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Helped launch both Lou Reed and Bette Midler's careers


Though often over-used, the term "founding father" is totally appropriate in describing Doc Pomus' relationship to popular music. Born Jerome Solon Felder in 1925 in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn, he became Doc Pomus in part to shield his middle-class family from his nocturnal activities as a rhythm and blues shouter. For it was as a singer, braced on crutches (Pomus contracted polio at age six), that he entered the world of music which was to become his life.

George's Tavern, a small, smokey Greenwich Village music spot, was the setting for the 18-year-old Pomus' singing debut. His rendition of his life-long idol, Big Joe Turner's "Piney Brown Blues," backed by trumpeter Frankie Newton's band, was successful enough to launch a 10-year career. From 1944 to 1955 Pomus performed in clubs throughout the metropolitan area. Leading a band, which included legendary guitarist Mickey Baker and saxophonist King Curtis, Pomus recorded for the Savoy, Atlantic, Coral and Chess labels. At first, penning songs for his own recordings, he soon became a major song source on the New York scene and a regular at the new Atlantic Records' office, creating classics for Laverne Baker, Ruth Brown, Lil Green, Ray Charles and Big Joe Turner. He enjoyed his first rhythm and blues top ten hit with "Lonely Avenue" by Ray Charles. Hooking up with a team of two other young songwriters, Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, he hit big with the Coasters' "Young Blood."

Pomus, by coincidence, met a talented teenaged fledgling songwriter Mort Shuman, who was dating Pomus' cousin. He took Shuman under his wing and eventually the…

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Discography Highlights

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