Jerome Felder was born on June 27, 1925. Stricken by polio at age six, Felder spent the rest of his life getting around with the help of crutches or a wheelchair.
He set out to be a blues singer, going by the stage name Doc Pomus, but hadn’t much success.
He married a tall, beautiful Broadway actress named Willi Burke. Due to his physical disability, he was unable to dance with her at their wedding. This inspired him to write a song on the back of his wedding invitation in which the narrator tells his lover that she can dance with any guy who asks her to; however, “If he asks if you’re all alone, can he take you home, you must tell him no. Don’t forget who’s taking you home and in whose arms you’re gonna be. So darling, save the last dance for me.”
Set to music by Pomus’ songwriting partner Mort Shuman, “Save the Last Dance for Me” was recorded by The Drifters in May of 1960. Atlantic Records released as the b-side to the single “Nobody But Me.” Dick Clark played “Save…” on American Bandstand and a hit was born. In October of 1960, the song went to #1 on the Billboard Hot 100, where it spent three weeks.
Pomus died in 1991, but his legacy lives on with his collection of great songs. Here are twenty of them.
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