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by World Music Network August 24, 2011


Songwriter Jerry Leiber dies aged 78

leiberJerry Leiber, the American songwriter responsible for mammoth hits such as Elvis Presley's 'Hound Dog' and Ben E. King's 'Stand By Me' passed away of cardiopulmonary failure on 2 August, aged 78.

Leiber was the lyrical half of a prolific composing duo alongside Mike Stoller (pictured above, left). Their songs revolutionised the face of popular music and rock and roll in the years following WWII, facilitating the 'crossover' of rhythm and blues and jazz into mainstream popular culture. 

The pair's career began in 1953 when Willie Mae 'Big Mamma' Thorntonrecorded the then rhythm and blues styled 'Hound Dog', which earned even greater success in 1956 when reinvented as a rock and roll standard by Elvis Presley. 

They earned fifteen number one hits throughout their partnership, and also secured a spot in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987.

'The music world lost today one of its greatest poet laureates,' said Terry Stewart, president of the Hall of Fame and Museum, in Cleveland, Ohio.

'Jerry not only wrote the words that everyone was singing, he led the way in how we verbalised our feelings about the societal changes we were living with in post-World War II life.'