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Legendary Lyricist Jerry Leiber Dies at 78

Jerry Leiber, the wordsmith behind such rock classics as “Hound Dog,” ”Jailhouse Rock,” and “Love Potion No. 9,” passed away this morning at Cedars-Sinai after a long illness.

Leiber, along with his songwriting partner Mike Stoller, wrote a long list of hit songs and left a lasting influence on rock n’ roll. Their songs were recorded by musical heavyweights such as Elvis Presley, Peggy Lee, Edith Piaf, Little Richard, the Beatles, and Jerry Lee Lewis. Together with Ben E. King, the duo co-wrote the 1961 hit “Stand by Me,” which has since been recorded by hundreds of artists. No offense to Jimi Hendrix, but we prefer the original King version.

More about the duo from the LA Times:

Their writing prowess and influence over the recording industry as pioneering independent producers earned them induction into the non-performer category of 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 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum. “Jerry not only wrote the words that everyone was singing, he led the way in how we verbalized our feelings about the societal changes we were living with in post-World War II life. Appropriately, his vehicles of choice were the emerging populist musical genres of rhythm and blues and then rock and roll.”

The pair met in Los Angeles when they were teenagers, and maintained an amiable working relationship for the length of their careers. They published an autobiography in 2009. Mike Stoller currently lives in the Hollywood Hills.

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