Film: AKA Doc Pomus

It’s been a long, slow journey for Doc Pomus — who died in 1991 without being widely known by the public — to become recognized as one of Rock & Roll’s greatest songwriters ever. But his cause has gained much momentum recently.

click to enlarge Mort Shuman (left) and Doc Pomus
Mort Shuman (left) and Doc Pomus

It’s been a long, slow journey for Doc Pomus — who died in 1991 without being widely known by the public — to become recognized as one of Rock & Roll’s greatest songwriters ever. But his cause has gained much momentum recently.

One key element is the recent documentary AKA Doc Pomus, which plays Friday at The Carnegie in Covington as part of the current Cincinnati ReelAbilities Film Festival. It is followed by a tribute concert for Pomus featuring local acts The Hiders, Magnolia Mountain, The Perfect Children and DJ Mowgli.

“Doc’s songs just have a lot of soul,” says Magnolia Mountain’s Mark Utley via email. “That’s why they’ve stood up for so long.”  

The ReelAbilities festival presents movies that highlight the abilities of those considered “disabled.” Pomus was confined to crutches and a wheelchair all his life because of childhood polio and a later accident.

He went on to write the lyrics (often with Mort Shuman providing music) to numerous classic hits by Elvis (“Little Sister”), Ray Charles (“Lonely Avenue”), The Drifters (“This Magic Moment”), Dion (“A Teenager in Love”), The Mystics (“Hushabye”) and many more. He and Shuman were one of the key songwriting teams of the Brill Building in the 1950s and early 1960s, when professionals in cubicles in Manhattan wrote hits for hot young groups and teen idols.

Cincinnati ReelAbilities Film Festival presents AKA DOC POMUS and a tribute concert at 6 p.m. Friday at The Carnegie in Covington. More info and tickets: cincyra.org.


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