. 1 hits in a variety of genres by 10 different artists. Among the performers who took their hits to the top of the charts we can include Barbra Streisand, Aretha Franklin, the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Willie Nelson, Frank Sinatra, Joni Mitchell, James Taylor and Otis Redding.
... they created a string of ground-breaking hits that are some of the most entertaining in rock and roll, by using the humorous vernacular of the teenagers sung in a style that was openly theatrical rather than personal, songs that include “Young Blood,” “Searchin’,” and “Yakety Yak.” They were the first to surround black music with elaborate production values, enhancing its emotional power with the Drifters in “There Goes My Baby” and influencing Phil Spector who worked with them on recordings of the Drifters and Ben E. King. Leiber and Stoller went into the record business and, focusing on the “girl group” sound, released some of the greatest classics of the Brill Building period.
Here are a few of the songs that made the team of Leiber and Stoller immortals:
From the Steve Allen show in 1956, Elvis doing "Hound Dog."
From the movie, here's "Jailhouse Rock"
From an early Ed Sullivan performance, here's the King performing "Love Me"
By the Coasters, their timeless teen age lament, "Yakety Yak"
From 1956, the Coasters’ original studio version of the Lieber-Stoller hit, “Ruby Baby.” For the more famous version from a few years later, here’s the legendary Dion DiMucci live on television in 1963 with his unmistakeable New York attitude belting out “Ruby Baby”
From 1957, a great live performance by the original Coasters on the Steve Allen show of “Searchin’”
Here’s the Beatles in 1962 with Paul on lead vocals offering up their studio version of “Searchin’”
From 1958, also with King Curtis on sax, the original studio version by the Coasters of “Three Cool Cats”
From 1962 with George singing lead, here are the Beatles giving us their studio version of “Three Cool Cats”
From 1959, the Coasters in the original studio version of "Poison Ivy"
From 1963, the original Rolling Stones studio release of “Poison Ivy”
From 1962, the original studio version by the Coasters with King Curtis on Sax grinding out “Little Egypt”
As we originally saw in the movie “Roustabout,” here’s the King mugging for the camera while giving us a slick performance of “Little Egypt”
From 1965, the Coasters in a live performance of “Along Came Jones”
Here’s a later vintage of the Coasters in a live performance of “Young Blood”
Here are the very early Beatles in an audio-only version of “Young Blood”
Last year I had a third version of “Young Blood” from “the Concert for Bangladesh,” a really fantastic video! This year it’s nowhere to be found. So instead, we have the audio-only medley by the great Leon Russell preaching the gospel of ”Jumping Jack Flash” followed by “Young Blood”
From 1954, the Robins’ original studio version of “There’s A Riot Going On (Up In Cell Block Number 9)”
Here's the great Ben E. King, ex-lead singer of the Drifters in their immortal Atlantic era, doing his signature hit, "Stand By Me"
Here's Ben E. King doing another of his greatest, "Spanish Harlem"
From Shindig 1964, the great Jay and the Americans in a very real live performance doing the very funny "Come A Little Bit Closer"
From the Mike Douglas Show in 1969, another live performance by Jay and the Americans of the iconic “Come A Little Bit Closer”
From 1959 on the Saturday Night Beech-Nut Show hosted by Dick Clark, here’s Wilbert Harrison in a live performance of “Kansas City”
And from 1964, here are the Beatles live on Shindig with Paul singing the lead on “Kansas City”
We'll close today with one of my faves when I was too young to mention. Here's Elvis in "Jailhouse Rock" doing the Leiber-Stoller hit, "(You're so square) Baby I Don't Care." For another great version, here's Buddy Holly doing "You're So Square (Baby I Don't Care)"
We'll close this birthday tribute with a live performance by Queen in 1986 at Wembley Stadium bopping a version of "You're So Square (Baby I Don't Care)"
You can check out both of these legendary songwriters at the official Leiber-Stoller website
You can check out more at the Mike Stoller site at the Songwriters Hall of Fame
Thanks for all the fabulous tunes across the decades, Mike! Glad you’re still with us. You are one of the immortals of rock and roll!
Copyright © 2014 Robert Wilkinson