All my life I’ve been asking myself, “What does it mean for somebody to be ‘crockin‘ all the time?,’ which is how Elvis Presley described some guy he doesn’t like or respect in the 1956 pop song “Hound Dog“. When I learned this morning that Jerry Leiber, the guy who co-wrote the song with Mike Stoller, had passed at 78, I checked the Hound Dog lyrics and read that the lyric is “cryin’ all the time” and not “crockin’.”
Jerry Leiber (l.) and Mike Stoller (r.)
You know something? The hell with that. It is “crockin'” that Presley is singing, and I don’t want to hear any differently.
Lieber co-wrote “There Goes My Baby” (I love Cat Stevens‘ version, which Wes Anderson used in Rushmore), “Kansas City,” “Yakety Yak”, “Poison Ivy”, “Stand By Me” (with Ben E. King), “Jailhouse Rock”, “Love Potion No. 9”, “Searchin'”, “Young Blood” (which Leon Russell covered well in The Concert for Bangla Desh), “Is That All There Is?” (wait…he co-wrote that Peggy Lee song?), “On Broadway” (with Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil) and “Spanish Harlem” (Leiber co-writing with Phil Spector).
In the annals of ’50s rock, late ’50s to early ’60s doo-wop and AM pre-Beatles ’60s rock, Leiber and Stoller are/were absolutely legendary, world-class songwriters on the level of Irving Berlin or Rogers and Hart or Rogers and Hammerstein or whomever….right up there, voices of a generation, lightning in a bottle.
It’s important to read their co-authored “Hound Dog: The Leiber & Stoller Autobiography.”