From the Land of Band Box Records

The British Invasion: Jerry Leiber

September 5, 2011

MIke Stoller (piano) Jerry Leiber keeping time

Jerry Leiber passed away on August 22 this year.  Many tributes closely followed with many more to come.  Jerry and his life long song writing partner, Mike Stoller – both East Coast boys – found each other on the West Coast as teenagers.  I suspect that if Jerry could comment now on his career – it would have focused on those early years when the two teenagers were in fact establishing themselves – not as prime time rock and roll composers – but as bona fide rhythm and blues penmen.  Jerry and Mike were both 17 years old when they boldly walked into the R&B label recording studio and offered their services.  They penned the song “That’s What the Good Book Says” which was soon recorded by the Robins (1951)  They were asked what else they had to offer and they said nothing but could come up with something in a few minutes.

In short order they presented “Real Ugly Woman” which would be given to Jimmy Witherspoon.  Next was “Hard Times” which would rise to number 7 on the R&B charts by Charles Brown.  This would be followed by “Nosey Joe” which was given to Bullmoose Jackson.  Then, still teenagers, they got their first huge break, with their introduction to Johnny Otis.  Big Mama Thornton was in his stable of R&B performers.  For her they penned “Hound Dog” which rose all the way to number 1 on the R&B charts (they were 18 years old).  During the same period of time they quickly penned “Kansas City” which was given to Little Willie Littlefield – and would later go all the way to number 1 by Wilbert Harrison (1959) on the Pop Charts.

In all, the duo would pen more than 300 songs recorded by every imaginable recording act!

Leiber and Stoller & The Invaders

Here is a quick list I located – of Leiber and Stoller tunes:

“Along Came Jones” (original Coasters #9/1959) – The Overlanders; “Bad Blood” (original Coasters) – The Paramounts; “Brother Bill” – The Animals; “The Climb” (original The Kingsmen #53/1965) – The Federals; “Dance with Me” (orignal The Drifters #15/1959) – Billy J. Kramer; “Don’t” (original Elvis #1/1958) – Cliff Richard & Shadows; “Down Home Girl” – The Liverbirds – The Rolling Stones; “Down in Mexico” – The Boston Crabs; “Girls, Girls, Girls” (original Elvis) – The Fourmost; “Hound Dog” (original Elvis #2/1956) – Chris Farlowe & Thunderbirds – Heinz & the Wild Boys; “I Who Have Nothing” (original Ben E. King #29/1963) – The Searchers – The Spectres; “I’m a Hog for You” (original The Coasters #38/1959) – Marty Wild & the Wild Men; “Jailhouse Rock” (orignal Elvis #1/1957) – The Animals; “Kansas City” (original Wilbert Harrison #1/1959) – The Beatles – Spencer Davis Group – Animals; “Little Egypt” (original Coasters #23/1961) – Lee Curtis All Stars; “Love Potion Number 9” (original Clovers #23/1059) – Searchers – Wayne Fontana & Mindbenders – Casey Jones & Governors; “Loving You” (original Elvis #28/1957) – Dave Clark Five – Billy Fury; “Lucky Lips” (orignal Ruth Brown #26/1957) – Cliff Richard & Shadows – “On the Horizon” – Mark Leeman Five – Johnny Sandon & Remo Four; “Poison Ivy” (original Coasters #7/1959) – Five Liverpools – Dave Clark Five – Hollies – Manfred Mann – Rolling Stones; “Ruby Baby” (original Dion #2/1963) – Beatles; “Saved” (original Lavern Baker #37/1961) – Billy Fury;“Searchin” (original Coasters #5/1957) – Beatles – Spencer Davis Group – Hollies; “Some Other Guy” – Beatles – Big Three – Freddie & Dreamers – Wayne Fontana & Mindbenders – Johnny Kidd & Pirates – Billy Thorpe & Aztecs – Searchers; “Spanish Harlem” (original Ben E. King #10/1960) – Rattles – Sounds Incorporated; “That’s Rock & Roll” – Rattles; “There Goes My Baby” (original Drifters #2/1959) – Joe Cocker – Walker Brothers; “Three Cool Cats” (orignal Coasters) – Beatles; “What About Us” (original Coasters $47/1959 – Undertakers; “Youngblood” (original Coasters #8/1957) – Beatles – Wayne Fontana & Mindbenders; “Yakety Yak” (orignal Coasters #1/1958) – Fourmost


(Top L/R) Undertakers; Liverbirds; The Big Three (Middle L/R) Billy Thorpe & Aztecs; Casey Jones & Governors (Bottom L/R); Rattles; Johnny Kidd & Pirates


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