Shadow Morton, the songwriter and producer behind such 1960s pop classics as "Remember (Walking in the Sand)" and "Leader of the Pack" -- both recorded by the Shangri-Las -- is dead. According to the New York Times, Morton died Thursday in Laguna Beach; the cause, said a family friend, was cancer. He was 71.
A Brooklyn native who spent his adolescence on
And he did it with the song-factory efficiency that defined the era: Morton claimed he wrote "Remember" in approximately 22 minutes while en route to the studio where the Shangri-Las were to record it. The song, released in 1964, went on to become a top 5 hit and ranked at No. 404 on Rolling Stone's list of the 500 greatest songs of all time.
Beyond the Shangri-Las' other hits (including "Leader of the Pack," which he co-wrote with the great Brill Building veterans Ellie Greenwich and Jeff Barry), Morton also produced records by Janis Ian and the New York Dolls. In 1968 he's said to have unofficially overseen the recording of Iron Butterfly's 17-minute-long "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida."