Leader of the Pack puttermaker
__By Mike Stachura __
Shadowy figure: George Morton was once a caddie at Bethpage. Photo by: Courtesy of George Schowerer and Skip Juried/thehistoryofrecording.com
George (shadow) Morton, the songwriter-producer behind hits like "Leader of the Pack" and "Give Him a Great Big Kiss" for 1960s girl group the Shangri-Las, died two weeks ago at the age of 71. It's safe to assume most of his fans did not know, as his New York Times obituary revealed, that he had embarked on a second career: as a puttermaker.
The New York native and former Bethpage caddie applied for a patent last year and was marketing his design as the Cutter Putter. It has a belly-length shaft and a croquet-mallet-like head that might be nonconforming because of its near-vertical lie angle. But then, Morton was never much of a conformist. Playing no instruments and unable to read music, he told Goldmine Magazine in 1991 that he wrote the Shangri-Las' first hit, "Remember (Walking in the Sand)," in his car on the way to a recording session he had set up despite barely knowing the group and not having a song in hand.