Tuesday, February 22, 2011


Coasters (top) Leiber & Stoller
My favorite Coasters song starts out:  “One little piggy ate a pizza/One piggy ate potato chips/This little piggy’s comin’ over your house/Gonna nibble on your sweet lips/Cause I’m a hog for you, Baby…”  Well, admittedly not every Leiber and Stoller song turned out to be “Hound Dog.”  But even this underdog ditty sports the offbeat lyrics that caught the attention of black performers back in the 50s.  Get this...nine R&B stars had recorded L&S songs before these two white boys were out of their teens.  Their comedy classics for the Coasters (“Charlie Brown,” “Yakety Yak,” “Poison Ivy”) kept them constantly on the charts beginning in the mid-fifties.  Elvis helped.  He recorded more than twenty of their songs.  When the dust had settled, Leiber and Stoller had been overwhelmingly influencial in bringing R&B from the ghetto into the mainstream, whether with flippant jive pieces like “Jailhouse Rock” and “Love Potion #9” or smoother stuff like the Drifters “Save the Last Dance for Me."  As for "I'm a Hog For You Baby," I'm not its only fan.  there are 40 or 50 covers out there. Coasters video with studio chatter and false starts .