The Music Career Of Morton Downey Jr.
Morton Downey Jr. is most often recognized for his television talk shows and politics. Long before he showed his talents and knowledge as a talk host and advocate for issues, Mort racked up a long list of achievements in the music industry both as a performer and a songwriter.
The first song written by Mort that was recorded was Money, Marbles And Chalk in 1948. He followed that with another ten songs between 1948 and 1953 for superstars of that time including Eddie Fisher and Patti Page. Mort's song writing success in the 1950's and 1960's came at a time in popular music when many styles were being sought by performers that ranged from pop to rock and roll to country.
Mort went on to write songs that were performed by Sammy Davis Jr., Pat Boone, Billy Joe Royal and Johnny Tillotson who Mort would build a special friendship with.
When people study music, they often look for points when something historic took place which changed the direction of the industry and the public's interest. Morton Downey Jr. stands on one of those historic points. Two of the hit songs of the Surfer Music Era came about through the talents and guidance of Mort.
Mort opened his doors for the first anthem of surfing...literally. Pipeline by The Chantay's was recorded in Mort's garage in early 1963. The entire production cost $55 and was originally released on Downey Records. Mort wound up selling Pipeline to Dot records for $14,000. Pipeline stayed in the Top 40 for eleven weeks peaking at #4. Pipeline remains one of the most recognized instrumentals in music history.
Following up with his creative success with Pipeline, Morton Downey Jr. played a major role in the production of the song Wipe Out which was recorded by The Surfaris in 1963. Wipe Out spent ten week in the Top 40, peaking at #2.
During his career as a songwriter, Morton Downey Jr. had over three dozen of his songs recorded by other performers. But as you can probably guess, that wasn't good enough for Mort.
Mort The Musical Performer
Morton Downey Jr. came from a heritage of performers so it was a natural that while a success behind the scenes was overshadowed by his desire to succeed in the spotlight.
One of Mort's early hits as a performer came in 1958. Boulevard Of Broken Dreams gave Mort his first exposure on national television appearing with Dick Clark, Ed Sullivan and Jack Paar, who at that time was called television's most outspoken and opinionated talk show host.
Morton Downey Jr. went on to record through the mid 60's and into the early 80's. Mort spent time with some of music's legendary record labels including Cadence Records, which also had The Everly Brothers and Andy Williams, as well as Stax Records which boasted a roster of soul music superstars.
The 60's were a time of change and that held true for Morton Downey Jr. He walked away from the world of music and entered the world of politics. Despite making powerful connections and achieving major successes, Mort would find himself back in the performing spotlight.
Mort returned to the music world with a special focus on country sounds. His work from these years produced patriotic songs including I Believe In America and his interpretation of America The Beautiful as well as chart hits including Green Eyed Girl in 1981. Mort was awarded a Gold Album for Green Eyed Girl.
It was also at this time that Mort moved back into the world of radio. Unlike his first time when he would spin the hits, this time he would hit the spin that people would try to make on the issues, current events and people's lives. It was Mort's career as a radio talk host that once again brought him national attention when The Morton Downey Jr. TV show launched in 1987. In turn, it was that TV show that would bring Morton Downey Jr. back into the recording studio to make Morton Downey Jr. Sings in 1990. That album also brought Mort his second Gold Album
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