Friday, June 18, 2021

Friday's Playlist: Songs from the Brill Building

The Brill Building is an Art Deco building in New York City, and is famous for having housed a number of music industry offices where composers and lyricists would write the hits of yesteryear. While not rock and roll exactly, these songwriters' impact on popular music in general cannot be overstated. 

Artists like Gene Pitney, Bobby Darin, Neil Diamond, Lesley Gore, Liza Minelli, Ben E. King...

Composers and songwriters like Marvin Hamlisch, Eddie Snyder or Otis Blackwell, Paul Simon...

Record producers like Phil Spector, Shadow Morton, Steve Tyrell

Partnerships like Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, Burt Bacharach and Hal David, Doc Pomus and Mort Shuman, Neil Sedaka and Howard Greenfield, Gerry Goffin and Carole King, Donal Fagen and Walter Becker...

An impressive collection of hit songs that have become classics of the American repertoire.

This playlist is a slight overview of some of those timeless classics. While some may appear schmaltzy, cheesy even, there is no denying the talent, the craft, the hard work, the creativity that went into producing these artefacts of a bygone era.

Most of the artists on that playlist are long gone. Sadly, there are no notable music offices left in the Brill Building. A CVS pharmacy now occupies its first two floors. Like in the rest of the city, culture has taken a backseat to commerce. But at 1619 Broadway, across from the M&M's store, between a Verizon store and an Applebee's, the building designed by Victor Bark Jr. still stands as a monument of the entertainment industry.

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