Have you ever wondered who wrote this or that melody? What was the author’s inspiration? What may have influenced a particular song? In the case of this documentary, you’ll learn about a particular songwriter who few know, but many know his songs and enjoyed them throughout the years.
American songwriting bloomed in the mid 50’s and mid 60’s with the wave of teenage energy that swept the United States. Contrary to past decades, music then received an influx of melodies and rhythms that permeated the culture and influenced people’s lives for decades to come. Still today, we listen to them. In New York, the Brill Building housed most of the top music publishers’ offices in this nation. Some of the most talented songwriters and musicians there, produced many unforgettable songs. One of those was Doc Pomus, whose real name was Jerome Solon Felder. This 2012 documentary tells his story.
He contracted polio when he was 6 years old and depended on crutches for the rest of his life. As a result, he couldn’t play baseball, jump, or dance like the others in his Brooklyn neighborhood. Nevertheless, turning on the radio one day, he got hooked on the blues. Soon, turning into an enthusiastic singer and eventually an important songwriter, at 17, he was known by his peers as “the only poor crippled fat Jewish teenager blues singer” with a name int he club marquees. This is how he began his career.
The story is revealed by directors Peter Mieller and Will Hechter through old interviews, family recollections, photographs, and his fellow musicians’ warm memories of how he found his salvation in music and shared his joy with the world. By now you must be wondering: which songs is he responsible for? Here are the most popular: Save The Last Dance For Me, A Teenager In Love, This Magic Moment, Viva Las Vegas, A Mess Of Blues, There Must Be A Better World Somewhere, His Latest Flame.
Maybe, his best lyrics, without music still, appear at the end of this film where he leaves us with a message of hope to endure life’s hardships.