Bristol’s Paramount Center for the Arts will be the hottest joint in town on Jan. 22 when it hosts a performance of the rock ‘n’ roll musical revue “Smokey Joe’s Café: The Songs of Leiber and Stoller.” Show time is 7:30 p.m.
Tickets are $32 for adults, $28.50 for seniors/students; $25.50 with a student ID; and $27.50 for groups.
Produced by Supreme Talent International, the Tony Award-nominated and Grammy Award-winning tribute to legendary songwriters Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller is a dazzling song-and-dance celebration of over 40 of rock ‘n’ roll’s greatest hits, including “Hound Dog,” “Stand by Me,” “Yakety Yak,” “Jailhouse Rock,” “Spanish Harlem,” “On Broadway,” “Kansas City,” “Love Potion #9,” “Fools Fall in Love” and more.
Leiber and Stoller’s initial successes were as the writers of such crossover hit songs as “Hound Dog” and “Kansas City.”
Later in the 1950s, particularly through their work with The Coasters, they created a string of ground-breaking hits by using the humorous vernacular of teenagers sung in a style that was openly theatrical rather than personal — songs that include “Young Blood,” “Searchin’” and “Yakety Yak.” They were the first to surround black music with elaborate production values, enhancing its emotional power with The Drifters in “There Goes My Baby” and influencing Phil Spector, who worked with them on recordings of the Drifters and Ben E. King. Leiber and Stoller went into the record business and, focusing on the “girl group” sound, released some of the greatest classics of the Brill Building period.
They wrote hits including “Love Me,” “Loving You,” “Don’t,” “Jailhouse Rock” and “King Creole,” among others, for Elvis Presley.
The pair were inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1985 and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987.
In the 1950s, the rhythm and blues of the black entertainment world, up to then restricted to black clubs, was increasing its audience-share in areas previously reserved for traditional pop music, and the phenomenon now known as “crossover” became apparent.
Leiber and Stoller affected the course of modern popular music in 1957 when they wrote and produced the crossover double-sided hit by The Coasters, “Young Blood”/“Searchin’.” They released “Yakety Yak,” which was a mainstream hit, as was the follow-up, “Charlie Brown.” This was followed by “Along Came Jones,” “Poison Ivy,” “Shoppin’ for Clothes” and “Little Egypt (Ying-Yang).”
They produced and co-wrote “There Goes My Baby,” a hit for The Drifters in 1959, which introduced the use of strings for saxophone-like riffs, a tympani for the Brazilian baion rhythm they incorporated, and lavish production values into the established black R&B sound, laying the groundwork for the soul music that would follow.
In 2009, Simon & Schuster published “Hound Dog: The Leiber and Stoller Autobiography,” written by Leiber and Stoller with David Ritz.
For tickets or more information, call (423) 274-8920 or visit www.theparamountcenter.com.