- Viva Las Vegas Elvis Presley 2:19
- Teenager In Love Dion 2:43
- This Magic Moment Ben E King 2:43
- Save the Last Dance for Me The Drifters 2:29
- Lonely Avenue Ray Charles 2:36
- 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. Jerome 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.