Shadow Morton, songwriter and producer from the 1960s, died on Thursday at the age of 71.
Morton was best known for original hit songs like “Leader of the Pack” and “Remember (Walking in the Sand).”
Amy Krakow, a family friend, stated that Morton’s cause of death was cancer, reports The New York Times. The songwriter and producer was a naive genius who played no instrument, couldn’t read music, and created his songs in his head.
During his career, he helped to launch the Shangri-Las, a Queens girl group he introduced, into stardom. The group recorded “Remember” in 1964, mostly on a dare during a session Morton put together. At the time, Morton had never written a song before.
The song was released on the Red Bird Label and launched its way to number five on the Billboard singles chart. Shadow Morton claimed he wrote “Remember” in just 22 minutes.
Along with the Shangri-Las, the songwriter also produced records by Janis Ian and the New York Dolls, notes The Los Angeles Times.
Mark Ronson took to Twitter on Saturday about Shadow Morton’s death, saying the man helped inspire “Back to Black.” The Amy Winehouse album was co-produced by Ronson in 2006.
John Darnielle of the Mountain Goats also wrote about the late producer and songwriter, saying that “plenty of the music [Morton] produced is as eternal as anything gets.”
Shadow Morton was born George Francis Morton in 1941. He first lived in Brooklyn, before his parents moved to Long Island when he was 17. He married Lois Berman, though the couple later divorced. He is survived by three daughters, a sister, and three grandchildren.
At the time of his death, Krakov stated that Shadow Morton had more than 300 songs to his credit, most of which were unrecorded.
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