If Elvis Presley was the king of Rock and Roll, then songwriter Jerry Leiber and Mike Stroller were certainly two of the powers behind that throne. Elvis hits like Hound Dog, Loving You, and Jailhouse Rock, and the Coasters’ hits Searchin’, Young Blood, Yakety Yak, Charlie Brown, and Poison Ivy, were all written by Leiber and Stoller. Stoller was honored as a Stamps Distinguished Visitor during the 2009-2010 season at the University of Miami Frost School of Music for essentially defining Rock and Roll.
Leiber and Stoller’s partnership began in 1950 with their discovery of a mutual passion for Boogie Woogie and the Blues. Big Mama Thornton’s 1953 recording of their song, Hound Dog, caught the attention of Atlantic Records executives and in 1955, Atlantic signed the songwriting duo to their first independent production deal, forever changing the course of the record industry. During the next decades, they wrote and produced Stand By Me, There Goes My Baby, Dance With Me, Love Potion #9, I Keep Forgettin’, Ruby Baby, Kansas City, and many more enduring hits.
In 1995, Smokey Joe’s Café: The Songs of Leiber & Stoller opened on Broadway at the Virginia Theatre. Comprised of 40 songs, the show was nominated for seven Tony Awards and became the longest running musical revue in Broadway history.
Marking 60 years as a songwriting team in 201, Leiber and Stoller have been widely celebrated. They are members of the Songwriters and Rock and Roll Halls of Fame, and received stars on Hollywood Walk of Fame, a Grammy Award for Best Original Cast Album for Smokey Joe’s Café, the Johnny Mercer Award, and the Ivor Novello International Songwriters Award. Simon & Schuster also recently published their story, Hound Dog: The Leiber and Stoller Autobiography.