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Thursday, 31 December 2015


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Once again a post that shows me and your other readers just why TOP is such a great blog! And gives the fascinating story behind a song many of us "grew up" with If you haven't allready try this album as a wonderful overview of some of Doc's songs by great artists! Plus its available on Amazon through TOP Links! Happy New Year!

Sorry, here is the album link!

Towards the end of his career I had the great pleasure of attending a Doc Pomus concert at the Ark in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The Ark is a small community supported music venue that has been hosting intimate concerts multiple nights per week for 50 years. The Doc Pomus concert was wonderful and I can still picture him playing as though it had occurred last night. He wrote many wonderful songs and was a dynamic performer despite his disability.


I love the stories behind some of my favorite songs. There are some amazing tales. One of my favorites is the story behind the writing and recording of "Crimson and Clover," and it's told best at songfacts.com in the words of Tommy James and the others involved - http://www.songfacts.com/detail.php?id=1883

But the TL:DR short version is: After the Shondells' songwriter quit, Tommy James spent half a day in a basement studio in the Brill Building recording a rough mix of a new song, Crimson and Clover, playing all the instruments but drums. Despite the fact that the recording was just intended as a demo, it ended up being released and becoming a top ten hit. Trivia: Humbert Humphrey wrote the liner notes for the album!

songfacts.com is full of great tales.

Happy New Year, Mike! Thank you for the Emmylou Harris link.


Theres a pretty good documentary on Doc Pomus titled "AKA Doc Pomus" - link at http://akadocpomus.com/the-film/

We showed it in the big tent at the Mendocino Film Festival, a yearly gig of mine. Well received by the audience.

Happy New Year's to you and the doggies.


Interesting post, Mike. I'm one-half of a "beach bar" duo (me on double bass plus a guitarist) and we do this nearly every week. Even though I would crawl on broken glass to hear Emmy, the original version is sublime.

What was the girl drinking? milk or maybe absenthe? Who was seated at her left? Mondrian? nice picture...

As a Rotarian, I was moved by this story. Thank you.

Even before I knew the story of Doc Pomus and this song, it was one of my favourites from childhood. And appropriate.

For a nice selection of Doc Pomus songs, check out the album "Till the Night is Gone: A Tribute to Doc Pomus. It features, among others, Bob Dylan, Los Lobos, Lou Reed and Dr. John. I am particularly enamored of the BB King and Irma Thomas selections. It is also noteworthy that Pomus attempted to bring vocalist Little Jimmy Scott out of obscurity in an open letter to Billboard magazine (the text of which can be found with a little Google searching). When Scott sang at Pomus's funeral, he was rediscovered by the industry, with a subsequent album and Grammy.


Speaking of music, I stumbled across this today while I was supposed to be working. I know you're a Neil Young fan and thought you might enjoy it.

Happy New Year to you and yours.

Bon Iver at AIR Studios (4AD/Jagjaguwar Session)


Mike a great story and another terrific post to end the year. Thanks and have a Happy New Year.

There is an excellent biography of Doc,
Lonely Avenue: The Unlikely Life and Times of Doc Pomus, by Alex Halberstadt. http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/lonely-avenue-alex-halberstadt/1102152621?ean=9780306815645

Also a good collection of songs he wrote is The Pomus & Shuman Story: Double Trouble 1956-1967 from the English Ace Records (and includes the Drifters hit). http://www.amazon.com/Pomus-Shuman-Story-Trouble-1956-1967/dp/B000O5916A/ref=sr_1_9?ie=UTF8&qid=1451653673&sr=8-9&keywords=doc+pomus

When someone asks me what sort of music I like I have to say "Country, but only really Emmylou Harris". Nice Mandolin by Albert Lee on STLDFM.

Check out the lesser known live LP, Last Date, for a great version of Neil Young's Long May You Run.

Thanks for this.
I knew the story, but didn't know about the Lou Reed tribute.
I'll search that out.
Save the Last Dance was supposed to be the 'B" side and fall into oblivion, Here is Doc explaining how Dick Clark saved it

IIRC, Lou Reed's album Magic and Loss was inspired by the passing of Doc Pomus.

Nice read, I knew of him (I even have the CD Til the Night Is Gone). Terrific writer, Doc.


Since you mention Frank Sinatra - he was a far more attractive singer before the period for which he is best known. For example, listen to him singing 'Why do I fall in love so easily' in Anchors Aweigh. He really could sustain a note, but seemed to abandon this style more and more as the years went on.

I'll second the recommendation for the documentary film, "AKA Doc Pomus," which I saw when it headlined the New York Jewish Film Festival in 2013.

Another interesting thing mentioned in the film about the lyrics to this song was that he intentionally used awkward syntax (like "in whose arms you're gonna be") to make the song sound like it had been translated from Spanish, in keeping with the Latin rhythm.

Lou Reed told this story to Elvis Costello on Costello's show, called Spectacle. It was on Season One, Episode 4:


It's a fascinating episode of a generally very interesting show. Reed clearly loved and respected Doc Pomus.

I first became aware of Emmylou Harris when she hauntingly sang "Here, There and Everywhere" at (IIRC) the Lowell George Benefit concert and her appearance on "The Last Waltz".

I attended a concert and snuck in my Dad's Yashica TL electro and took some pictures. Unfortunately, I did not compensate for the largely black background and she came out very over exposed turning into - as I joked at the time "Angellou Harris".

Ry Cooder's version isn't half bad either.

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