London: Jerry Leiber, the songwriter who penned the lyrics for Elvis Presley’s classic rock and roll hits including ‘Hound Dog’ and ‘Jailhouse Rock’ died Monday at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles of cardiopulmonary failure. He was 78.
Leiber earned his reputation alongside co-writer Mike Stoller, penning tunes for The Drifters, The Coasters and Ben E King as well as Presley.
Leiber`s career began in 1953 when Willie Mae “Big Mama” Thornton became the first artist to record Hound Dog, sending the song - then a rhythm and blues number - to the top of the charts.
The song later became an even more successful hit record for Elvis Presley, who reinvented it as a rock and roll classic.
The pair also crafted the enduring Ben E King hit Stand By Me, seen by critics as one of their most influential and enduring songs.
Leiber and Stoller``s work as a songwriting duo earned 15 number one hits and secured them both entry into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, in 1987.
“The music world lost today one of its greatest poet laureates,” the BBC quoted Terry Stewart, president of the Hall of Fame and Museum, in Cleveland, Ohio, as saying.
“Jerry not only wrote the words that everyone was singing, he led the way in how we verbalised 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,” he said.