Old Hound Dogs Leiber & Stoller up to new tricks

Thu Jun 18, 2009 3:03pm EDT
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By Dean Goodman

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - If Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller had not become two of the most influential songwriters in pop music, they could have earned a decent living as a stand-up comedy duo.

Almost 60 years after an awkward first meeting that set them on the road to vast fame and fortune through such tunes as "Hound Dog," "Jailhouse Rock," "Stand By Me" and "Poison Ivy," the pair have developed a finely honed routine.

Stoller supplies the anecdotes, and Leiber, the lyricist, injects the spicy wit. The system worked well for their new memoir, "Hound Dog: The Leiber and Stoller Autobiography," in which the boogie-woogie boys trade old war stories.

In a recent conversation with Reuters, the 76-year-old Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees were asked if the project exposed divergent, Rashomon-style memories of the same event.

"Constantly, all the time," said Stoller. "That's because I have a very good memory. And he doesn't."

"But I have a very fertile imagination," countered Leiber.

"You bet," replied Stoller.

"And that makes up for what I cannot remember," Leiber concluded.   Continued...

<p>Song writers Mike Stoller (L) and Jerry Leiber arrive at the 25th Annual ASCAP Pop Music Awards at the Kodak theatre in Hollywood, California, April 9, 2008. REUTERS/Danny Moloshok</p>