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Hound Dog

3.59 of 5 stars 3.59  ·  rating details  ·  85 ratings  ·  21 reviews
From "Hound Dog" and "Stand by Me," to "Yakety Yak" and "Kansas City," Leiber and Stoller composed the soundtrack of the 1950s and 1960s. They set records--in four hours they wrote four songs that became #1 hits. Their story is also the story of rock 'n' roll--and a trend-setting era they helped to create. - Their own story: Both were born in 1933--Leiber in Baltimore, Sto ...more
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published June 9th 2009 by Simon & Schuster (first published May 23rd 2009)
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There are plenty of books about rock and roll. I have read more than a few autobiographies that don't merit an afterlife. This book is different.

You can read in other reviews how important Lieber and Stoller are to the the birth and development of this musical genre. If they didn't invent it, they were around at its inception. How these two found each other and clicked for decades of partnership is remarkable in itself. But that wouldn't raise this to the four star level.

I liked the format of di
Jul 07, 2014 Jay rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: music
Enjoyable anecdotes alternating between the two songwriters. I learned quite a few odd things along the way, like the way the Drifters were duplicated, and how the Brill Building worked. You really get a lot about the creative process of Leiber and Stoller, but it seems that when they were writing or producing they just came up with stuff -- no sharing of their magic formula here. This one doesn't get down in the weeds of how much they made on each song, but there is some bragging about how high ...more
Nov 16, 2010 Chris rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Fans of early rock and roll music
Good book and a light read celebrating one of the greatest song writing partnerships in the history of music. Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller played a major roll in the creation of Rock and Roll, although at the time they didn’t realize the impact they would eventually have. They just did what they loved and created magic. Written very fast and loose, like their song-writing style, the book focuses primarily on the origins of their biggest hits and also discusses their blues and jazz influences. I ...more
Aug 01, 2009 Robert rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: music lovers
Recommended to Robert by: reviews
This autobiography is told in a unique style: Lieber and Stoller (L&S) take turns narrating their take on the same subjects. It is very informal which makes for a quick read. I liked it. As for the content, this is for anyone who grew up listening to pop (and blues) radio in the 50's 60's and 70's. L&S were all over the charts while writing monster hits for Elvis (Hound Dog), of course, the Drifters, the Coasters, Peggy Lee, and many many others. Also, the story of both L&S is quite ...more
Jim Thomas
You didn't really think Elvis was a songwriter, did you? This is the story of the guys who wrote songs that changed Rock and Roll. Early R&R before the British Invasion. Remember the Coasters and their songs Yakety Yak, Three Cool Cats, Poison Ivy, Along Came Jones. Yes, Leiber and Stoller wrote most of their hits plus songs like Kansas City, Is That All There Is, and Ben E. King's unforgettable hit, Stand by Me. They were there when it was all happening' and Rock and Roll would have not bee ...more
Nick Duretta
This was enjoyable mostly for the reminiscences of encounters with legendary musical figures such as Elvis, Peggy Lee and many others. Leiber and Mike Stoller were two of the main forces driving the birth of rock-and-roll in the 1950s, and remained active up through Leiber's death earlier this year. The book is told in alternating recollections of the two men, who sustained a close personal and working relationship with each other for more than 60 years, while wrestling with failed marriages, pr ...more
Great look back on the roots of rock 'n roll from the guys who arguably were some of its founders. When you start reading the list of the songs they wrote and whose performed them, you just have to be amazed at the talent of these guys. Yeah, they were into the whole drug, booze, sex scene just like the performers themselves; heck, they essentially were performers. The book gives an insight into how the songs came about and the whole process of how they became hits. Sad in some respects when you ...more
Interesting read - especially if you have interest in learning what motivates (and inspires) song writers. I was especially interested to learn of Leiber and Stoller's roots in the blues. I love Big Mama Thorton's version of Hound Dog so it was cool to read how they wrote the song for her and even helped her with the production. The book goes back and forth between Leiber and Stoller - I know that is irritating for some, but I enjoyed reading the different perspectives. It is a really quick read ...more
I am a huge Elvis fan so I was curious about this book. I was surprised how lightweight it was. Not a whole lot of insight into their lives. Just quick little vignettes of personalities and moments in their career. No look into their lives. I learned nothing new about Elvis. They took an underhanded shot at him which they didn't need to do. But what was their reaction when he died? They never mention that. Because of recent events with Phil Specter I found that section interesting. But it was ve ...more
These guys wrote A LOT of great songs in the early years of rock 'n roll / R&B.
Pamela Okano
Aug 17, 2009 Pamela Okano rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: anyone who loves classic rock and R&B
I'd give it a 3.5 if I could. This is a series of short vignettes, some by Leiber, some by Stoller, about their lives and career. These were the masters of classic rock and populizers of R&B. Their talents were wide ranging. Would you believe that the same guys who wrote Poison Ivy and Charlie Brown also co-wrote Stand by Me and wrote Is That All There Is? A quick, enjoyable read.
Jourdan Zambrano
I love learning about collaborative, professional relationships, and it was especially fun to read of the fruitful partnership between Leiber and Stoller. Lots of breakthrough, memorable music and musicians are noted in this book (including Elvis), and it was amazing to learn of the stories surrounding these beloved songs. A very good read for any non fiction, music-loving reader.
This is, as others have noted, a fairly lightweight, anecdote-driven, official-story take on the great songwriting and producing team. But it's also pretty entertaining stuff that offers a sense of two Jewish East Coast kids driven nuts by blues and jazz helped change the sound of America. The great L&S biography remains to be written, but this isn't bad.
Peter Ash
Each anecdote is better than the next one. James Dean, George Gershwin, Norman Mailer, Elvis, Big Mama Thornton, The Coasters --an unbelievable lineup here. But Lieber and Stoller might be the biggest characters of all. Hey, they were there at the birth of rock, which I guess, gives you some serious credentials.
Rick Segers
I got this book as a gift from daughter. She knew I was a fan of their work. It's a great insight into the talents and lives of these prolific songwriters. A must read for fans of rock and pop music.
A fun book. Amazing library of songs that I loved while knowing nothing of the writers. Nice to know the back story of these two "kids" who started so much with little training and lots of passion.
I was intrigued by the story of these creators of so many popular songs, but found the style too choppy and disconnected, almost like reading an unedited diary with conversations thrown in.
Great fun even if you don't know all the characters. How could any book that uses "cats" and "hip" in it's dialogue not be a fun read?
Bob Lake
If you enjoyed 50s or 60s r&b, you'll enjoy this book. A review I read, however, took issue with the facts as described by the authors.
Terry Dullum
It would make sense that two great songwriters would write their autobiography together, and it's a good one.
If you grew up in the 50's listening to Rock & Roll, this is a book that will fascinate you.
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Everybody's Pickin' on Leiber & Stoller: Legends of Acoustic Guitar Salute the Legendary Songwriters A Hound Dog's Life: Gospel, Half-Truths, Rumors, and Outrageous Lies Stand By Me Is That All There Is? Charlie Brown

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