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March 14: Doc Pomus

March 14, 2014

AKA_Doc_Pomus_500Doc Pomus (Jerome Solon Felder), whose songwriting output as a lyricist (working most closely with Mort Shuman) included “A Teenager in Love,” “Hushabye,” “Save The Last Dance For Me,” “This Magic Moment,” and Elvis’ “Little Sister” and “Viva Las Vegas,” among many other hits, died at 65 on this date in 1992. Pomus, who walked on crutches after a bout of childhood polio and was eventually confined to a wheelchair, was a blues singer in his teens after being turned on to the music by a Big Joe Turner record, but in the 1950s he turned to songwriting for his livelihood. In addition to Shuman, Pomus collaborated with Phil Spector, Leiber and Stoller, and Dr. John, and produced songs for performers who included Ray Charles, B.B. King, Irma Thomas, Marianne Faithfull, Charlie Rich, and James Booker. He was Bette Midler’s musical advisor, and figured prominently in the John Belushi and Dan Ackroyd’s creation of “the Blues Brothers.” Pomus was elected to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1992, and to the Blues Hall of Fame in 2012. To see a trailer of the film about Doc Pomus, look below.

“As a crusader for the many forgotten and overlooked, Doc was dedicated in particular to helping R&B artists who had fallen on hard times. Mike Stoller called Doc the ‘arch angel of rhythm and blues.’ He was a founder and trustee of the Rhythm and Blues Foundation, and was the recipient of their prestigious Pioneer Award (the only white honoree to date).” -Songwriters Hall of Fame