Jerry Leiber, 1933-2011

Years ago the Leiber/Stoller production of Smokey Joe’s Cafe came to town. I met with Mike Stoller and had the pleasure of introducing him at the Centre for the Performing Arts. Jerry Leiber was in poor health at the time and could not make the trip.

I hit it off with Mike, so much so, he invited Carole and me to the Rhythm and Blues Foundation dinner held at the Sony movie studios in L.A. There we met Natalie Cole, Ed Bradley from CBS’ 60 Minutes, Lloyd Price and a host of R&B greats. The host for the evening was Jerry Butler. It was a wonderful red-carpet show. Some folks were surprised at my table when Mike Stoller came over with his son to say hello. They all said “You know Leiber & Stoller?” It impressed them.

Their legacy is the fantastic R&B-soaked music they wrote, from Hound Dog by Elvis to Is That All There Is by Peggy Lee.  A rich list of memorable hits. And a truly memorable songwriting team. The two defined an era, and with Jerry’s passing we have lost a true icon.

Read the complete L.A. Times story here.

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