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Leiber & Stoller...
great songwriters, no guts!

I grew up listening to Leiber and Stoller music. They wrote such simple, catchy songs that gave me and millions like me a zest for life. They created basic, foot stomping music that just seem to make all my problems and those of the world disappear. I used to lie in bed at night trying to tune into Radio Luxemburg to hear Elvis and the latest songs from Leiber and Stoller. What  joy it must have given those two ‘kids’ Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller knowing that their music, their creativity, their art was being heard all over the world and even by a little Jewish kid living in the slums of East London trying to tune his transistor radio into Radio Luxemburg. In those days in the 1950's there was no BBC Radio 1, Capital Radio, commercial radio or pop stations.

What inspired Leiber and Stoller to write their wonderful songs? I am sure it was not money but the desire of all great artists to be recognised and appreciated by as wide an audience as possible for their creativity. What a thrill it must have been when Elvis sang their songs, songs of two young Jewish boys who loved black music and wanted it to be heard by a white audience. Who better than Elvis to lead that quest. Leiber wrote the words and Stoller the music and the world began to rock’ n’ roll. They have given so much pleasure to so many millions of people but now, as perhaps a swansong (they are both in their seventies), it seems they are trying to destroy their own musical legacy by denying the world the joy of hearing their songs from “Jailhouse Rock” performed on a London stage. Sadly, because of EPE and Leiber and Stoller "Jailhouse Rock the Musical" will not include the theme song "Jailhouse Rock" or any of their songs from the film.

Leiber and Stoller have sent out a worldwide Press Release on PR Newswire condemning the producers of “Jailhouse Rock the Musical” for so naming the Musical that does not include their songs, claiming it is misleading the public. Ten years ago a lady producer from Los Angeles, Rene Sheridan, invested her money in buying the Stage Rights to “Jailhouse Rock” from MGM. The music industry is quite bizarre and although she had the Stage Rights she did not have the Music Rights. At a similar time a real twerp called Gary Hovey took over the licensing of Elvis music at EPE. In our last Newsletter we explained Hovey is Lisa Marie’s Uncle and apparently an ex-used car salesman. I believe he replaced Jerry Schilling who had been doing a very good job for EPE. Hovey refused Rene Sheridan permission to use the songs from “Jailhouse Rock”. It is not as if EPE would not make potentially $millions from licensing the songs to the Musical...so what type of business turns away $millions? Perhaps there is no answer because Hovey is a megalomaniac. How do you stop a megalomaniac? Every possible approach was made to Leiber and Stoller, MGM, anyone connected with the rights to the film and the songs but for TEN years Hovey has said NO, NO, NO!

The excuse now is EPE have their own Musical but they waited about eight years saying NO before they just copied, no stole, Rene’s idea. Rene is quite petite and Hovey thought he could intimidate her. She has had to endure harassment and verbal abuse from Hovey over the many years. By all accounts Hovey is just a very nasty bully but Rene, of small stature, has a big heart and has just pursued her dream to bring "Jailhouse Rock" to the stage. Stoller has said, in the press release, by using the name “Jailhouse Rock” it denies him the right to use his own title for his own musical… what chutzpah! Stoller has known for ten years Rene had the rights so what has he been playing at for the past 47 years since he wrote the song? Elvis will be turning in his grave knowing that Lieber and Stoller are denying the world the right to hear his music and see a staged version of "Jailhouse Rock". It is sad that they have also been intimidated by that bully Hovey. The timing of this disgraceful press release was just one week before the stage show opens in London yet Leiber and Stoller had been begged for ten years for the rights to the songs from Jailhouse Rock. It is a wicked and misguided attempt at sabotage that will backfire on them. The public are not idiots and everyone will ask what people deny the world the right to hear their music.

What an honour it would have been for Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller to appear onstage in London on April 19th 2004 taking the deserved applause of thousands at the opening of this wonderful Musical that eventually will tour the world. They should be mensches and have the guts to tell Hovey he is a 'Jailhouse Schmuck', to get lost but, first release the songs to Rene for the Musical.

Songwriters all over the world write their music for the world to hear to and to deny millions of fans the pleasure to hear the song "Jailhouse Rock" in "Jailhouse Rock the Musical" is a disgrace. Leiber and Stoller should be truly ashamed of themselves. Perhaps they want history to  remember them as "Lilo and Stitch" (the Disney cartoon that featured their songs). I and Elvis fans around the world will never forgive Leiber and Stoller for this musical blasphemy.

I have suggested to the Producers, who have tried so hard  for ten years to obtain the rights to the songs from "Jailhouse Rock", to make a subtle change of name to the Musical to :


Even without the song, "Jailhouse Rock", the Show has been receiving standing ovations in Plymouth and Manchester where it has been previewed prior to its arrival at the Piccadilly Theatre in London on March 26th 2004. We have heard from many fans who have seen the show that it is brilliant. The Musical will run for years and years but the sad thing is that Leiber and Stoller will get no credit from this wonderful theatrical production just contempt and anger....great songwriters, no guts!!

Definitions of words:  twerp - silly, stupid person; mensch - mature, responsible person; schmuck - stupid, foolish person; chutzpah - unashamed self-confidence, impudence.

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