An anecdote from the New York Times' obit:

In 1964 he paid a call on Ms. Greenwich, an acquaintance from Long Island musical circles. She had hit the big time — working for the producer-songwriters Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller in the Brill Building, Manhattan’s vaunted hive of composers and lyricists.

Also in the office that day, working quietly at the piano, was Mr. Barry, Ms. Greenwich’s husband and collaborator.

“My Brooklyn alcoholic paranoia kicked in,” Mr. Morton recalled in an interview with Vanity Fair in 2001. “I saw a guy sitting with his back to me, ignoring me — and being very impolite.”

As Mr. Morton rose to leave, Mr. Barry turned to him. “Just what is it you do for a living?” he asked.

“I’m a songwriter — like you,” Mr. Morton replied, with full Brooklyn braggadocio.

“What kind of songs?”

“Hit songs.”


“Remember” was the first attempt at songwriting for Morton, who did not play an instrument or read music. It reached No. 5 on the Hot 100. He would become chief producer of Lieber and Stoller’s Red Bird label and went on to work on other mid-60s hits for the Shangri-Las including “I Can Never Go Home Anymore” and their best known song “Leader of the Pack.”

This video is of various people around Morton at the time of his hitmaking, talking about the man and his work. Below, his two most-famous tunes.

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