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Music meets the Mob in this biographical documentary, narrated by Steven Van Zandt, about the life and career of Bert Berns, the most important songwriter and record producer from the sixties that you never heard of. His hits include "Twist and Shout," "Hang On Sloopy," "Here Comes The Night." and "Piece Of My Heart." He helped launch the careers of Van Morrison and Neil Diamond and produced some of the greatest soul music ever made. Co-Directors Bob Sarles and Brett Berns brings Berns' late father's story to the screen with interviews with those who knew him best and rare performance footage. Included in the film are interviews with Cissy Houston, Ronald Isley, Ben E. King, Solomon Burke, Van Morrison and Paul McCartney.
I had the extreme pleasure and privilege of attending a preview of this film in Hartford, Connecticut December 17th, 2016. All I can say is "Wow!!" It held me mesmerized from beginning to end. This documentary is for anyone with an interest in R&B, soul, and pop music of the 1960s-- the top songwriters, producers, singers, and musicians of that era. It's also a comprehensive look at the inside workings of the music/record business--the deals made and broken, mob influence, struggles and successes. It contains amazing archival footage of NYC, and interviews with the top movers and shakers in the industry who entertainingly share their recollections from those days, and their memories of Bert Berns--a hip genius, a perfectionist, a man who dreamed big--whose body of work as writer and producer gave us some of the greatest musical moments from that time. Incredibly, he shot to the top of the charts and the industry in a short span of seven years, before passing away at the oh-so-young age of 38. There are many moments of laugh-out-loud humor, as well as pathos. And of course, the movie is filled with so much of Berns's wonderful music. It's a visual and aural feast for the senses.
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