Can't Get Used To Losing You - The Untold Story Of Pomus And Shuman

Episodes

EpisodeFirst
Broadcast
Comments
01

0120101101

Singer Andy Williams salutes one of American pop music's greatest ever songwriting teams - Doc Pomus and Mort Shuman - whose songs shaped the musical landscape from the early days of rock 'n' roll, through to the height of the swinging 60s.

They've been described as the ultimate "odd couple" yet the physically challenged blues shouter and the rebellious philosophy student became one of the most successful songwriting partnerships of the modern era.

They composed over 500 songs, including Can't Get Used to Losing You, Viva Las Vegas, Suspicion, Surrender, Sweets for My Sweet, Save the Last Dance for Me, and Lonely Avenue.

They collaborated with musical heavyweights Leiber & Stoller and Phil Spector, as well as writing hits for some of the biggest names in pop music including Andy Williams, Elvis Presley [despite penning more than a dozen hit singles for Elvis, the pair never met him], Ray Charles, The Drifters, Ben E King, Bobby Darin, The Searchers, The Beach Boys, The Hollies, Dusty Springfield, Janis Joplin, David Bowie, Dionne Warwick, Robert Plant, Dr John and B.B.

King.

Born Jerome Felder, Doc Pomus suffered polio as a child and was later confined to a wheelchair.

Doc's brother Raoul Felder tells how as a teenager, Jerome became this hip midnight character Doc Pomus, sneaking out of the house on his crutches, going to bars in the roughest neighbourhoods, where he would sing to pay for his beer.

As a blues shouter, Doc was well respected on the circuit and counted jazz and blues legends Duke Ellington, Billie Holiday, Ray Charles and Big Joe Turner among his friends.

Mort Shuman, eleven years Doc's junior, joined him in the 50s to pen their first breakthrough hit, Teenager In Love, for Dion & The Belmonts.

Doc knew Mort had his finger on the pulse (as far as the pop market was concerned) and recognising his genius for music, soon made him a full partner.

Doc's disability coloured his work throughout his life; most notably in his solo hit for Ray Charles, Lonely Avenue, and also in the lyrics for Save The Last Dance For Me, which he scribbled at his wedding reception when he was unable to dance with his new bride.

Mort's youthful edge and passion for mambo music, meanwhile, gave their hits a vibrancy which is still evident today.

Part one closes with the advent of the 60s, when the cracks began to show in the partnership.

The decade also heralded a sea change within the pop industry, where a new breed of singer-songwriter in the guise of Bob Dylan sounded the death knell for the Brill Building writers.

The series features interviews with Doc's daughter Sharyn Felder; his brother Raoul Felder; his former wife actress Willi Burke; and Mort Shuman's widow Maria Pia Shuman; all of whom give an insight into why the pair worked so well together.

Alex Halberstadt, the author of Doc's biography, describes their place in musical history; a legacy which Mort's friend, writer Ray Connolly, is clear about: "..without Pomus & Shuman we wouldn't have had Lennon and McCartney, they were that important."

There is archive material from Pomus and Shuman themselves, as well as Ben E.

King (The Drifters), singer Dion Di Mucci, Jack Good (TV producer), Jerry Leiber (songwriter/record producer) and lyricist Don Black.

And, of course, there will be the music, including Elvis Presley's outtakes of Suspicion and Little Sister), and early Pomus & Shuman demos of Teenager in Love and the Elvis classic (Marie's The Name) His Latest Flame.

Singer Andy Williams salutes one of American pop music's greatest ever songwriting teams.

0120101101

Singer Andy Williams salutes one of American pop music's greatest ever songwriting teams - Doc Pomus and Mort Shuman - whose songs shaped the musical landscape from the early days of rock 'n' roll, through to the height of the swinging 60s.

They've been described as the ultimate "odd couple" yet the physically challenged blues shouter and the rebellious philosophy student became one of the most successful songwriting partnerships of the modern era.

They composed over 500 songs, including Can't Get Used to Losing You, Viva Las Vegas, Suspicion, Surrender, Sweets for My Sweet, Save the Last Dance for Me, and Lonely Avenue.

