Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Jerry Leiber and Nick Ashford RIP

The world of music is a poorer place today with the deaths of two of the greatest songwriters of the rock era - Jerry Leiber at the age of 78, and Nick Ashford (70).
Jerry Leiber, along with partner Mike Stoller, can claim to be one half of the greatest songwriting team of the rock era, with a string of classic R and B songs going back to the early fifties, including K C Lovin' for Little Willie Littlefield, later renamed Kansas City and a hit for Wilbert Harrison, and Hound Dog, recorded by Big Mama Thornton and turned into a huge smash by Elvis. Other Leiber and Stoller songs recorded by Elvis included King Creole, Loving You, Baby I Don't Care, Don't, Jailhouse Rock, Love Me and She's Not You. Their work for Atlantic records produced literally dozens of songs for the Coasters (Charlie Brown, Poison Ivy, Searchin', Three Cool Cats, Yakety Yak, Young Blood and many others), the Drifters (Ruby Baby, There Goes My Baby, On Broadway), the Robins (Smokey Joe's Cafe, Riot in Cell Block #9), Ruth Brown (Lucky Lips), the Clovers (Love Potion Number 9) and Ben E King (Stand By Me, Spanish Harlem and I Who Have Nothing). Later work for United Artists included She Cried (Jay and the Americans) and Tell Him (The Exciters). In 1965 they formed Red Bird records which issued records by the Shangri-Las, Alvin Robinson and the Dixie Cups. Other songs included Pearl's a Singer for Elkie Brooks, Is That All There Is? for Peggy Lee and Stuck In the Middle With You for Stealers Wheel.http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/2011/aug/23/jerry-leiber-dies-78
Nick Ashford was also part of a great songwriting duo with his wife Valerie Simpson. Early hits included One Step At A Time for Maxine Brown and Let's Go Get Stoned for Ray Charles, but their real success as songwriters was at Motown, where they wrote Ain't No Mountain High Enough, You're All I Need To Get By and Ain't Nothing Like The Real Thing for Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell. They also wrote songs for Diana Ross, Gladys Knight, Smokey Robinson and the Miracles and the Marvelettes and, later, for Teddy Pendergrass and Chaka Khan. Both Ashford and Simpson also had success as recording artists, together (Solid as a Rock) and separately.



At 1:24 pm , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lieber & Stoller produced two albums for Elkie Brooks. "Two Days Away" 1977 and " Live and Learn 1979.

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