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Offline Bitter

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Two great American songwriters die
« on: August 23, 2011, 07:46:37 AM »
Two great American songwriters die
Tributes pour in for Jerry Leiber, the man who wrote Hound Dog, and Motown songwriter Nick Ashford.

By Martin Chilton, Digital Culture Editor10:51AM BST 23 Aug 2011
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/music/music-news/8717601/Two-great-American-songwriters-die.html

It's a day to remember and mourn two greats in the art of popular songwriting.
Jerry Leiber, who co-wrote such memorable hits as Hound Dog, Jailhouse Rock and Stand By Me, died at the age of 78.

Tributes were pouring in to Leiber but also to Motown composer Nick Ashford, who was part of a superb songwriting duo with his wife Valerie Simpson. They created such songs such as Ain't No Mountain High Enough, You're All I Need to Get By and the Ray Charles classic Let's Go Get Stoned.

Leiber, who died at Cedars-Sinai Medical Centre in Los Angeles of cardiopulmonary failure at the age of 78, was the better known, having partnered with composer Mike Stoller to write iconic hits made famous by Elvis Presley.

Leiber, the son of Jewish immigrants from Poland born and raised in Baltimore, should be remembered for more than just Hound Dog and Jailhouse Rock. He wrote more than 200 songs which were covered by such recording stars as Buddy Holly, the Beatles, Frank Sinatra, the Rolling Stones, James Brown, B.B. King, the Drifters and Peggy Lee. Presley alone recorded over 20 Leiber and Stoller songs.

Leiber jokingly referred to their six-decade partnership as "the longest-running argument in show business."
Stoller, 78, said: "He was my friend, my buddy, my writing partner for 61 years. He had a way with words. There was nobody better. I'm going to miss him."

Among their other brilliant songs were Poison Ivy and an especially fine and enduring song called Stand By Me, which they co-wrote with singer Ben E. King.

Their big breakthrough, Hound Dog, originally topped the "race" music charts as a rhythm and blues single by Willie Mae 'Big Mamma' Thornton in 1953, three years before Presley turned a somewhat sanitised version into a rock 'n' roll classic.
They were also instrumental in the success of the Coasters by writing and producing playful hits for the doo-wop act, including Yakety Yak, Charlie Brown and Along Came Jones.

They certainly didn't suffer from writer's block. In a single day, the pair composed four songs that ended up on the soundtrack to the 1957 Presley movie Jailhouse Rock the title track, its B-side single Treat Me Nice, I Want to be Free and (You're So Square) Baby I Don't Care. Leiber once said: "Irving Berlin was the greatest songwriter of all time . . I was in awe of him. But his music wasn't my music. My music was the blues."
Leiber grew up in an era when songwriters had to protect themselves from sharp practises in the music industry. He once told an anecdote about dealing with Presley's manager Colonel Parker, recalling in an interview with Inside Tracks:

"I received a special delivery letter from Colonel Parker (Elvis' manager) with a note saying, 'Dear Jerry, we expect you here by the weekend. Enclosed you'll find your contract for the new movie score and the recording sessions that are to follow.'

However, behind the cover letter was this blank page with just the space outlined for Parker and I to sign and date. There was no contract!

So, I spoke with him on the phone and when I pointed out to him that there had been a mistake he said, 'What mistake?' I said, 'Well there's a page for the signatures but I don't see any contract.' He said, 'That's the contract!' I said, 'Tom, there's nothing written on the page.'

He said, 'Well, boy, you just sign it. We'll fill it in later!'

Leiber's genius should be remembered. We should also mourn the loss of someone as talented as Ashford, who died from throat cancer at the age of 70 in New York. He co-wrote some of Motown's biggest hits.
Ashford, who met his wife in church, wrote with his wife the hits Ain't No Mountain High Enough, Reach Out And Touch Somebody's Hand (made famous by Diana Ross) and I'm Every Woman, which was a hit for Chaka Khan and later for Whitney Houston.

Ashford and Simpson are also credited as co-writers on Amy Winehouse's track, Tears Dry On Their Own, which contains a sample from Ain't No Mountain High Enough.

Leiber and Ashford should rightly be honoured, in their own different ways, as two greats of American popular songwriting.
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Offline ribbit

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Re: Two great American songwriters die
« Reply #1 on: August 23, 2011, 08:02:42 AM »
wow, ah just heard "solid as a rock" on a retro station the other day. motown real produce talent eh.

Offline pecan

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Re: Two great American songwriters die
« Reply #2 on: August 23, 2011, 03:46:52 PM »
wow, ah just heard "solid as a rock" on a retro station the other day. motown real produce talent eh.

I have that LP in a milk crate in the basement.

RIP Ashford
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Offline Deeks

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Re: Two great American songwriters die
« Reply #3 on: August 23, 2011, 05:53:41 PM »
RIP Ashford and leiber. i am not too familiar with Leiber, but he did cowrote some real iconic songs, especially for my generation. What can we say about Ashford and Simpson. Talent, pure talent. Rest in peace Soul Man!!!

Offline kicker

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Re: Two great American songwriters die
« Reply #4 on: August 24, 2011, 01:41:36 PM »
Those songs mentioned by Ashford were more than just good songs but they were iconic in the sense of the unifying & empowering messages they conveyed across the Afro American community...They will always be classics for that reason.
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Offline Dutty

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Re: Two great American songwriters die
« Reply #5 on: August 25, 2011, 07:24:05 AM »
Had no idea Ashford writin them big hits for so long....now wonder he keep he manage to keep da perm so fresh and clean for decades
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Re: Two great American songwriters die
« Reply #6 on: August 25, 2011, 07:53:55 AM »
Had no idea Ashford writin them big hits for so long....now wonder he keep he manage to keep da perm so fresh and clean for decades

lol yuh is ah rel ass...hahahahaha

Offline weary1969

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Re: Two great American songwriters die
« Reply #7 on: August 25, 2011, 12:00:21 PM »
Had no idea Ashford writin them big hits for so long....now wonder he keep he manage to keep da perm so fresh and clean for decades

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