Songwriter Jerry Leiber dead at 78

By Hillary Johns,

Jerry Leiber, who co-wrote songs that shaped the rock ’n’ roll scene of the 1950s, died Monday at Cedars-Senai Medical Center of cardiopulmonary failure. He was 78.

Along with his songwriting partner, Mike Stoller, the duo was best known for writing hits for black artists like the Clovers, the Drifters, the Cheers, the Robins, and the Coasters. He was behind tracks like “Love Potion No. 9,” “Ruby Baby,” “Smokey Joe’s Café,” “Riot in Cell Block No. 9,” Yakety Yak,” and “Poison Ivy.”

Their songwriting produced 15 No. 1 hits. Barbra Streisand, Aretha Franklin, the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Willie Nelson, Frank Sinatra, Joni Mitchel, James Taylor, and Otis Redding were among those who brought their songs to life.

The two also played a big part in launching the career of Elvis Presley with “Hound Dog” and “Jailhouse Rock.” Presley brought the songs of Leiber and Stoller into the mainstream.

Leiber was survived by his three children, Jed, Oliver and Jake, and two grandchildren, Chloe and Daphne.

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