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Rick Shorter (May 1, 1934 - September 1, 2017) was a songwriter, music producer, and author. During the 1960s when he was most active, he produced and arranged for a multitude of artists. They include Ciska Peters, Big Dee Irwin, and Galt MacDermot. His compositions have been covered by Ola & the Janglers, The Five Tornados, Johnny And The Hurricanes, The Liverbirds, The Esquires, Gene Pitney and Burl Ives. He also composed, arranged, and produced "If I Call You By Some Name" which was a hit for The Paupers. In the 1970s, Shorter returned to his faith and, along with his wife Gwen became very active in the Seventh-day Adventist church from which he had drifted away over prior years.

Rick Shorter
Birth nameHerbert Richard Shorter
Born(1934-05-01)May 1, 1934
DiedSeptember 1, 2017(2017-09-01) (aged 83)
California, U.S.
  • Guitar
  • vocals
Associated acts
  • Rick and Lance
  • Rick and Gwen


The son of a clergyman who used to be a jazz guitarist, Shorter came from a Seventh-day Adventist background. By the time he was ten years old, he was singing professionally at gospel camps. He also had his own local radio show while still at junior high.[1][2] His cousin is jazz saxophonist, Wayne Shorter, founding member of the group Weather Report.[3]


Shorter met his wife Gwen in a New York night club on 42nd Street. She was an R&B, Soul singer, actress and model.[4][5] He would become her manager. By July, 1972 they were already engaged.[6][7]

Early yearsEdit

Rick & LanceEdit

In the early 1960s, he was a member of a duo called Rick & Lance which consisted of himself and Lance Lehmberg.[8][9] They played mainly at Greenwich Village.[10] Their first single "Where The Four Winds Blow" bw "Good Buddy" was released in the U.S. on the Bigtop label in 1962. It was also released on the Atlantic label in Japan that year. The following year they released Laura Lee" bw "They Hanged A Certain Man", and later another single, "Evaleena Roll 'Em" bw "Roses And Orchids".[11] "They Hanged A Certain Man" appeared on the Doo-Bop-Jivers, Volume 7 CD album compilation which also featured The Mint Juleps, The Hi-Liters and The Five Keys.[12] Their other recordings have also been included on re-releases of Twirl Records recordings.[13][14] Their single "Where The Four Winds Blow" was a hit in Japan.

Rick & Lance discographyEdit

Title Release info Year Notes
"Where The Four Winds Blow" / "Good Buddy" Bigtop 45-3105 1962
"Laura Lee" / "They Hanged A Certain Man" Bigtop 45-3133 1963
"Evaleena Roll 'Em" / "Roses And Orchids" Bigtop 45-3157 1963

Rick Shorter careerEdit

1960s to 1990sEdit

In the October 2, 1965 edition of Billboard, it was reported that Shorter, who at the time was contracted to Columbia Records, had signed an exclusive writing contract with the Edward B. Marks Music Corp.[15] On the 16th of April, 1966, Shorter was to appear at the New York Community College with Godfrey Cambridge to perform three of his own compositions which were published by E.B. Marks. He was also on the road a week later promoting his new single "Last Thoughts Of A Young Man".[16][17] In October 1966, the Gene Pitney single "Backstage" was climbing up the UK charts with Shorter's blues rocker "Blue Color" as the B side.[18] Also that month, Cashbox had announced that he had renewed his contract with E.B. Marks. He had also written and produced "Love Hides A Multitude of Sins" for The Esquires. His two songs "Funky Butt Hall" and "The Hard Road Back" were due for release.[19] They were released on Columbia single 4-43881 in December 1966.[20]

By 1973, he was back with the Seventh-day Adventist church, and had left his career in popular music.[21][22]


In 2002 some songs were released. One was "9/11 Memorial Song (Should'a Been Home By Now)" which featured his daughter Hope, and featured Christian Shorter on guitar.[23][24] In 2009, "They Called Me G I Joe" was released though Appropriate Records.[25]

Rick Shorter discographyEdit

Title Release info Year Notes
"Don't Cry" / "Can You Tell Me What Town I'm In?" Columbia 4-43406 1965
"City Women" / "Last Thoughts Of A Young Man" Columbia 4-43571 1966
"The Hard Road Back" / "Funky Butt Hall" Columba 4-43881 1966 [26]
"Since Half Past Five" / "Blessed Are The Meek" MGM K13875 1967 [27]