They collaborated with musical heavyweights Leiber and Stoller and Phil Spector, as well as writing hits for some of the biggest names in pop music including Andy Williams, Elvis Presley [despite penning more than a dozen hit singles for Elvis, the pair never met him], Ray Charles, The Drifters, Ben E King, Bobby Darin, The Searchers, The Beach Boys, The Hollies, Dusty Springfield, Janis Joplin, David Bowie, Dionne Warwick, Robert Plant, Dr John and B.B.

King.

Born Jerome Felder, Doc Pomus suffered polio as a child and was later confined to a wheelchair.

Doc's brother Raoul Felder tells how as a teenager, Jerome became this hip midnight character Doc Pomus, sneaking out of the house on his crutches, going to bars in the roughest neighbourhoods, where he would sing to pay for his beer.

As a blues shouter, Doc was well respected on the circuit and counted jazz and blues legends Duke Ellington, Billie Holiday, Ray Charles and Big Joe Turner among his friends.

Mort Shuman, eleven years Doc's junior, joined him in the 50s to pen their first breakthrough hit, Teenager In Love, for Dion and The Belmonts.

Doc knew Mort had his finger on the pulse (as far as the pop market was concerned) and recognising his genius for music, soon made him a full partner.

Doc's disability coloured his work throughout his life; most notably in his solo hit for Ray Charles, Lonely Avenue, and also in the lyrics for Save The Last Dance For Me, which he scribbled at his wedding reception when he was unable to dance with his new bride.

Mort's youthful edge and passion for mambo music, meanwhile, gave their hits a vibrancy which is still evident today.

Part one closes with the advent of the 60s, when the cracks began to show in the partnership.

The decade also heralded a sea change within the pop industry, where a new breed of singer-songwriter in the guise of Bob Dylan sounded the death knell for the Brill Building writers.

The series features interviews with Doc's daughter Sharyn Felder; his brother Raoul Felder; his former wife actress Willi Burke; and Mort Shuman's widow Maria Pia Shuman; all of whom give an insight into why the pair worked so well together.

Alex Halberstadt, the author of Doc's biography, describes their place in musical history; a legacy which Mort's friend, writer Ray Connolly, is clear about: "..without Pomus and Shuman we wouldn't have had Lennon and McCartney, they were that important."

There is archive material from Pomus and Shuman themselves, as well as Ben E.

King (The Drifters), singer Dion Di Mucci, Jack Good (TV producer), Jerry Leiber (songwriter/record producer) and lyricist Don Black.

And, of course, there will be the music, including Elvis Presley's outtakes of Suspicion and Little Sister), and early Pomus and Shuman demos of Teenager in Love and the Elvis classic (Marie's The Name) His Latest Flame.

Singer Andy Williams salutes one of American pop music's greatest ever songwriting teams.

Singer Andy Williams salutes one of American pop music's greatest ever songwriting teams - Doc Pomus and Mort Shuman - whose songs shaped the musical landscape from the early days of rock 'n' roll, through to the height of the swinging 60s.

They've been described as the ultimate "odd couple" yet the physically challenged blues shouter and the rebellious philosophy student became one of the most successful songwriting partnerships of the modern era. They composed over 500 songs, including Can't Get Used to Losing You, Viva Las Vegas, Suspicion, Surrender, Sweets for My Sweet, Save the Last Dance for Me, and Lonely Avenue.

They collaborated with musical heavyweights Leiber & Stoller and Phil Spector, as well as writing hits for some of the biggest names in pop music including Andy Williams, Elvis Presley [despite penning more than a dozen hit singles for Elvis, the pair never met him], Ray Charles, The Drifters, Ben E King, Bobby Darin, The Searchers, The Beach Boys, The Hollies, Dusty Springfield, Janis Joplin, David Bowie, Dionne Warwick, Robert Plant, Dr John and B.B. King.

Born Jerome Felder, Doc Pomus suffered polio as a child and was later confined to a wheelchair. Doc's brother Raoul Felder tells how as a teenager, Jerome became this hip midnight character Doc Pomus, sneaking out of the house on his crutches, going to bars in the roughest neighbourhoods, where he would sing to pay for his beer. As a blues shouter, Doc was well respected on the circuit and counted jazz and blues legends Duke Ellington, Billie Holiday, Ray Charles and Big Joe Turner among his friends.

