Lonely Avenue: The Unlikely Life & Times Of Doc Pomus
As a songwriter, Doc Pomus left an indelible stamp on popular music, with “Lonely Avenue”, “This Magic Moment”, “Save The Last Dance For Me” and “Viva Las Vegas” among his more than 1,000 songs. He worked with a who’s-who of American musicians, from singing with Duke Ellington to co-writing songs with Dave Alvin.
His accomplishments were even more remarkable for having been achieved despite painful disabilities. Stricken with polio as a child, he battled a formidable disease that cruelly left him with “two useless legs, a weak back and a bum shoulder,” biographer Alex Halberstadt observes.
Lonely Avenue is a lively account of Jerome Felder, a native New Yorker who reinvented himself in 1943 as Doc Pomus, aspiring blues singer. Halberstadt captures the thrills and dangers of the world of nightclubs and bars where Pomus learned his craft.
With the advent of rock ‘n’ roll and the rise of R&B, Pomus turned to songwriting. He teamed up with Mort Shuman to pen hits for artists across the musical spectrum, including Elvis Presley, the Drifters, Fabian, and Andy Williams.
Interspersed throughout the book are excerpts from Pomus’ journals that bare his soul and demonstrate a talent for straight prose that rivals his songwriting. Halberstadt uses these writings to create a rich, three-dimensional portrait of a larger-than-life subject.