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Shangri-Las Producer, Songwriter Shadow Morton Dead at 72

Bobby Bank/WireImageGeorge "Shadow" Morton, the producer and songwriter behind the '60s pop gems by the famed girl group The Shangri-Las, died on Thursday at the age of 72, Hits magazine reports.  No cause was given for his death.

Morton co-wrote -- with Ellie Greenwich and Jeff Barry -- The Shangri-Las' chart-topping 1964 classic "Leader of the Pack."  He also composed three other top 20 hits for the group: "Remember (Walkin in the Sand)"  which reached #5 in 1964, "I Can Never Go Home" which hit #6 in 1965 and "Give Him a Great Big Kiss"  which peaked at #18 in 1965.  His dramatic, layered production style was reminiscent of Phil Spector's "Wall of Sound."

Morton also produced Janis Ian's first hit, 1967's "Society's Child (Baby I've Been Thinking)," which told the then-controversial story of an ill-fated interracial romance.  On Friday, Ian commented about his passing on her official Facebook page, writing, "Shadow Morton, who produced 'Society's Child,' 'Leader of the Pack' and other seminal records, is gone.  A sad start to the day."

Among the other artists with whom Morton worked were Iron Butterfly, Vanilla Fudge and The New York Dolls.  In 2006, he was inducted into New York's Long Island Music Hall of Fame.

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