He may not have been as famous as many of his 1960s musical contemporaries, but Lawrence native Sholom Mayer Schreiber, known professionally as Mickey Lee Lane, cut his own original path as a recording artist.
After a long illness, Schreiber died at Lenox Hill Hospital on March 18. He was 70.
From the beginning he seemed destined to be a musician. Born with perfect pitch, according to his brother Bernie Schreiber, he was awarded a scholarship to study cello and piano at the prestigious Eastman School of Music in upstate Rochester.
In 1956, he and his family moved to Lawrence. His mother was Ida Schreiber and his father, Emanuel, was a cantor, mostly serving at Congregation Kneseth Israel in Far Rockaway.
With in a year, Schreiber formed his first band, the SkyRockers. He played piano and saxophone. Two years later he teamed with his sister Shonnie to record their songs “Toasted Love” and “Daddy’s Little Baby” for Brunswick Records. Known as “Mickey and Shonnie Lane: The Bright and Early Kids,” they toured the Northeast and worked with many of the other top artists of the day, including Della Reese.
“Singing together, Mickey and Shonnie sounded like the Everly Brothers, they danced great together and they had a great look,” said Bernie, who added that a 1959 movie deal with Warner Bros. put together by their manager Kay Twomey fell through when the siblings declined to move to California. Shonnie died in 1987.
Schreiber recorded for Laurie Records in 1960 and released “Dum Dee Dee Dum” and “Night Cap,” a song that received much air play in New York by famed radio personality Murray the K.
Simultaneously, Schreiber played in many Manhattan and Brooklyn clubs and became a top society musician. He performed with some of the top bands and orchestras of the time, in the White House and before society’s who’s who: the Kennedys, Rockefellers, Roosevelts and the DuPonts
“Mickey was the rock and roll soloist (playing guitar) — leading the rocking sets for those ‘twisting’ crowds,” Bernie said. “Mickey was in hot demand. And in his prime, no one was better than Mickey.”
In the early 1960s, Schreiber toured with Dick Clark of “American Bandstand” fame and performed with many of that era’s hit makers, including Neil Sedaka, Roy Orbison, the Four Seasons, Randy and the Rainbows and the Chants from Hicksville.
As a 22-year-old, Schreiber snagged an apprentice day gig as a recording engineer at the Dick Charles Recording Studio in Manhattan in 1963. The knowledge he gained at this studio that was known for its warm sound helped Schreiber engineer his own recording sessions.
He enjoyed some individual success a year later as he recorded “Shaggy Dog” for Philadelphia-based Swan Records. Touring the country and Canada to promote the record he helped it become a top 40 hit.
Schreiber played every instrument on the record as he did on many of his records, including piano, guitar, bass, drums and others. Through the next few years he recorded such songs as “The Senior Class,” “Hey-Sah-Lo-Ney” and “The Zoo.”
Though he didn’t gain the tremendous fame and notoriety of many of his contemporaries, Schreiber did spearhead New York’s new “Jewish Rock,” according to
“Mickey took Jewish standard songs and melodies and incorporated rock and roll riffs, grooves and band beats to wow the crowds,” said Bernie, who noted that many of today’s Jewish band leaders learned how to play this music from Schreiber.
For many years he continued to record, produce and teach. In 1994, Schreiber was contacted by Rollercoaster Records in England due to a resurgence of the Rockabilly style he played. Two years later, Rollercoaster released “Rockin’ On And Beyond.” Schreiber headlined a four-day concert called Hemsby in Norfolk, England, in May
Following Hemsby, Schreiber’s health began to decline, according to Bernie. He continued to care for his three dogs. He remained friends with two former wives: Cynthia Lane and Judy Greenblatt.
Schreiber is survived by his brothers Joel, Zal and Bernie. “He will be missed by all who knew him and loved him,” said