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August 22, 2011


Jerry Leiber wrote the hits

Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller

Jerry Leiber (right), the lyricist of the famed songwriting duo Leiber and Stoller, died today at age 78. Leiber and Stoller wrote loads of the great R&B songs recorded in the 1950's and '60's, and you could argue that they were responsible for rhythm and blues crossing over from black performers and audiences to Elvis, white audiences, and everybody in the world.

I love lots of songs by Leiber and Stoller, but my favorite might be The Coasters' "Down in Mexico", which is featured in a great scene from Quentin Tarantino's "Death Proof", the second half of the undervalued Grindhouse.

Here's the whole 7 minute scene, featuring a dazzlingly menacing Kurt Russell, which leads up to the greatest lap dance ever performed in flip-flops, by Vanessa Ferlito. "Down in Mexico" and the accompanying dance start at 4:25 if you want to skip ahead.

A few other Leiber and Stoller favorites: The Exciters' irrepressible "Tell Him", Big Mama Thornton's original 1952 version of "Hound Dog", Elvis's pep talk for nerdy girls everywhere "(You're So Square) Baby I Don't Care", and the Coasters' tremendously fun "Youngblood".

categories: Celebrities, Movies, Music
posted by amy at 11:08 PM | #

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And for pickup lines, you can't beat Robert Frost's "Stopping by Woods..." or John Wayne impersonations. That Q, what a cutup.

Posted by: John at August 23, 2011 11:25 AM

Another thought...I'm sure some film school grad student has picked up on the parallel between this dance and another dance to a Leiber/Stoller produced tune: "Back in the Middle With You" in "Reservoir Dogs." I'd bet there are half a dozen more.

Posted by: John at August 23, 2011 12:01 PM

Nice parallel! Yeah, "Stuck in the Middle With You" was produced by Leiber and Stoller, though Stealers Wheel wrote it themselves.


That band is Scottish?! I had no idea.

The other most famous Tarantino dance scene is probably Uma Thurman and John Travolta in Pulp Fiction, doing the twist to "You Never Can Tell" by Chuck Berry, a scene that still strikes me as a little bit flat and anti-climactic.


And the brief scene of Uma dance-thrashing to "Girl You'll Be a Woman Soon", a Neil Diamond tune.

Maybe he'll go back to the Leiber-Stoller for his next movie Django Unchained, if they wrote any good tunes for a Western. Maybe "Black Denim Trousers and Motorcycle Boots"?


Posted by: amy at August 23, 2011 12:36 PM

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