“[Phil Spector] would change clothes four times a day, and each time he’d have a different gun on to match the outfit.” Doc Pomus Visits Leonard Cohen & Phil Spector Working On Death Of A Ladies’ Man

Doc Pomus and Death Of A Ladies’ Man

Reading “I’m Your Man,” the Leonard Cohen biography by Sylvie Simmons, sometime after publishing a post about Leonard, Doc Pomus, and Save The Last Dance, I came across two references to Doc Pomus.

One was a quote by Hal Willner, who reported that he, then an intern at CBS, and Doc Pomus “loved that record [“Death Of A Ladies’ Man,” the Phil Spector – Leonard Cohen collaboration] …; we used to listen to it all the time.”

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The other alluded to Doc Pomus, “Spector’s friend,” visiting Spector’s home during the time Spector and Cohen were working on Death Of A Ladies’ Man. A bit of research turned up this more extensive description from He’s a Rebel: Phil Spector, Rock and Roll’s Legendary Producer by Mark Ribowsky (Da Capo Press, January 9, 2007):

That Doc Pomus spent a month at Spector’s home in 1977 when Spector and Cohen were engaged in creating “Death Of A Ladies’ Man,” an album Doc Pomus loved and to which he and a young Hal Willner often listened does not, of course, necessarily indicate that the interactions that then took place between the Canadian singer-songwriter and one of the writers of “Save The Last Dance For Me”1 somehow led to Leonard Cohen covering that song during the 2012 Tour.

But it would seem to improve the odds that a personal liaison between the two men influenced, at least indirectly, Leonard Cohen’s choice to add “Save The Last Dance For Me” to his standard concert set list.

Update: In a comment to the original post, Jugurtha Harchaoui wrote

At Goldstar Studios, Doc Pomus took Leonard Cohen aside & exhorted him not to work with Spector – Doc Pomus couldn’t have been more explicit — I haven’t seen this fact mentioned too often in the various accounts because it doesn’t fit into the we’re-all-a-big-family fiction that people like to hear — people always prefer unrealistic fiction?

Bonus: A.K.A Doc Pomus – Official Movie Trailer 2012


Credit Due Department: Photo by Gottlieb, William P. – Library of Congress, Public Domain via Wikipedia

I am republishing selected posts from my former Leonard Cohen site, Cohencentric, here on AllanShowalter.com (these posts can be found at Leonard Cohen). This entry was originally posted Oct 22, 2012 at 1HeckOfAGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric.


  1. It appears there was at least one other set of contacts between the two men. From The Untold Story of Pomus & Shuman: “We also hear about Doc’s philanthropic side; he regularly held writers’ workshops for budding musicians in his apartment, which attracted guests like Lou Reed, Robert Plant, Tom Waits and Leonard Cohen.” [emphasis mine] []

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