Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller wrote “Hound Dog”. Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller wrote “Charlie Brown”, “Spanish Harlem”, and “Stand by Me”. Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller wrote “Jailhouse Rock”. Now we are properly introduced to some of the numerous pop hits of the 1950s and 1960s composed by this industrious duo.
Each song has a neat polish to it but none aspires to become a standard in the fashion of songs by Cole Porter or Gershwin, whose crafted show tunes fed not only the pop charts but also served as standards for the jazz musicians to improvise upon. Far from it, Leiber and Stoller wrote songs whose structure relied upon the new music coming of age in the 1950s, rock ‘n roll. Perhaps the greatest merit of gems such as “Yakety Yak” is that they manage to capture glimpses of the time in which they were written.
In two acts where one song leads to another, without leaving the actors time to breathe, the play ‘Smokey Joe’s Caf