DOC POMUS AND MORTY SHUMAN
May 12, 2012
Doc Pomus and Morty Shuman were at the peak of their success when I met them up at Hill and Range music on the top floor of the BRILL BUILDING in the early 60s, when I was trying to make a name for myself as a singer/ songwriter. They always made me feel as if I was part of the music community, though I was a few years away from having my first hit.When I’d hear one of their new I never failed to get chills. They were basic and simple and real… and sometimes the entire song was a “hook” as opposed to just a line or two.
After Leiber and Stoller stopped writing for the “Classic” Elvis..Doc and Morty took over without missing a beat with “Surrender”, “Viva Las Vegas”, “Suspicion”, “Littlle Sister”, and “His Latest Flame”.
As far as I’m concerned, the greatest contribution that POMUS AND SHUMAN made to Pop music were the songs they wrote for the Drifters, which elevated the entire genre of R&B Music. I remember once I was up at Hill and Range when Morty came back from a trip to Mexico, his head filled withall sorts of complex latin rythyms, most importantly “The Bayone” feel. A sort of BOOM BA-BOOM …BOOM BA-BOOM on bass and drums, with ultra-hip latin percussion dancing around on top. You can hear it as the pulse of the Drifters, “Save The Last Dance For Me”. Speaking of which, as I was doing some research, I ran across the following story
“Now, consider the context in which “Last Dance” was written. Here’s Doc, married to this gorgeous blonde Broadway actress, and all her Broadway cronies are contemptuous of rock & roll. A childhood victim of polio, Doc was on crutches, never able to walk. One night he was at a dance with his wife, waiting for herto finish dancing with a bevy of partners, patient and cool on the sidelines. Though he never said so, it likely provided the inspiration for these lines:
“Don’t forget who’s taking you home
And in whose arms you’re gonna be
So, darling, save the last dance for me”
copyright 1959/2012 by Hill and Range Music