Born in Brooklyn, New York, Pomus began listening to the blues after hearing Big Joe Turner on record. He began performing as a teenager, becoming one of the most successful white blues singers of his time. In the 1950s, Pomus began songwriting in order to make enough money to support a wife. He collaborated with Mort Shuman, a pianist. Dion, Bobby Darin and Elvis Presley, among others, recording their compositions.