Born Jerome Solon Felder in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn on June 27, 1925, he became “Doc Pomus” both as an identity and as a disguise.
At fifteen, he fell into the blues through the message embedded in Big Joe Turner’s “Piney Brown Blues”; as Doc frequently said, “It was the transformation of my life.”
At eighteen he started hanging out in Greenwich Village, listening to Frankie Newton’s band at George's Tavern, and when the proprietor wanted to throw him out one night for nursing a single beer the whole evening, Doc came up with the perfect alibi.
“I’m a blues singer,” he said. “I’m here to do a song.” The song he sang, without any further ado or preparation, was, naturally, “Piney Brown Blues.”
Photography: Kevin Mazur, WireImage