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.