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Lonely Avenue: The Unlikely Life and Times of Doc Pomus Paperback – 16 Aug 2007
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'Full of the most amazing characters and is all told in a warm, dreamlike tone. Highly recommended.'
-- Word Magazine
'Halberstadt does a good job at recreating the gritty urban ambience of Pomus's chaotic existence...a lively biography.'
-- Sunday Times
'Halberstadt's concise, evocative biography...with material for a film-noir plot on every page ... splendid.'
-- Christopher Hawtree, Daily Telegraph
'The author immaculately fulfils both the "life" and "times" aspects of his brief.'
'a story of a remarkable character with all the pace and verve you would expect from a veteran showbiz journalist'
-- Robert Sandall
`A great biography with the qualities of a novel, by turns
informative, moving and life-affirming.' -- Record Collector
`Tales of street violence, drug addled musicians and corporate betrayal ring familiar in this engaging tribute to an unlikely hero.' -- Word Magazine
The first biography of one of the key figures in the history of rock 'n' roll: the colourful and legendary songwriter Doc Pomus, who wrote such beloved songs as 'Lonely Avenue', 'Save the Last Dance for Me' and 'A Teenager in Love'.See all Product description
Top customer reviews
I did really enjoy reading about Doc, his early career as a blues singer and then his conversion to a song writer, first of blues material and then rock and roll songs. We meet an endless parade of picaresque characters who Doc befriended, many of whom are straight out of a Damon Runyon story, indeed one of them is Runyon's son. We also learn of Doc's writing partners Mort Shuman, Mac Rabernnack and Willy Deville and the way that the music business changed throughout his career, the rise and fall of the Brill Building and the coming of the singer/songwriters. The book also includes an index, acknowledgements, discographical notes and credits and an afterword.
Before the Beatles turned up songs were created by a group of pop composers who sold their songs to record producers who then produced demos to sell to the performers of the day. We used to have music as a class once a week and the teacher would play us a piece of classical music. It was like a general study as there was no exam in it. One lesson in about 1964 stuck with me when the teacher was discussing pop music. He said most pop music was produced by Jews and one kid in the class said that Ringo was of Jewish origin.
It was a revelation to me as all I knew about Jews is that they lived in Israel, I had never met one.
The teacher was right most of the pop music of the 50s and early sixties was produced by usually writing teams of two. After the Beatles first album they wrote all their own material. The Rolling Stones followed suite and Bob Dylan was credited with bringing down the Brill Building. This was where all the famous writing teams worked.
Pomus Shuman were second only to Lieber and Stoller for the number of hits they produced in the 50s and early 60s.
The story is amazing that a crippled Jewish bloke could first become a blues singer and then had a sparkling career as a song writer. He had his most successful time whilst he was with Mort Shuman but he went to Europe where he was feted and had great success.I learnt that he had a big French hit that I had not heard before Le Lac Majeur and with the beauty of Youtube I was able to listen to it and the French were right it is a great song that I missed.
Similarly when I was young in 1956 we did not have any Ray Charles in our house so I was able to catch up on Lonely Avenue another great song. John Lennon claimed it was the first song that the Beatles rehearsed
If you are a fan of fifties and sixties pop this is the book for you. I was impossible at the time to get any information on these subjects. It wasn't regarded as a suitable subject for television or the more serious newspapers. I only knew their names from reading writing credits on records
It has all changed now as television,radio and newspapers will tell you the ins and outs of every obscure self proclaimed genius in the pop industry. They will regale you with their inspirations their working method and what they have for breakfast. I want to hear about Lennon and McCartney, Pomus Shuman, Lieber and Stoller, Greenwich Barry,Goffin and King and Weil and Mann. These people were geniuses not some dopey bugger who has a couple hits and disappears.
It is as though the media is trying to make up for ignoring the greats and now want to find a genius under every stone so that they can say they saw them first.
Obviously I can't check the truth of anything that has been written but when a howler turns up such as calling the Dagenham Girl Pipers a group from Scotland page 164 but I suppose we can let him off as I assume he is an American.
There is only one Andy Williams song I really like and it was written by Pomus Shuman Can't Get used to losing you. It also seems that Andy Williams doesn't like it.
Great book for pop fans. I am moving on to Lieber and Stoller.
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