Magazine article Tablet Magazine

Q&A: Mike Stoller of Leiber and Stoller

Magazine article Tablet Magazine

Q&A: Mike Stoller of Leiber and Stoller

Article excerpt

A willingness to venture outside of one's cultural backyard is not always the moral equivalent of the horrors that Cortes inflicted on the Aztecs. It can also be an act of love or the way that a great poem or a song is born. While it is true that such thoughts can sound retrograde or even dangerous in an age when terms like "appropriation" and "theft" are commonly used to describe the hybrid creations that made American popular culture so wildly appealing to hundreds of millions of other inhabitants of the planet, crossing lines of race, class, religion, gender, and national origin, don't fear. Very few artists who are any good believe in simple-minded notions of "authenticity."

The songwriting team of Mike Stoller and Jerry Leiber were responsible as much or more than anyone else on the planet for the "crossover" of the rhythm and blues music invented by African-Americans into the mainstream of American popular song. …

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