(50 Coastin' Classics, Rhino 71090)
Jerry Leiber, one half of songwriting duo Leiber & Stoller, passed away yesterday. Probably most famous for hits like "Hound Dog", "Jailhouse Rock" and "Stand By Me", I loved him most for his work with The Coasters, for whom Leiber & Stoller wrote clever, playful and often funny tunes with theatric elements, some of which mocked elements of mainstream America's popular culture -- see "Along Came Jones" -- and some that had underlying serious themes; for every "Yakety-Yak" there was a "Shopping For Clothes."
On the same day, Nick Ashford passed away. Ashford, along with partner Valerie Simpson, wrote huge hits for others, such as "Ain't No Mountain High Enough", "You're All I Need To Get By" and "Ain't Nothing Like the Real Thing". But they also performed as a popular R&B duo, and had hits with such great songs as "Is It Still Good To Ya" and 1984's "Solid".