Mort Shuman, eleven years Doc's junior, joined him in the 50s to pen their first breakthrough hit, Teenager In Love, for Dion & The Belmonts. Doc knew Mort had his finger on the pulse (as far as the pop market was concerned) and recognising his genius for music, soon made him a full partner.

Doc's disability coloured his work throughout his life; most notably in his solo hit for Ray Charles, Lonely Avenue, and also in the lyrics for Save The Last Dance For Me, which he scribbled at his wedding reception when he was unable to dance with his new bride. Mort's youthful edge and passion for mambo music, meanwhile, gave their hits a vibrancy which is still evident today.

Part one closes with the advent of the 60s, when the cracks began to show in the partnership. The decade also heralded a sea change within the pop industry, where a new breed of singer-songwriter in the guise of Bob Dylan sounded the death knell for the Brill Building writers.

The series features interviews with Doc's daughter Sharyn Felder; his brother Raoul Felder; his former wife actress Willi Burke; and Mort Shuman's widow Maria Pia Shuman; all of whom give an insight into why the pair worked so well together. Alex Halberstadt, the author of Doc's biography, describes their place in musical history; a legacy which Mort's friend, writer Ray Connolly, is clear about: "..without Pomus & Shuman we wouldn't have had Lennon and McCartney, they were that important."

There is archive material from Pomus and Shuman themselves, as well as Ben E. King (The Drifters), singer Dion Di Mucci, Jack Good (TV producer), Jerry Leiber (songwriter/record producer) and lyricist Don Black. And, of course, there will be the music, including Elvis Presley's outtakes of Suspicion and Little Sister), and early Pomus & Shuman demos of Teenager in Love and the Elvis classic (Marie's The Name) His Latest Flame.

Singer Andy Williams salutes one of American pop music's greatest ever songwriting teams.

02 LAST20101108

Singer Andy Williams continues to celebrate one of American pop music's greatest ever songwriting teams - Doc Pomus and Mort Shuman - whose songs shaped the musical landscape from the early days of rock 'n' roll, through to the height of the swinging 60s.

Part two picks up the story in 1963, at the height of their fame, and opens with Can't Get Used to Losing You which not only revived Andy Williams' career, but turned out to be one of his biggest hits.

As the 60s progressed, the cracks in their partnership began to show.

Mort Shuman, seduced by the British Invasion, decided swinging London was more his scene, while Doc, who struggled to walk on crutches and hated travelling, was forced to stay in New York.

Mort also collaborated with Philadelphia soul producer Jerry Ragovoy and signed to Andrew Loog Oldham's Immediate Records in the UK.

Inevitably, he spent less time with his old partner and the Pomus & Shuman hits began to dry up.

Mort proved to be a huge hit in France, translating the works of Jacques Brel, as well as writing and starring in the stage musical, Jacques Brel Is Alive And Well And Living In Paris, which became a long-running musical staged around the world.

He became a star in his own right; his hit single, Le Lac Majeur, remains one of the biggest-selling records in France.

Mort was also a prolific composer, scoring 15 soundtracks during his time in France.

While Mort's star was on the ascent, Doc's appeared to be on the decline.

In one week, a bad fall left the already crippled Doc confined to a wheelchair, Mort told him he was leaving to go to France for good, and Doc's wife Willi filed for divorce.

Following the break up, Doc was forced to turn to gambling as a way to make ends meet, hosting poker schools at his apartment.

However, the death of Elvis in 1977 brought about a resurgence in record sales of Presley material, and once again royalties come flooding in.

Doc's daughter Sharyn tells how her Dad remained a much-loved and well respected figure in the music industry, and even Bob Dylan turned to him for help when he had writers block.

John Lennon was also an admirer and became friends with Doc when he lived in New York.

Lennon and McCartney were also fans of and John Lennon told Doc that they used a musical phrase from Save the Last Dance For Me in their classic, Hey Jude.

We also hear about Doc's philanthropic side; he regularly held writers' workshops for budding musicians in his apartment, which attracted guests like Lou Reed, Robert Plant, Tom Waits and Leonard Cohen.

He also worked tirelessly with the Rhythm and Blues Foundation where he successfully fought to recover royalties owed to elderly black singers, who in many cases were living in abject poverty.

