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Week 4: GASP 31 Critical Popular Music Studies

by: Joseph Lim

Week 4: GASP 31 Critical Popular Music Studies ARTS 031

Marketplace > University of California - Merced > Arts and Humanities > ARTS 031 > Week 4 GASP 31 Critical Popular Music Studies
Joseph Lim

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About this Document

These notes goes over an interview by Stoller and Leiber and their story of how they were influenced by music and the people they had connections with to their success.
Critical Popular Music Studies
Emily Gale
Class Notes
Music History, R&B
25 ?




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This 4 page Class Notes was uploaded by Joseph Lim on Wednesday September 14, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to ARTS 031 at University of California - Merced taught by Emily Gale in Fall 2016. Since its upload, it has received 3 views. For similar materials see Critical Popular Music Studies in Arts and Humanities at University of California - Merced.

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Date Created: 09/14/16
Leiber and Stoller Interview Notes  Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller  o Traditional blues was merged by white culture to produce rock and roll in which  these two helped to create. o “Hound Dog” (1952) was the record they produced which epitomized rock’s  genealogy from black R&B to mainstream rock via the cover of a white  performer, Elvis Presley. o They joined Atlantic Records as the first ever independent producers after their  songs were not produced correctly by others and losing their short lived company  in the early fifties.  o Wrote and produced the funniest rock records for the Coasters and produced the  most advanced and beautiful pop records for the Drifters. o Lester Sill was their mentor and told them to take Phil Spector as their  Apprentice.  Together they produced many pop classics in the early sixties.  They now write for Broadway.   How they met o They met in Fairfax High School in Los Angles. o Leiber wanted to write songs, but the drummer lost interest and recommended  him to talk to Stoller who wasn’t interested either.  Stoller’s Interest in Jazz and Modern Classical o Was into Charlie Parker and Thelonious Monk and Dizzy.  o Through modern jazz, he got interested in Stravinsky and Bartok.  Stoller’s Piano Lessons o At age 10­11, he took piano lessons with James P Johnson where Leiber showed  that his lyrics were blues in structure.   Twelve­bar structure of a line, ditto marls, and rhyming line.   Leiber’s Interest in Rhythm and Blues  o Worked in a record shop of Fairfax Ave. where he was exposed to boogie­woogie as a kid in Baltimore. His mom had a grocery store in the border of a black ghetto.  Black Culture o Stoller was heavily influenced by black culture when he heard black kids playing  the piano in a barn where they played boogie­woogie at a summer camp.  o Tried to emulate what he heard.  o Leiber states they tried to imitate certain sounds in which found they were the  performers.  o Leiber felt like he lived in a black existence in which he felt alienated from his  own culture and tried searching for something else.   Had little thought of his family’s tradition in which his father died when  he was five and his mother was a refugee from Poland.  o Stoller’s family on the other hand was supportive.   He felt thought alienated from his white peers and which he felt there was  something special of the music he heard that was created by black people.   He went into a social club in Harlem when he was 13 or 14. o Leiber was accepted in the black community right away, part of his mother’s  doing.  o Leroi Jones stated that Stoller amd Leiber were the only authentic black voices in  pop music.   Separation of Black and White o Stoller didn’t believe the separation of black and white  Blacks were not being accepted into the bigger ocean in which they could  have thrived. They were not exposed to a wider audience.   Working as Songwriters o They played songs on an upright piano where Stoller played riffs and Leiber  would shout out lines like automatic writing. o Used to make songs by writing the music first and then writing the words where  both Stoller and Leiber exchanged roles. Their early songs were written as if  improvised. o They were familiar with different styles of black music but were unfamiliar with  many other forms.   Wrote records as if they were like newspapers that didn’t last long.   They thought all standards had already been written and thought their  songs would not have any lasting value.   Didn’t think they were in the league of musicians like Cole Porter.  o Leiber made account that the greatest compliment he received was from Johnny  Mercer saying that he finally wrote a good song. “Is That All There Is?” o Stoller no longer works in the format of the traditional three or four chords blues  that they used to work in.   Lester Sill  o Introuduced Leiber and Stoller to everybody like the Bihari Brothers of Modern  Records, the Mesner brothers who owned Aladdin, and Ralph Bass.  o Took them to New York and introduced them to Ralph Bass, who was with King  and Federal Records. They moved to California and worked with them there. o Lester was the national sales promotion man for Modern Records. \ o They met when Lester went into Norty’s Record Shop to check the sales on  certain records.   Leiber talked to him and he was asked what he wanted to do with his life.  He was interested in becoming a songwriter and sang Lester some lyrics. o He introduced them to Gene Norman who was a disc jockey who had an annual  blues jamboree at the Shrine Auditorium.   They had one songs performed at the concert which was “Real Ugly  Women” which was their first public performance.  o They played and sang their songs to record company owners and if they were  accepted, teach them to the artist.   K.C. Loving o Originally called “Kansas Loving” but Ralph Bass changed the title. o It is a twelve bar blues but a melodic one as opposed to a traditional blues  melody.  o People thought the song was traditional and Stoller thinks they had written  something good enough to be thought of as traditional. o They both had an argument over whether to have its own melody or a traditional  blues that any singer can sing in their own style.  o The song was the first time they had the ability to spend time meeting up with a  studio during a session laying out ideas with an arranger who wrote ideas for the  song.  o Their material was misinterpreted most of the time so they started to involve  themselves more in the making of arrangements and running of sessions until they can run their own sessions.   Rehearsing o It was unusual to rehearse a song that was in rhythms and blues.  o They would take at least 5 takes and planned each of their schedules out. o They rehearsed three weeks before a session and eight hours a day.  They only thing they left for chance is the feel and tempo of the music  during the session.  o They did not rehearsed the musicians but the vocal group.   Lester and Spark Records   o The record company in 1953 only lasted about a year and a half.  o It was underfinanced in which they couldn’t afford to send Lester on a trip. o Lester was a promotional person who would show how danceable records were.  Producing Records o They earned two cents per record and were trying to get their names on the  records as producers.   They then started to get good at producing and started doing other  people’s songs.   Devoted sometimes to writing and devote the other time to producing or  producing in another style other than what they were writing.  o Leiner and Stoller were the first independent producer who were formally  contracted by a label to make records.   Considered themselves directors. 


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