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Jan 282016
 

Mort ShumanNovember 2, 1991 – Mort Shuman was born November 12, 1936 in Brooklyn, New York City, of Polish Jewish immigrants and went to Abraham Lincoln High School, subsequently studying music at the New York Conservatory. He became a fan of R&B music and after he met Doc Pomus the two teamed up to compose for Aldon Music at offices in New York City’s Brill Building.

Their songwriting collaboration saw Doc write the lyrics and Shuman the melody, although occasionally they worked on both. Their compositions would be recorded by artists such as Dion, Andy Williams, Bobby Darin, Fabian, The Drifters, and Elvis Presley, among others.

Their most famous songs include “A Teenager in Love”, “Turn Me Loose”, “This Magic Moment”, “Save The Last Dance For Me”, “Little Sister”, “Can’t Get Used to Losing You”, “(Marie’s the Name) His Latest Flame” and “Viva Las Vegas”.

With the advent of the British invasion, they moved to London where they penned songs for a number of British musicians. After the partnership with Doc Pomus ended in 1965, Shuman moved to Paris, France where he wrote songs for the French rocker Johnny Hallyday. He also wrote and sang many songs in French, such as Le Lac Majeur, Allo Papa Tango Charlie, Sha Mi Sha, Un Eté de Porcelaine, Brooklyn by the Sea which became great hits in France.

One of his hits in the early 1970s was “(Il Neige Sur) Le Lac Majeur”. He also wrote a couple of hits in the UK (including one for The Small Faces, “Sha-La-La-La-Lee” written with Kenny Lynch), as well as a musical, Budgie (lyrics by Don Black). With the Welsh songwriter Clive Westlake, he wrote “Here I Go Again”, which was recorded by The Hollies. Billy J. Kramer enjoyed success with another Shuman song, “Little Children”.

In 1968, Shuman had teamed with Eric Blau and adapted the French lyrics of songs by the Belgian composer Jacques Brel used as the basis of the successful off-Broadway production Jacques Brel is Alive and Well and Living in Paris. Some of the songs from the show were subsequently recorded by Scott Walker, including “Jackie” and “Mathilde”. Shuman appeared in both the stage revue and the 1975 film adaptation. This was followed the next year with work on the soundtrack of the film Sex O’Clock U.S.A., which is notable for featuring one of the earliest known gay songs, “You’re My Man,” while another one of his compositions from the soundtrack, “Baby Come On” (billed under the Sex O’Clock U.S.A. name during its chart run) become a modest hit on Billboard’s Disco chart, peaking at number 37 in July 1977. He also did many collaborations with the French singer Mike Brant.

Mort was elected to the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1992.

Shuman died from complications due to a liver operation on November 2, 1991 at age 54, 8 months after his songwriting partner Doc Pomus.