Baby, I Don’t Care — Some Jerry Leiber Stories

If you read other Elvis websites, you already know about the death of songwriter Jerry Leiber.  The other sites informed you that Leiber and his partner Mike Stoller wrote more than a dozen Elvis hits, including “Hound Dog,” “Jailhouse Rock” and “King Creole.”

Jerry Leiber

Mike Stoller, Elvis, Jerry Leiber in 1957

For ElvisBlog, I thought it would be more fun to tell you some Jerry Leiber stories.  They all involve my favorite Elvis song, which happens to be written by Leiber & Stoller. 

Stoller and Leiber in Later Years

My number 1 Elvis song was never a hit.  It was never released as a single, and it was not originally included on any Elvis album.  The song is “(You’re So Square) Baby, I Don’t Care.”

If you don’t immediately recognize this song, just visualize the swimming pool scene in the movie Jailhouse Rock.  In character as Vince Everett, Elvis sings “Baby, I Don’t Care” in front of a cabana, entertaining everyone at a Hollywood pool party he threw.  Elvis is wearing a grey sweater with a distinctive collar.


Leiber & Stoller wrote “Baby I Don’t Care” as part of the soundtrack for Jailhouse Rock.  Here is an unbelievable piece of trivia.  They composed “Jailhouse Rock,”  “Young and Beautiful,” “Treat Me Nice,” “I Want to Be Free,” “Don’t Leave Me Now,” and “Baby, I Don’t Care” in a period of four hours one afternoon.  They wrote an entire movie soundtrack in four hours.  These guys were really good!!

Here’s another oddity.  “Baby, I Don’t Care” was originally released only on an unusual format that saw some popularity in the 50s and early 60s:  It was the EP (Extended Play).  EPs looked like regular 45 singles, except there were two songs on each side.  Elvis released over twenty-five EPs in his history, including one titled Jailhouse Rock.  However, it had five songs on it, every song from the movie, except “Treat Me Nice.”


The EP Jailhouse Rock was an inexpensive way for kids to get a bunch of good songs, and it sold like crazy.  It entered the Billboard EP Chart at Number 1, and it stayed there for 22 consecutive weeks.   It dropped down to Number 2 for a week, and then bounced back and stayed Number 1 for six more weeks.  “Baby, I Don’t Care” was part of the best-selling Elvis EP ever, with over one million sales.  Leiber & Stoller wrote every song on it.

Even though Jailhouse Rock was a huge movie, there never was a soundtrack album.  What a missed opportunity.  RCA could have kept all six Leiber & Stoller songs together and added some filler songs and had a hit album.

There is one more piece of strange trivia involving “Baby, I Don’t Care.”  When Elvis sings the song in the movie, there are camera shots from close in and long shots from the opposite side of the pool.  They were filmed at different times, and when the long shots were filmed, the sun was shining right on the band.  Here is a close-up shot.


Notice that Scotty Moore is not wearing sunglasses.  Now, the long shot:


If you look close, Scotty is wearing Sunglasses.  Maybe the studio was missing their continuity person that day.

My wife can’t believe my favorite Elvis song is “Baby, I Don’t Care.”  She asks, “Why not Hound Dog” or “All Shook Up?”  I love all of the early Elvis songs, but I’ve heard the big hits so many times they don’t move me like they used too.  However, “Baby I Don’t Care” still sounds new. 

I like to remind my wife that the greatness of the song has been extolled by a pretty important icon of the music world.  Back in the early 90s, MTV often had “Guest VJs” who would showcase their favorite music videos.  One night a true rock god did the show.  It was Robert Plant, lead singer of the legendary heavy metal band, Led Zeppelin. 



For one of his music videos, Plant chose the film clip of Elvis singing “Baby, I Don’t Care” in Jailhouse Rock.  He called it the best Elvis song that was never released as a single.  So, I’m not the only person who really likes the song.

In their partnership, Mike Stoller wrote the music and Jerry Leiber wrote the lyrics.  So, as a last tribute to Jerry Leiber, here are the words he wrote for “Baby, I Don’t Care.”

You don’t like crazy music.
You don’t like rockin’ bands.
You just wanna go to a movie show,
And sit there holdin’ hands.
You’re so square.
Baby, I don’t care.

You don’t like hotrod racin’
Or drivin’ late at night.
You just wanna park where it’s nice and dark.
You just wanna hold me tight.
You’re so square.
Baby, I don’t care.

You don’t know any dance steps that are new,
But no one else could love me like you do, do, do, do.

I don’t know why my heart flips.
I only know it does.
I wonder why I love you, baby.
I guess it’s just because
You’re so square.

Baby, I don’t care.


Thank you, Jerry Leiber.  You gave us some great songs.


©  2011    Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister    All Rights Reserved

Elvis, Elvis Presley, and Graceland are registered trademarks of Elvis Presley Enterprises, Inc.


4 responses to “Baby, I Don’t Care — Some Jerry Leiber Stories

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