Skip to comments.Shadow Morton, producer of "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida" dies
Posted on 02/15/2013 4:22:03 PM PST by LS
George "Shadow" Morton (b. 9/3/1940), the innovative record producer associated with Phil Spector, died yesterday. Morton had visited Ellie Greenwich at the Brill Building when he heard songwriter Jeff Barry working on a tune. Morton commented that it wasn't a song, and Barry replied that if Morton was so great, why didn't he show them on of his songs. Morton said he'd return in a week.
Sitting in his car, he wrote "Remember (Walking in the Sand)," which would be a hit by a local girl-group, the Shangri-Las (and an unknown Billy Joel on piano in the recording session). He then wrote "Leader of the Pack" for the girls.
This was all the more amazing because Morton neither read nor wrote musical score nor could he play an instrument!
He followed that with the production of Janis Ian's "Society's Child," one of the first songs ever to deal with interracial love. He worked briefly with Phil Spector, and clearly Spector's influence can be seen in some of his own productions.
In 1967 he encountered a group called the Pidgeons, who renamed themselves Vanilla Fudge. Morton produced their hit, "You Keep Me Hangin' On," as well as their top selling album. But he then steered the group into a poor second album choice, "The Beat Goes On," which was a "rocumentary," interweaving speeches from historical figures with the Sonny and Cher motif, the beat goes on. It was a disaster, and nearly killed Vanilla Fudge.
From there, Morton worked with Iron Butterfly and produced their classic hit, "In-A-Gadda-da-Vida," which he claimed was entirely recorded while the band thought he was repairing the sound board. According to Morton, the band was too tight to play, so he faked a malfunction and told them to practice---hence, the long drum solo.
In 2009, I had the honor of including Shadow in our documentary film, "Rockin' the Wall," about music and the Berlin Wall, as well as two of the members of Vanilla Fudge, Robby Krieger of the Doors, and others.
Last year when I covered the Brill Building composers for the FReeper Friday Canteen, I covered the work that Morton did with the Red Bird label. He wasn’t that old.
I always thought that the Hymn “Garden of Eden” was written by I. Ron Butterfly...
That sounded like rock and or roll.
Didn’t Iron Butterfly’s drummer recently die ?
if i never hear this song, ever again, i’ll be extremely happy.
Once (justifiably) regarded as the worst ever rock album!
In his honor, 18 moments of silence. ;-)
Guess what song WON’T be leaving my mind anytime soon.
You mean “The Beat Goes On,” right? Not Iron Butterfly (which, admittedly, wasn’t great, but was pretty original).
No, I mean Iron Butterfly. The rock critics of the time were unanimous in mocking it. Then came the Grand Funk Railroad, Chuck Berry’s Ding-a-Ling, and after that Frampton Comes Alive, although Having Fun With Elvis on Stage eventually beat them all to the title.
I liked the IB album-—still have some songs on my iPod-—but their sound got old real quick