Soundtrack for the Teen-Age Era
Spotlight on Mort Shuman
You know Elvis, Dion, Andy Williams, The Mystics, The Small Faces, The Drifters….. They all became the idols of the young generation between 1955 – 1965. Less known are the people who supported the stars with the right stuff to reach the hearts of whole generation. Among some great songwriters like Gerry Goffin and Carole King or Howard Greenfield I would name one man in first line – Mortimer Shuman.
Together with his partner Doc Pomus (who mostly wrote the Lyrics) they were responsible for 30.000.000 sold records. To name a few ….. Teenager In Love and Troubled Mind for Dion, Save The Last Dance For Me and This Magic Moment for the Drifters, Hushabey for the Mystics, Can´t Get Loosing You for Andy Williams, Kiss Me Quick and A Mess Of Blues and Surrender for Elvis, Suspicion for Elvis (never released, and a hit for Terry Stafford), Here I Go Again for the Hollies, Sha La La La Lee for the Small Faces………
In 1966 Shuman fell in love with the work of Belgian singer-songwriter Jaques Brel. He translated all his work and created a JB Show in Greenwich Village at the Gate Theatre. It ran for more than four years. Shuman has been one of the original performers. The show became one of the longest running off-broadway musicals.
Mort´s translations of Brel´s work were recorded by many artists including Scott Walker (Mathilde, Jacky), David Bowie (Amsterdam), Dion and Dionne Warwick (If We Only Have Love), Judy Collins….
In the 70 ies Shuman settled in Paris near the Eiffel Tower and … after 15 years working behind the curtain, now he became a superstar in France. His tender song Le Lac Majeur became Hit of the year. He continued to write music for movies and musicals, never stopped working. Music was his life.
He died in 1991, the same year as his former partner Doc Pomus.
Mort has been a genius. No doubt. But that´s not enough to describe his personality. Let´s talk his Manager Charles Negus-Fancey: "Mort will be remembered for his irrepressible spirit, his passion for life and his kindness. He was quite simply one of the finest human beings I have ever met"
And Dion, for whom he wrote Teenager In Love, recently said on Facebook:
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