Sometimes it doesn’t take more than a little humming and a couple of do and da’s, to realize the genius potential behind a demo working sketch.
George Francis (Shadow) Morten, was one of the true greats within the girl group-era, an American pop record producer and songwriter, best known for his work with The Shangri-Las on hit singles such as ‘Leader Of The Pack’, and ‘Remember (Walking In The Sand)’.
Making his way to the top of the infamous Brill Building – the hit-parading song-factory of the time – Morton, a staff producer for Red Bird Records, was nicknamed ‘Shadow’ by record company executive George Goldner, simply because his whereabouts could never be pinned down. He was a key point in creating the girl group sound of the mid-1960s, by writing and producing hit teen melodramas for the Shangri-Las and The Goodies. Just listen to songs like ‘I Can Never Go Home Anymore’, ‘Give Him A Great Big Kiss’, ‘Past, Present And Future’ and ‘Sophisticated Boom Boom’, and you’ll find how they cut deeper than almost any other singles from that magical era – an era which celebrated the wild flames of youth, en route through joy and broken hearts.
The Pussycats version of the song.
While the seventies saw him successfully produce songs and albums for bands such as Vanilla Fudge, Iron Butterfly and the New York Dolls, the eighties saw Morton vanish from the music industry – during this period it is said, that he was also treated for alcoholism at the Betty Ford Centre.
Shadow Morton died on February 14, 2013 in Laguna Beach, California after a year-long battle with cancer. He was surrounded by his family, along with ex-wife and best friend Lois Morton.
So next time you see a shadow in the clouds, stick this on and remember the legend that is, George (Shadow) Morton.
Words: Anders Knudsen