Jerry Leiber and Nick Ashford, two of the greatest songwriters of pop-music history, died on Monday.
Leiber, along with partner Mike Stoller, were rock 'n' roll pioneers, penning dozens of hits for artists such the Drifters, the Coasters, and, most famous, Elvis Presley, the latter's contributions resulting in the No. 1 singles "Jailhouse Rock," "Hound Dog," and "Don't." "Hound Dog" was originally penned for blues singer Big Mama Thornton, but when Elvis Presley recorded the song in 1956 the duo quickly became the biggest songwriting team in rock 'n' roll (despite their disregard for Presley’s interpretation). Other hits by Leiber and Stoller include "Love Potion No. 9," "Stand by Me," and "On Broadway." They were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987.
Nick Ashford was also one-half of a legendary songwriting team, with his wife Valerie Simpson, and for Motown Records they wrote and produced some of the label's biggest hits, including "Ain't No Mountain High Enough," "Ain't Nothing Like the Real Thing," and "You're All I Need to Get By." The pair eventually released several records themselves in the late '70s and '80s, finding success with songs such as "It Seems to Hang On" and "Solid." However, they will most be remembered for their string of '60s hits for Motown's Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell. The couple, married since 1974, was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2002.