was a key architect in creating the sound of the famous girl groups of the mid-'60s. After the demise of Red Bird,
When the wildly successful production team of Lieber
decided to leave Atlantic Records in 1964, opting to form their own label, they enlisted the help of some of the top names in the business, including A&R wizard George Goldner
and Brill Building songwriters Ellie Greenwich
and Jeff Barry
. Included in that team was eccentric producer Shadow Morton
. It was Morton
who, as Red Bird's chief producer, was instrumental in the success of the short-lived label. He juxtaposed teen lyrics against a mixture of pop and R&B designed to appeal to both the black and white youth marketa. This was done to greatest effect with the girl group the Shangri-Las
. Producing all three of their Top Ten hits -- "Remember (Walking In the Sand)," "I Can Never Go Home Anymore" and the classic "Leader of the Pack" -- Morton's
production work, which included brilliant sound effects and inventive percussion, carried the Shangri-Las
to girl-group history. For a relative newcomer to the industry, Morton's
studio expertise, particularly on the mini-opera "Leader of the Pack," was filled with a brilliance that rivaled his own bosses' production work.
The Red Bird days are seen as Morton's
claim to fame, yet after the label's demise in the late '60s, he did go on to produce the New York Dolls
and Isis in the '70s. In recent years, Morton
lost a lawsuit he filed against Polygram for what he felt was unauthorized use of the Shangri-Las' master tapes for the 1990 film Good Fellas.