Doc was the first white recipient of the R&B Foundation's Pioneer Award.

Pomus & Shuman received many accolades and awards and were inducted into both the Songwriters and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Doc also received a Grammy for the B.B.

King song There Must Be A Better World Somewhere.

Despite their age difference Pomus & Shuman died within months of each other in 1991.

This programme features interviews with Doc's daughter Sharyn Felder, his brother, celebrity divorce lawyer Raoul Felder, Doc's former wife, actress Willi Burke, and Mort Shuman's widow Maria Pia Shuman.

Additional contributors include biographer Alex Halberstadt, and Mort's friend, writer Ray Connolly.

There is archive material from Pomus and Shuman themselves, as well as singer Dion Di Mucci, Jerry Leiber (songwriter/record producer), lyricist Don Black and Lou Reed.

And, of course, there will be the music, including Andy Williams, Elvis Presley, The Beach Boys, Small Faces, Dusty Springfield, David Bowie, Janis Joplin, Dionne Warwick, The Honeydrippers (featuring Robert Plant), Bob Dylan, Michael Buble, and Mort's original demo version of Viva Las Vegas.

Andy Williams celebrates one of American pop music's greatest ever songwriting teams.

02 LAST20101108

Singer Andy Williams continues to celebrate one of American pop music's greatest ever songwriting teams - Doc Pomus and Mort Shuman - whose songs shaped the musical landscape from the early days of rock 'n' roll, through to the height of the swinging 60s.

Part two picks up the story in 1963, at the height of their fame, and opens with Can't Get Used to Losing You which not only revived Andy Williams' career, but turned out to be one of his biggest hits.

As the 60s progressed, the cracks in their partnership began to show.

Mort Shuman, seduced by the British Invasion, decided swinging London was more his scene, while Doc, who struggled to walk on crutches and hated travelling, was forced to stay in New York.

Mort also collaborated with Philadelphia soul producer Jerry Ragovoy and signed to Andrew Loog Oldham's Immediate Records in the UK.

Inevitably, he spent less time with his old partner and the Pomus and Shuman hits began to dry up.

Mort proved to be a huge hit in France, translating the works of Jacques Brel, as well as writing and starring in the stage musical, Jacques Brel Is Alive And Well And Living In Paris, which became a long-running musical staged around the world.

He became a star in his own right; his hit single, Le Lac Majeur, remains one of the biggest-selling records in France.

Mort was also a prolific composer, scoring 15 soundtracks during his time in France.

While Mort's star was on the ascent, Doc's appeared to be on the decline.

In one week, a bad fall left the already crippled Doc confined to a wheelchair, Mort told him he was leaving to go to France for good, and Doc's wife Willi filed for divorce.

Following the break up, Doc was forced to turn to gambling as a way to make ends meet, hosting poker schools at his apartment.

However, the death of Elvis in 1977 brought about a resurgence in record sales of Presley material, and once again royalties come flooding in.

Doc's daughter Sharyn tells how her Dad remained a much-loved and well respected figure in the music industry, and even Bob Dylan turned to him for help when he had writers block.

John Lennon was also an admirer and became friends with Doc when he lived in New York.

Lennon and McCartney were also fans of and John Lennon told Doc that they used a musical phrase from Save the Last Dance For Me in their classic, Hey Jude.

We also hear about Doc's philanthropic side; he regularly held writers' workshops for budding musicians in his apartment, which attracted guests like Lou Reed, Robert Plant, Tom Waits and Leonard Cohen.

He also worked tirelessly with the Rhythm and Blues Foundation where he successfully fought to recover royalties owed to elderly black singers, who in many cases were living in abject poverty.

Doc was the first white recipient of the R&B Foundation's Pioneer Award.

Pomus and Shuman received many accolades and awards and were inducted into both the Songwriters and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Doc also received a Grammy for the B.B.

King song There Must Be A Better World Somewhere.

Despite their age difference Pomus and Shuman died within months of each other in 1991.

This programme features interviews with Doc's daughter Sharyn Felder, his brother, celebrity divorce lawyer Raoul Felder, Doc's former wife, actress Willi Burke, and Mort Shuman's widow Maria Pia Shuman.

