Celebrate Brooklyn is a summer performing arts festival held at the Bandshell in Prospect Park. Tonight the festival featured Hal Willner’s Doc Pomus Project, a tribute to the words and music of the late songwriter.
Doc Pomus was the pen name of Brooklyn native Jerome Felder, who created some of the greatest sounds of the 1950s and 1960s. His songs have been recorded by many stars including Elvis Presley, Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, Led Zeppelin, Jerry Garcia and Ray Charles.
While his name isn’t a household word, Pomus is a legend in the music industry. The evening was organized by music producer Hal Willner and featured Ben E. King, Laurie Anderson, Sharon Jones, Lou Reed, Eric Mingus, Shannon McNally, Jenni Muldaur, Howard Tate, Joel Dorn, Peter Guralnick and more of Pomus’s friends and associates.
The singers relished the chance to present their favorite Pomus numbers: There Must Be a Better World Somewhere was sung by Lou Reed, Hushabye by Shannon McNally, Teenager in Love by Jenni Muldaur, Turn Me Loose by Sharon Jones, Lonely Avenue by Howard Tate, Viva Las Vegas by Joseph Arthur and This Magic Moment by Ben E. King.
In addition to the music, the Project included moments of humor, sweetness and pathos. Pomus contracted polio as a child and afterward depended upon leg braces and crutches. Laurie Anderson read his moving account of the girls who rejected him as a teenaged “cripple” and how the effects of the disease tormented him for the rest of his life.
Despite his personal pain, Doc Pomus was responsible for some of the best and most influential pop songs ever written. His honors include the Songwriter’s Hall of Fame, the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and the Rhythm and Blues Foundation’s Pioneer Award.
Celebrate Brooklyn Schedule
Songwriters Hall of Fame: Doc Pomus
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame: Doc Pomus
Rhythm & Blues Foundation: Pioneer Award Honorees
Wikipedia: Hal Wilner
DapTone Records: Sharon Jones
The Ben E. King Stand By Me Foundation
Wikipedia: Peter Guralnick
Raoul Felder (brother)