If there were an award to bestow for the most accomplished living American pop songwriter who never doubled as a recording artist, the frontrunner would almost definitely be Mike Stoller
, 89, half of one of the most famous writing duos of all time, Leiber & Stoller. Even if the memory of Elvis Presley
were completely wiped away, like the Beatles’ in that “Yesterday
” movie, this pairing would still be in the history books and collective consciousness for “Stand by Me
,” “On Broadway,” “There Goes My Baby,” “Young Blood,” “Kansas City,” “Love Potion #9,” “Yakety Yak,” “Charlie Brown,” “I’m a Woman,” “Ruby Baby,” “Is That All There Is?” and other numbers deeply embedded in pop culture from the mid-‘50s forward.
But we do remember Elvis — and are remembering him more universally than we have since his 1977 death, thanks to Baz Luhrmann
’s new “Elvis” biopic. So it’s a perfect chance to catch up with Stoller,