The Man Behind Some of the Greatest Songs of All Time

A film explores the life of the legendary songwriter Doc Pomus.

More

Everyone knows his songs: “This Magic Moment,” “Viva Las Vegas,” “Teenager in Love,” and “Save the Last Dance for Me.” His friends included John Lennon, Bob Dylan, and Lou Reed. His list of mentored songwriters and musicians is incalculable. But few others know the name, let alone the incredible story, of Doc Pomus.

“I think my brother had every possible thing going against him in the history of the world, from poverty, to illness, to incapacitation. You could not create a worse scenario for failure,” says Raoul Felder, Doc Pomus’s brother. But Pomus would not accept failure. Despite contracting polio at the age of six, Pomus refused to let the illness define his life. “I was going to be the first heavyweight boxing champion on crutches,” says Pomus, “a one-punch knockout killer.” In the end, Pomus chose music as his outlet, but the songs he wrote packed a punch that will almost certainly live on for generations.

In these excerpts from the moving new documentary AKA Doc Pomus, Peter Miller and Will Hechter give us a sneak peek into Pomus’s life and legend. The clips cover John Lennon’s relationship to Pomus’s music, interviews with New Orleans’s musical giant Doctor John, and perhaps most moving, the tale behind the creation of “Save the Last Dance for Me,” a song Pomus wrote for his wife after being unable to dance with her at their own wedding. The film is currently being featured in film festivals and theaters throughout the country.

To learn more about the film visit http://akadocpomus.com/

Jump to comments

Paul Rosenfeld writes and produces for Atlantic Video. His work has also appeared on The Daily Beast and CNN.com.

Get Today's Top Stories in Your Inbox (preview)

Why Do Men Assume They're So Great?

Katty Kay and Claire Shipman, authors of this month's Atlantic cover story, sit down with Hanna Rosin to discuss the power of confidence and how self doubt holds women back. 


Elsewhere on the web

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register. blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

Where Time Comes From

The clocks that coordinate your cellphone, GPS, and more

Video

Computer Vision Syndrome and You

Save your eyes. Take breaks.

Video

What Happens in 60 Seconds

Quantifying human activity around the world

Writers

Up
Down

Just In