Compositions, production and managementEdit

The PaupersEdit

Shorter composed a mellow folk-influenced tune called "If I Call You By Some Name"[28] for The Paupers. He also produced and arranged another song for the group, "Copper Penny" which was composed by group members Adam Mitchell and Skip Prokop. The single was released on Verve Folkways KF 5033 in December, 1966.[29] Also that month, Billboard announced that the single was predicted to reach the Hot 100 Chart.[30] In January, 1967, the single had already broken out as a hit in Canada.[31] It reached No. 31 on Canada’s RPM chart.[32] In January, 1967, the song peaked at #6 on Toronto's influential radio station CHUM (AM).[33][34] Around March 1967, Shorter produced the debut album Magic People for The Paupers, which they had recorded in New York.[35][36] The quality of Shorters production work for the album was recognized by Hi-Fi Review magazine.[37] The album spent 2 weeks in the charts, peaking at no 178.[38][39][40]

Galt MacDermotEdit

In 1964 Galt MacDermot had relocated to New York from Canada. He first met Shorter through some connections he had. Shorter needed a ska tune for Woody Herman. At that time one of Shorter's roles was gathering studio musicians to record tunes for music publishers. Having heard MacDermot's piano playing, and liking it, he used him to cut demos. The Manhattan musicians introduced to MacDermot by Shorter would become his studio co-musicians over the next few years. Also through Shorter, MacDermot met and got to play with Bernard Purdie.[41] In 1968, his album Hair Pieces was released. Shorter produced and directed the music on the album and also contributed to some of the sound effects.[42][43]

Jackie FollettEdit

Shorter produced and arranged two singles for Jackie Follett. One was "That's A Good Enough Reason" bw "There's A Moment". The A side was composed by Shorter, and the B side was by Follett. It was released on Verve Folkways KF5034 in 1966. It was also released on the M.G.M. Special Products label, cat no. KF 5034. The second single "Am What I Am" bw "Don't Care To" was a double Shorter composition and released on Verve Forecast KF5065 in 1967.[44]

Street and TCBEdit

Street was a rock group that was fronted by singer Anya Cohen. In addition to managing the group, Shorter also wrote some of their material.[45] Cohen was operating a coffee shop in Rochester called the Wee Spot Coffee Shop when she was discovered by Shorter. He set her up with musicians that consisted of guitarists John Williamson and Will Betz. Bassist Michael Lynne, percussionist Alan Camarda and drummer Thomas Chamon.[46] Their single "There's One Kind Favor" bw "Boeing 707" was due for release in May 1968. The single credited to Anya's Street was released on Verve Forecast KF5084. The B side "Boeing 707" was composed by Shorter.[47][48] Their self-titled album was released that year on Verve Forecast FTS-3057. It included 5 Shorter compositions.[49] They released one more single in 1969 on the Traffic Records label, "Apollo... Amen" bw "Why Concern Yourself". Shorter composed both songs as well as producing and arranging the recordings.[50] Traffic Records which was owned by Shorter and Barry Lane. They had entered into a deal in 1969 with RCA to distribute their recordings in Canada. This included recordewd work by Street and another group called TCB.[51][52] Shorter also managed TCB which was previously called Magic and they had their name changed due to other groups with similar names.[53] He produced their album Open For Business which was released in 1970 on the Traffic label.[54] Colleen Peterson who was with the group died in 1996.[55] Shorter had done some production work in 1967 for another band she would later join. The group was the Canadian 3's A Crowd, and Shorter produced three songs which they recorded at Bell Studios.[56]

Other workEdit

In 1968, Shorter was the musical director for the Broadway musical, Hair.[57][58]

In the December 23, 1969 issue of Billboard, it was announced that Shorter and Ashram Associates were producing a one niter gospel show that was to feature Rev. James Cleveland, The Mighty Clouds of Joy, Shirley Caesar, Rev. Cleophus Robinson, Jessy Dixon and the Chicago Community Singers and others.[59]

He wrote the song "Don't Cry" which was released around 1970 or 1971 on the Lionel Records label. The singer was Gwen Simmons who would later become his wife.[60][61][62]

Return to the Seventh-day Adventist churchEdit

Having returned to the church at some stage during the 1970s, Shorter thought hew could use some rock and soul songs and transform them into gospel music, but he realized there couldn't be any compromise with worldly music.[63][64] Having turned his back on the popular music industry, Shorter who had been acquainted artists such as Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix etc., reflected on the scene he had left behind. He warned young people that there was absolutely nothing to that kind of life.[65] Olga Soler was a woman who would end up working for Shorter in his restaurant. She was a former Hair cast member. She was auditioning for a part in an off-Broadway rock musical. Knowing that it wasn't a God friendly scene, Shorter was praying for her that she would leave it behind. Having heard nothing for a few weeks, she went to Tennessee with the intention of coming back in time to do some work for advertising company Batten Barton Durstine and Osborne. The day after she left, someone from the off Broadway musical contacted the restaurant to say that she had landed the lead role. Shorter never passed the info on to her, and later as a Christian she recounted this and said that she was glad he didn't, as she didn't know how things would have turned out.[66]

