Leiber and Stoller made a statement, complaining that their song “Jailhouse Rock” is not, in fact, in the show.
The musical’s producers, Alan Janes and Jonathan Alver, have fired back in a response released to the press in which they say that “the history of rock and roll goes far beyond one song — no matter how good Lieber and Stoller think their title is” and emphasize that the story is being used “to explore the origins of rock and roll.” They add that “the original film contained just seven songs most of which have been ignored by history and would not stand up in a West End production.”
The show does, however, contain 22 songs. Titles include “Blue Suede Shoes,” “Burning Love,” “Suspicious Minds,” “Are You Lonesome Tonight,” “Good Rockin’ Tonight,” “A Fool Such As I,” “One Night,” “Pretty Little Angel Eyes,” "Big Rock Candy Mountain,” “This Ole House,” “Always On My Mind,” “The Wonder of You,” Memphis Tennessee,” “Tutti Frutti” and eight others.
According to the statement, the producers did try to get the rights for the song “Jailhouse Rock” but were rebuffed. “Elvis Presley Enterprises, Leiber and Stoller’s publishers, were approached repeatedly by us to grant a license for the song . . . and they repeatedly declined on the basis that they were creating their own Elvis compilation musical,” says the statement. “We cannot imagine why they would now want to complain about their title not being in our show as they refused our repeated approaches.”
The show has already played in Plymouth and Manchester, and will preview at London’s Piccadilly Theatre beginning March 26, with opening night on April 16. It’s directed by Rob Bettinson, who also co-wrote it with Alan Janes.