It’s pretty much impossible to have lived in this country at any point in the last 60 years and not have heard a song written by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, even if you didn’t realize it. Along with tattooed-in-your-brain standards like “Stand By Me,” “Love Potion No. 9,” and “On Broadway,” many of Elvis Presley’s most memorable mega-hits were written by the duo, including “Jailhouse Rock” and “Hound Dog.” But here is the tricky thing for the American Idol Top 4 tonight as they tackle the Leiber and Stoller songbook: Many of their songs sound very much of their time (a kind way of calling the music dated), and yet lyrically they remain remarkably bold. Take their hit “Dance With Me,” which has the singer imploring his (or her) dancing partner to get “closer and closer,” and “tighter and tighter” so that “maybe we’ll be lovers/ When the music ends.” Yeah, don’t so much see Lauren or Scotty taking on that song, do you? Then again, with Lady Gaga stepping in as the guest mentor, anything is possible.
Fortunately, we’ve singled out the Leiber & Stoller songs that could best help each of the Top 4 make it to the Top 3 (presuming they’ll sing two songs each to fill the 90 minute episode), and which songs they should avoid at all costs. Check our our picks below, and then let us know what songs you think they should take on tonight.
DO NOT SING: “Is That All There Is?”
DO NOT SING: “On Broadway”
DO SING: “King Creole” (the Viva Elvis version) and “Stand By Me” (but only if he sings it like he did “You’ve Got a Friend,” simply and sincerely — any cheesy eyebrow action, and this song is D.O.A.)
DO NOT SING: “Charlie Brown”
DO NOT SING: “Little Egypt (Ying-Yang)”
So those are my picks. What are yours?
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