Additional contributors include biographer Alex Halberstadt, and Mort's friend, writer Ray Connolly.

There is archive material from Pomus and Shuman themselves, as well as singer Dion Di Mucci, Jerry Leiber (songwriter/record producer), lyricist Don Black and Lou Reed.

And, of course, there will be the music, including Andy Williams, Elvis Presley, The Beach Boys, Small Faces, Dusty Springfield, David Bowie, Janis Joplin, Dionne Warwick, The Honeydrippers (featuring Robert Plant), Bob Dylan, Michael Buble, and Mort's original demo version of Viva Las Vegas.

Andy Williams celebrates one of American pop music's greatest ever songwriting teams.

Singer Andy Williams continues to celebrate one of American pop music's greatest ever songwriting teams - Doc Pomus and Mort Shuman - whose songs shaped the musical landscape from the early days of rock 'n' roll, through to the height of the swinging 60s.

Part two picks up the story in 1963, at the height of their fame, and opens with Can't Get Used to Losing You which not only revived Andy Williams' career, but turned out to be one of his biggest hits. As the 60s progressed, the cracks in their partnership began to show. Mort Shuman, seduced by the British Invasion, decided swinging London was more his scene, while Doc, who struggled to walk on crutches and hated travelling, was forced to stay in New York. Mort also collaborated with Philadelphia soul producer Jerry Ragovoy and signed to Andrew Loog Oldham's Immediate Records in the UK. Inevitably, he spent less time with his old partner and the Pomus & Shuman hits began to dry up.

Mort proved to be a huge hit in France, translating the works of Jacques Brel, as well as writing and starring in the stage musical, Jacques Brel Is Alive And Well And Living In Paris, which became a long-running musical staged around the world. He became a star in his own right; his hit single, Le Lac Majeur, remains one of the biggest-selling records in France. Mort was also a prolific composer, scoring 15 soundtracks during his time in France.

While Mort's star was on the ascent, Doc's appeared to be on the decline. In one week, a bad fall left the already crippled Doc confined to a wheelchair, Mort told him he was leaving to go to France for good, and Doc's wife Willi filed for divorce. Following the break up, Doc was forced to turn to gambling as a way to make ends meet, hosting poker schools at his apartment. However, the death of Elvis in 1977 brought about a resurgence in record sales of Presley material, and once again royalties come flooding in.

Doc's daughter Sharyn tells how her Dad remained a much-loved and well respected figure in the music industry, and even Bob Dylan turned to him for help when he had writers block. John Lennon was also an admirer and became friends with Doc when he lived in New York. Lennon and McCartney were also fans of and John Lennon told Doc that they used a musical phrase from Save the Last Dance For Me in their classic, Hey Jude.

We also hear about Doc's philanthropic side; he regularly held writers' workshops for budding musicians in his apartment, which attracted guests like Lou Reed, Robert Plant, Tom Waits and Leonard Cohen. He also worked tirelessly with the Rhythm and Blues Foundation where he successfully fought to recover royalties owed to elderly black singers, who in many cases were living in abject poverty. Doc was the first white recipient of the R&B Foundation's Pioneer Award.

Pomus & Shuman received many accolades and awards and were inducted into both the Songwriters and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Doc also received a Grammy for the B.B. King song There Must Be A Better World Somewhere. Despite their age difference Pomus & Shuman died within months of each other in 1991.

This programme features interviews with Doc's daughter Sharyn Felder, his brother, celebrity divorce lawyer Raoul Felder, Doc's former wife, actress Willi Burke, and Mort Shuman's widow Maria Pia Shuman. Additional contributors include biographer Alex Halberstadt, and Mort's friend, writer Ray Connolly. There is archive material from Pomus and Shuman themselves, as well as singer Dion Di Mucci, Jerry Leiber (songwriter/record producer), lyricist Don Black and Lou Reed. And, of course, there will be the music, including Andy Williams, Elvis Presley, The Beach Boys, Small Faces, Dusty Springfield, David Bowie, Janis Joplin, Dionne Warwick, The Honeydrippers (featuring Robert Plant), Bob Dylan, Michael Buble, and Mort's original demo version of Viva Las Vegas.

Andy Williams celebrates one of American pop music's greatest ever songwriting teams.