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Songwriter Mickey Lee Lane, 70, dies

Mickey Lee Lane, who was born Sholom Mayer

Mickey Lee Lane, who was born Sholom Mayer Schreiber, who went to high school in Far Rockaway and lived in Lawrence as a teen, died Aug. 18 of lung cancer. He was 70. Photo Credit: Handout, 1964

While cruising the Van Wyck and Long Island expressways with his brother after midnight in 1963, Mickey Lee Lane found his way to brief stardom.

Lane drove while brother Bernard G. Schreiber wrote, and they brainstormed lyrics.

By the end of the jaunt, they had "Shaggy Dog":

"Do the bop, sugar flop 'til you blow your top / Now you stomp, flip-flop and you shake your mop," the song said.

For that, Lane would see his only national hit. The song made it onto Billboard's Top 40 list at spot 38 for one week in November 1964, according to the Billboard Book of Top 40 hits.

Lane, who was born Sholom Mayer Schreiber, who went to high school in Far Rockaway and lived in Lawrence as a teen, died Aug. 18 of lung cancer. He was 70 and had been living in Manhattan for many years.

"He was funny," said younger brother Bernard Schreiber, of Cedarhurst. "He was silly. He was a nut. But he was very smart."

Born in Rochester on Groundhog Day in 1941, Lane showed an early talent for music. At age 8, he earned a scholarship to Eastman School of Music in Rochester. The family moved to Lawrence in 1956 and within a year, Lane formed a band with chums.

He started recording songs with his sister Shonnie and, as the group Mickey and Shonnie Lane, toured. The duo almost signed with Warner Brothers but the contract fell through when Lane's parents refused to let him and his sister move to the West Coast, his brother said.

Through the years, Lane played with society bands, wrote hundreds of songs and toured with Dick Clark, his brother said. He was a rockabilly star who could play the piano, guitar, sax, bass, string bass, drums, autoharp, harmonica and tambourine.

He also started played "Jewish rock" at weddings, and bar and bat mitzvahs. "He took standard, ritualistic-type Jewish songs and he played it to rock and roll," Schreiber said.

From the 1970s to 2000, Lane worked as a recording engineer, helping produce Jewish folk groups including Shlomo Carlebach, The Rabbis' Sons and other entertainers.

In 1994, Lane got a call from a record company in England, telling him he was a hit across the pond and asking if he wanted to release a record there. "He thought it was a hoot and a holler," Schreiber said. "It was crazy -- in a good way."

A compilation of his songs was released in 1996 by British label Rollercoaster Records, and Lane went to England to perform at a four-day concert.

Besides his brother, Bernard, he is survived by brothers, Joel of Lawrence and Sherman Paul "Zal" of Brooklyn.

Lane was predeceased by his sister, Shonnie.

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