'Leader of the Pack' Songwriter Dies in Laguna Beach

George "Shadow" Morton was 71.

George "Shadow" Morton, who penned several hit songs for famed '60s girl group the Shangri-Las, died of cancer here in Laguna Beach on Feb. 14, the New York Times reported. Morton was 71.

Though Morton's first Shangri-Las smash was "Remember (Walking In the Sand)," his more well-known hit is "Leader of the Pack," (co-penned with Ellie Greenwich and Jeff Barry), a song that's become part of pop music's lexicon of teenage tragedies, in which sonic soap operas are played out in three minutes. (See also: "Last Kiss," "Dead Man's Curve" and "Teen Angel.")

"Pack," for example, has a plot that's essentially, girl-falls-for bad-boy, boy-dies-in-gruesome-accident. The song went to number one, and has been covered by everyone from Twisted Sister to these furry little dudes. ("Remember" has even been tackled by Aerosmith).

Morton eventually turned to producing, where he manned the control board for records by Janis Ian, Vanilla Fudge and the New York Dolls.

He's survived by three daughters, a sister, and three grandchildren.

mocker February 19, 2013 at 07:42 PM
Remember, walking in the sand. A great song, didnt know Morton wrote it till just now. Live n learn. RIP George
Joseph Nicoletti February 20, 2013 at 12:28 AM
i sung demos for shadow at the brill building in the the 60's, i'd take the BMT Subway to Manhattan,I can't believe he lived here all these years blocks away from me.a nice guy and as i remember very creative too, joseph Nicoletti Consulting-Promotions musicbiz@cox,net
Rich Kane February 20, 2013 at 12:29 AM
That's fascinating, Joseph! Small world ...


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