Jerry Leiber was the lyric writing half of a massively successful song writing partnership with Mike Stoller. They wrote a number of songs which were recorded by Elvis Presley; notably “Hound Dog” and “Jailhouse Rock”. It has been alleged that they never liked Presley’s version of “Hound Dog” and preferred the first recording of the song by Willie Mae “Big Mama” Thornton from 1953. They wrote one of my favourite songs, “Stand By Me” which was a massive hit for Ben E King and has also been covered by many other artists. They also had success with King’s old band the Drifters and the Coasters. Leiber died from a cardiopulmonary disorder aged 78, which by todays standards isn’t that old any more. RIP Jerry Leiber our thoughts go out to your family, friends and fans across the world.
Nick Ashford forged a very successful career as a songwriter in partnership with his equally talented wife Valerie Simpson. The pair are probably most famous for the songs that they wrote for Motown, including the classics “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” and “Ain’t Nothing Like The Real Thing”. They also crafted Diana Ross’s hit “Reach Out And Touch (Somebody’s Hand)” But they also had success away from Motown; Chaka Khan recorded their song “I’m Every Woman”, another of my favourites. They also had a hit in their own right with their song “Solid”. The couple also have a co writing credit on Amy Winehouse’s “Tears Dry On Their Own” which samples “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough”. Nick died from cancer aged just 70, the age my Dad was when he passed away. RIP Nick Ashford our thoughts go out to your family, friends and fans across the world.
I will try and counter that sad news with something a little happier. I really am disappointed that I am a little late with this, but four days ago on August 19th, my favourite singer* Johnny Nash turned 71. Happy belated birthday Mr Nash! I want to know when all his albums will get a proper CD release. I have about 12 of his albums on vinyl and only three on CD, not including hits packages. Texan born Johnny I believe now resides in Jamaica. I will now have to go and listen to my favourite Nash album ‘My Merry Go-Round’ in celebration.
*OK joint favourite with David Bowie then!