Home » Playlist: Six from Doc Pomus

Playlist: Six from Doc Pomus

  1. Viva Las Vegas Elvis Presley 2:19
  2. Teenager In Love Dion 2:43
  3. This Magic Moment Ben E King 2:43
  4. Save the Last Dance for Me The Drifters 2:29
  5. Lonely Avenue Ray Charles 2:36
  6. Turn Me Loose Fabian 2:24

One of the most unique and, happily, positive stories in recent music history is that of Doc Pomus. It wasn’t easy. The bottom line is that Pomus overcame everything. doc pomusJerome Solon Felder — later Pomus — was born to immigrant Jewish parents in Brooklyn in 1925. He had polio as a child and walked with crutches (he later was confined to a wheelchair). Despite this, he became a singer. He performed at African American clubs where, he said, he often was the only white person present. He recorded for several labels but eventually became a songwriter, which was his true calling.

Here is a list of the more famous of Pomus’ compositions, many written with Mort Shuman. He teamed with Mort Shuman and wrote for pre-British invasion rock and roll acts. Hits like “Teenager in Love,” “Viva Las Vegas,” “Save the Last Dance for Me” and “This Magic Moment” were just the highlights of the huge outpouring of music.

The profile at Pomus’ site says that he took a ten-year hiatus from writing songs after the partnership with Shuman ended.

He supported himself as a gambler during this period. Pomus, after the mob visited a card game he was hosting, decided that song writing was a more sensible line of work and began composing for the likes of Little Jimmy Scott–another survivor– Dr. John, B.B. King and others.

He is in the Rock & Roll, Songwriting, Blues and New York Music halls of fame. Below is a promotional video for the movie “AKA Doc Pomus.” It sums things up nicely. Pomus’ brother, incidentally, is the high profile divorce lawyer Raoul Felder.

Wikipedia and Doc Pomus’ site were used to write this post. Photo from Wikipedia.

Doc Pomus and Mort Shuman wrote a lot of the soundtrack of the 1950s and 1960s. The album featured on the left (click here or on the image) is split between Pomus performing his own songs and covers. Most of the songs in the playlist above are included in the two-disc remastered collection, which is entitled “Doc Pomus: Singer and Songwriter.” Folks interested in his story may be want to check out “Lonely Avenue: The Unlikely & Times of Doc Pomus” by Alex Halberstadt. Click here for info.


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The stories of the great bands and musicians are fascinating. Musicians as a group are brilliant, but often troubled. The combination of creativity and drama makes for great reading.

Here are some books to check out.

Duke Ellington brought class, sophistication and style to jazz which, until that point, was proudly unpolished and raucous. His story is profound. The author, Terry Teachout, also wrote "Pops," the acclaimed bio of Louis Armstrong. Click here or on the image.


What else is there to say? Here is the story behind every song written by The Beatles. Click here or on the image.


The Grateful Dead don't get enough credit for the profound nature of its lyrics. Many of the band's songs are driven by a deep and literate Americana ("I'm Uncle Sam/That's who I am/Been hidin' out/In a rock and roll band" and "Majordomo Billy Bojangles/Sit down and have a drink with me/What's this about Alabama/Keeps comin' back to me?").

David Dodd's exhaustive study tells the story, song by song. Click here or on the image.

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