In the early 1970s, they were running their vegetarian health food store and restaurant called The Beautiful Way, which was located in New York's Greenwich Village. Already Seventh-day Adventists, and in 1973, they were speaking at Adventist conventions.[67] As lay evangelists, they held a week of prayer and they spoke to young people at a Detroit Center church. They also performed some devotional songs.[68]

After living in New York for 35 years, Shorter and his wife moved Southern California where they published religious and health related material.[69] He wrote the book Nine Months Pregnant which was mainly about the ordination of women in the Adventist Church which looked at the possibility of the church being affected by change.[70]


Title Author Release info ISBN Year Notes
Shorter's Health Manual, Vegan Raw Recepies Gwen & Rick Shorter Homeward Publishing ISBN 0938805169 2001 [71]
Thy Nakedness, Lord What Shall I Wear Gwen & Rick Shorter Homeward Publishing ISBN 0938805061 1993
Jewelry, The Spiritualism Connection: Ornaments Gwen & Rick Shorter Homeward Publishing ISBN 0938805185 1997 [72][73]
Nine Months Pregnant--The Seventh-day Adventist Church:
A Women's Ordination Allegory
Rick Shorter Homeward Publishing ISBN 978-0-938805-22-9 2015 [74][75]
Seventh-Day Adventists Believe What? Rick & Gwen Shorter Homeward Publishing ISBN 978-1-483586-40-3 2016 [76]


Rick Shorter suffered a Basilar Artery Stroke in August 2017, and passed away on September 1, 2017. His funeral was held at Central Filipino Seventh-day-Adventist Church in Los Angeles, CA on September 10.[77]


