LEIBER AND STOLLER, U.S. songwriters and music producers whose combination of rhythm and blues with pop lyrics revolutionized pop and rock & roll; members of the Songwriters' Hall of Fame, the Record Producers' Hall of Fame, and the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. JERRY LEIBER (1933– ) was born one of three children to immigrants from Poland, where his father, Abraham, had been a cantor. Leiber grew up in Baltimore raised by his mother, Manya, after his father died when he was five. Leiber delivered kerosene and coal from his mother's grocery store to black families, and that is where he first heard the music of the neighborhood, the blues, that would change his life. MIKE STOLLER (1933– ) was born 18 days after Leiber in Belle Harbor, New York, to Abraham, a draftsman, and Adelyn, a model and actress. Stoller discovered black music at age seven, when he attended an integrated summer camp. Both families moved after World War II to Los Angeles, where Leiber and Stoller met in 1950 while they were students at Fairfax High School. They discovered they had a lot in common – they were white, Jewish, ex-East Coast teenagers who shared a passion for rhythm and blues, so they began writing songs together, with Leiber writing the words and Stoller the music.   Though they were hardly the only white songwriters to break the barriers of segregation in their music, they were, arguably, the best. Their first mega-hit was the 1956 classic "Hound Dog" recorded by 21-year-old Elvis Presley, which sold about seven million copies and stayed at No. 1 on the Billboard charts for 11 weeks (no record has held the No. 1 spot for that length of time since). They were responsible for many of the pop hits of Presley, who recorded 24 of their songs, as well as for the Coasters, the Drifters, and others. Over 200 of their compositions were recorded between 1951 and 1972, including 24 chart hits by the Robins/Coasters alone, and were sung by a who's who of rock, from the Beatles to Buddy Holly. Among their other top-10 hits were Elvis Presley's "Jailhouse Rock" (1957, No. 1) and "Don't" (1958, No. 1); The Coasters' "Yakety Yak" (1958, No. 1) and "Charlie Brown" (1959, No. 2); Wilbert Harrison's "Kansas City" (1959, No. 1); The Drifters' "There Goes My Baby" (1959, No. 2) and "On Broadway" (1963, No. 9), and Ben E. King's "Stand by Me" (1961, No. 4). Other hits written or produced include "Only in America," "Spanish Harlem," "Love Potion No. 9," "Poison Ivy," "Save the Last Dance for Me," "Leader of the Pack," "Chapel of Love," and Peggy Lee's "Is That All There Is?" which won a Grammy Award in 1969. Leiber and Stoller's singular contribution was to take rhythm and blues from the ghetto into mainstream America, and thereby create pop classics that transcended musical and racial categories. They were among the first to use strings on R\&B records, and through such tunes as "Spanish Harlem" they were among the first to introduce Latin rhythms to rock 'n' roll. Their work was the transition between R\&B and rock, and aside from Lennon and McCartney, no songwriting team has done more to enrich the rock canon. "We crawled inside the skins of our characters," said Leiber. "We related to the guys in the singing groups, and the result was a cross-cultural phenomenon: a white kid's take on a black kid's take on white society." Among the many artists and writers they influenced while serving as the last legion of songwriters and producers of Tin Pan Alley was a young phil spector , who learned production techniques while assisting and playing on their sessions. In 1995, a Broadway musical called Smoky Joe's Café was staged based on their work, which became an international success and won a Grammy Award for cast album. The duo was inducted into the Songwriters' Hall of Fame (1985), the Record Producers' Hall of Fame (1986), and the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame (1987), and in 1991, they received the Founder's Award from the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (ASCAP). Leiber and Stoller also have a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Hound Dog's Life: Gospel, Half-Truths, Rumors, and Outrageous Lies (1996) was written by Leiber with Bob Spitz, and the pair are the subject of a biography by Robert Palmer, Baby, That Was Rock and Roll: The Legendary Leiber and Stoller (1978). -BIBLIOGRAPHY: S.R. Benarde, Stars of David: Rock 'n' Roll's Jewish Stories, (2003), 18–20. (Elli Wohlgelernter (2nd ed.)

Encyclopedia Judaica. 1971.

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