Hound Dog - Leiber & Stoller Autobiography

Due for release from Simon and Schuster is the book "Hond Dog - The Leiber & Stoller Autobiography". The 336 pages book, illustrated with b/w photos, is written by the two songwriters and with David Ritz. It will hit the streets on June 9, 2009. (ISBN: 978-1-4165-5938-2).

From the press-release:

Hound Dog-  The Leiber & Stoller Autobiography

"Leiber and Stoller? There would be no rock and roll without them." -Paul Shaffer

"The golden days of rock 'n' roll flit by in this sprightly memoir by the celebrated songwriting duo.As arranged by collaborator Ritz, the authors harmonize well in their alternating reminiscences.[S]hort and sweet and catchy." -Publishers Weekly

"A revealing, accessible career overview of two of rock 'n' roll's primary architects. Informative and opinionated-a treasure trove for fans of rock music." -Kirkus Review

Legendary songwriters Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller were in the delivery room for the birth of rock and roll, yet as Stoller said the day they were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, "We never planned to write rock and roll. We just tried to write good rhythm & blues." Whatever it was they thought they were writing, this extraordinary team produced scores of hits, and was behind some of the greatest records of the 1950s and 60s-from Elvis Presley's recording of "Hound Dog" and The Coasters' "Charlie Brown" to Ben E. King's "Stand by Me" and The Drifters' "On Broadway."

In their joint memoir, HOUND DOG: The Leiber and Stoller Autobiography (Simon & Schuster; June 9, 2009; $25.00), written with David Ritz, these usic pioneers share the fascinating story of their wild ride in the usic industry. Both were born in 1933, Leiber in Baltimore, MD and toller in Queens, NY. Growing up in a rough, interracial neighborhood, eiber made after-school deliveries for his mother's grocery store. Soller, whose aunt was a concert pianist and whose mother had dated Gorge Gershwin, had a slightly more genteel upbringing. But both boys hared a common love for boogie-woogie and the blues, and when, at age senteen, their lives converged in Los Angeles, the pair began a collaboration that would produce the soundtrack for the Baby Boomers' adolecence.

Leiber and Stoller got their start writing the kind of blues-influenced music they revered. They began supplying songs for some of the top black artists on L.A.'s legendary independent labels, including Charles Brown, The Robins, Little Esther, Johnny Otis, and Little Willie Littlefield, for whom they wrote the now-classic "Kansas City." But it was a song they wrote for Willie Mae "Big Mama" Thornton that would change Leiber and Stoller's destiny. "Hound Dog" was originally a raw blues number filled with implicit sexual humor. But a few years later, a new singer named Elvis Presley recorded a hopped-up version that topped the charts. Suddenly, Leiber and Stoller were writing "rock and roll." They would later compose some more of the King's biggest hits, including "Jailhouse ock," which they wrote, along with three other songs for the movie, in one four-hour session.

From the start, Leiber and Stoller were more they just songwriters-"We didn't write songs, we wrote records," they said. Compelled, often out of artistic necessity, to supervise recording sessions, they became "record producers" before the term had even been invented. Working with such industry trailblazers as Ahmet Ertegun and Jerry Wexler, they oversaw classic recordings of their own songs, as well as songs written by others. Ensconced in the legendary Brill Building in New York, they nurtured the talent of up-and-coming songwriters like Jeff Barry and Ellie Greenwich, Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil, Burt Bacharach and Hal David, and Gerry Goffin and Carole King. They also worked with a young, eccentric, and extremely ambitious writer-producer named Phil Spector.

On the business side, Leiber and Stoller endured the constant volatility of the music industry, weathering myriad shady deals and the demise of numerous record labels they started. Through it all, they always returned to the music, pushing the boundaries of their talents to produce new tunes for ever-changing tastes. When the British Invasion threatened to kill off their brand of rock and roll, they had the last laugh with the Kurt Weill/Bertolt Brecht-style ballad "Is That All There Is?" that Peggy Lee took up the charts in the same year the Beatles' "Get Back" and the Rolling Stones' "Honky Tonk Women" were defining pop music. In the nineties, after years of struggling to write an original musical, their Smokey Joe's Café became a hit on Broadway, celebrating and renewing interest in Leiber and Stoller's unrivaled musical legacy.

In HOUND DOG, Leiber and Stoller share the details of their personal lives including their childhood difficulties, marriages-both failed and enduring-personal and professional friendships, children, and encounters with the rich, talented and famous-including Tennessee Williams, Chet Baker, and James Dean. Rich in anecdotes from the golden age in pop music, the autobiography of these two musical geniuses is a must-read for anyone who ever danced to a 45 record or sang along with a transistor radio.

About the Authors

Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller were inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1985 and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987. Smokey Joe's Café: The Songs of Leiber and Stoller opened in 1995 and became the longest-running musical revue in Broadway history.

David Ritz has worked with many celebrities, including Marvin Gaye, Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin, and B.B. King. He co-wrote the song "Sexual Healing" with Marvin Gaye and Odell Brown.

Source: Email / Updated: May 19, 2009 
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Reactions

sitdown68 (profilecontact) wrote on May 19, 2009report abuse
nevertheless, this is going to be a great summer vaccation read for many
Steve V (profilecontact) wrote on May 19, 2009report abuse
I think they are the greatest song writers for the early rock years, up thru the early 60's. Yes the last 45 years, not much but music has changed so much, if they wrote Jailhouse Rock today it probably would go un-noticed. Yes they try to be too hip at times, but always give their due to Elvis. I would like to read this book.
I am Buffalo-Horn! (profilecontact) wrote on May 19, 2009report abuse
Good in the late 50's & early 60's. But realistically in the last 45 years? Not a lot, unless you count "3 Corn Patches"! Also, for me as an Elvis fan, they have ruined themselves in interviews trying to be too hip & clever...
dgirl (profilecontact) wrote on May 19, 2009report abuse
I would want to read this for sure. Leiber/Stoller and Lennon/McCartney are the 2 greatest songwriting teams in history!

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