  1. ^ Southern California Connection - Rick & Gwen Shorter, Authors
  2. ^ 45Cat - Rick Shorter, City Women, Catalogue: 4-43571, (Liner notes) Introducing Rick Shorter
  3. ^ Old Times, Winter / Spring 2012 - Page 12 UCC principal's son makes beautiful music - By Nick Krewen
  4. ^ Southern California Connection - Rick & Gwen Shorter, Authors
  5. ^ Dynamic - Rick & Gwen Shorter
  6. ^ The Courier-News, Saturday, July 15, 1972 - Page 18
  7. ^ The News-Palladium, Saturday, January 6, 1973 - Page 4 'Beautiful Way' Owners To Speak From 'Archie' To 'Switchblade'
  8. ^ Catalog of Copyright Entries: Third series Volume 17, Part 5, Number 1 - January - June 1963 - Page 323
  9. ^ - Twirl Records Story Volume 5
  10. ^ Audio Culture, 18 Feb 2016 - The Avengers story - part 1 - Grant Gillanders
  11. ^ 45Cat - Rick And Lance - Discography, All Countries
  12. ^ MusicBrainz - Doo-Bop-Jivers, Volume 7, Track List
  13. ^ Kurrent Music - Rick by Rick & Lance
  14. ^ Deezer - Roses and Orchids
  15. ^ Billboard, October 2, 1965 - Page 6 Mark Inks Shorter
  16. ^ Billboard, April 16, 1966 - Page 36 International News Reports, From The Music Capitals of the World, NEW YORK
  17. ^ Billboard, April 23, 1966 - Page 40 International News Reports, From The Music Capitals of the World, NEW YORK
  18. ^ Billboard, October 22, 1966 - Page 18 Spotlight Singles, Top 60
  19. ^ Cashbox, October 8, 1966 - Page 45 Rick Shorter Re-Inks With E. B. Marks
  20. ^ 45Cat - Rick Shorter - Discography
  21. ^ The Lake Union Herald, May 15, 1973 - Volume LXV, Number 19 - Page 10 TRUTH—BATTLE OR DREAM? - Joyce Jones
  22. ^ Endtime Issues No. 36 - A Closer Look At Rock Music by Samuele Bacchiocchi, Ph. D. Professor of Theology, Andrews University - Page 17 of 23
  23. ^ iTunes - [' 9/11 Memorial Song (Should'a Been Home By Now) (feat. Hope)]
  24. ^ bandcamp - 9/11 MEMORIAL SONG (Should'a Been Home By Now)
  25. ^ iTunes - They Called Me G I Joe
  26. ^ 45Cat - Rick Shorter - Discography
  27. ^ The MGM Labels: 1961-1982, By Michel Ruppli - Page 324 Rick Shorter
  28. ^ .The Canadian Music Hall Of Fame - YORKVILLE STORMS THE CHARTS
  29. ^ 45Cat - The Paupers If I Call You By Some Name, Catalogue: KF 5033
  30. ^ Billboard, Decedmber 31, 1966 - Page 16 SPOTLIGHT SINGLES, CHART Spotlights--Predicted to reach the HOT 100 Chart
  31. ^ Billboard, January 21, 1967 - Page 12 VERVE/FOLKWAYS: Marriage of Folk and Pop
  32. ^ Cashbox Canada, Thu, 10/15/2015 - Proudly Canadian: The Paupers
  33. ^ Canuckistan Music - The Paupers, Magic People - Michael Panontin
  34. ^ Chart Hits Of All Decades - RADIO STATION CHUM (TORONTO) WEEKLY CHARTS FOR 1967
  35. ^ Canadian Bands - The Paupers
  36. ^ Cashbox Canada, Thu, 15-10-2015 - Proudly Canadian: The Paupers
  37. ^ Hi Fi / Stereo Review, Volume 19 - Page 148 THE PAUPERS Magic People
  38. ^ Canadian Bands - The Paupers
  39. ^ Cashbox Canada, Thu, 15-10-2015 - Proudly Canadian: The Paupers
  40. ^ - The Paupers, Chart History
  41. ^ World of Beats - INTERVIEW: GALT MACDERMOT
  42. ^ Discogs - Galt MacDermot – Hair Pieces
  43. ^ Billboard, May 18, 1968 - Page 5 MacDermot Cuts Record on Verve
  44. ^ 45Ct - Jackie Follett - Discography
  45. ^ Record World, February 2, 1969 - Page 16 The Underground Surfaces at MGM - By PHIL MORRIS MGM RECORDS
  46. ^ New Groove '69,, January 10, 1969 - VERVE/FORECAST'S "STREET" PAVED WITH TALENT, From Coffee Shop to Album Cover
  47. ^ Billboard, May 11, 1969 - Page 12 Talent, Signings
  48. ^ Discogs - Anya's Street – There's One Kind Favor
  49. ^ Discogs - Street* – Street
  50. ^ 45Cat - Street - Apollo ... Amen Catalogue: TR-1001
  51. ^ Billboard, August 16, 1969 - Page 88 RCA Canada to Handle Traffic
  52. ^ Discogs - Traffic Records (5)
  53. ^ Schenectady Gazette, May 10, 1969 - Page 20 In the Groove by Mike Hyland
  54. ^ Discogs - TCB (4) – Open For Business
  55. ^ Billboard, October 26, 1996 - Page 78 Update, LIFELINES, DEATHS
  56. ^ The Canadian Pop Encyclopedia - Artist: 3's A Crowd, Biography
  57. ^ Broadway World - Shorter Broadway and Theatre Credits
  58. ^ Playbill - Rick Shorter
  59. ^ Billboard, Dec 1969 - Page 6 General News, Gospel Show Set In N.Y. for Dec. 23
  60. ^ Discogs - Gwen Simmons – Don't Cry
  61. ^ Discogs - Lionel Records (2)
  62. ^ Southern California Connection - Rick & Gwen Shorter, Authors
  63. ^ Advent Review and Sabbath Herald, February 26, 1976 - Page 8 No Compromise
  64. ^ Advent Review and Sabbath Herald, Volume 153, Part 1 - Page 216
  65. ^ Endtime Issues No. 36 - A Closer Look At Rock Music by Samuele Bacchiocchi, Ph. D. Professor of Theology, Andrews University - Page 17 of 23
  66. ^ Redeeming the Screens: Living Stories of Media "Ministers" Bringing the Message of Jesus Chris to the Entertainment Industry, edited by Jeanne C. DeFazio, William David Spencer - 2 Out of Claws of the Predator, How to Avoid Being a Victim of the Entertainment Industry - Olga Soler
  67. ^ The News-Palladium, Saturday, January 6, 1973 - Page 4 'Beautiful Way' Owners To Speak From 'Archie' To 'Switchblade'
  68. ^ The Lake Union Herald, May 15, 1973 - Volume LXV, Number 19 - Page 10 TRUTH—BATTLE OR DREAM? - Joyce Jones
  69. ^ Southern California Connection - Rick & Gwen Shorter, Authors
  70. ^ ADvindicate, May 11, 2015 - The One Project's ecclesiological contribution analyzed - Rick Howard
  71. ^ Homeward Publishing Ministries - Shorter's Health Manual
  72. ^ Black SDA History - Black Seventh-day Adventist Authors, Compiled by Benjamin J. Baker
  73. ^ Homeward Publishing Ministries - Thy Nakedness, Jewelry, Ornaments, Personal Decorations and More]
  74. ^ Southern California Connection - Rick & Gwen Shorter, Authors
  75. ^ - Books, Women's Ordination
  76. ^ Seventh-Day Adventists Believe What?, Rick and Gwen Shorter - Contents
  77. ^ Go Fund Me - Rick Shorter Memorial Fund

External linksEdit