"I don't know where he's buried, but if I did I'd piss on his grave."
Jerry Wexler, best friend and mentor
Here Comes the Night: Bert Berns and the Dirty Business of Rhythm and Blues is both a definitive account of the New York rhythm and blues world of the early '60s and the harrowing, ultimately tragic story of songwriter and record producer Bert Berns, whose meteoric career was fueled by his pending doom. His heart damaged by rheumatic fever as a youth, doctors told Berns he would not live to see 21. Although his name is little remembered today, Berns worked alongside all the greats of the era: Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, Ahmet Ertegun and Jerry Wexler, Burt Bacharach, Phil Spector, Gerry Goffin and Carole King, and anyone who was anyone in New York rhythm and blues. In seven quick years, he went from nobody to the top of the pops producer of monumental r&b classics, songwriter of "Twist and Shout", "My Girl Sloopy", and others.
His fury to succeed led Berns to use his Mafia associations to muscle Atlantic Records out of a partnership and intimidate new talents (like Neil Diamond and Van Morrison) he signed to his record label, only to drop dead of a long-expected heart attack, just when he was seeing his grandest plans and life's ambitions frustrated and foiled.
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Inside the Brill Building.
- Rob G.
Fascinating look at the history of R&B
The narration certainly enhanced the rapid fire presentation of material recited in the cool whiskey toned slightly southern voice of the reader.
The general look at the music industry is fascinating. This is not a work of non-fiction in which one character could be called out but I think the cool deception of the players and the chess play of artists was interesting to read.
This is the first work I've heard narrated by Christian Rummel but believe that there could not have been a better narrator for this sort of non-fiction. The overload of information was given the feeling of sitting in a bar with the reader as he tell the story of all he's seen in his career.
Listening to this book in one sitting might be a bit overwhelming. It is a true treasure trove of insider stories and a detailed look at the music industry as well as the life of Bert Berns. It is, however, a book that I was always thinking about when not listening and to which I was eager to return.
"Here Comes the Night: The Dark Soul of Bert Berns and the Dirty Business of Rhythm and Blues" is a fabulous look at the inside of the R&B industry of the 50s and 60s. It is engaging and uncensored. I had never heard of Bert Berns before picking up "Here Comes the Night: The Dark Soul of Bert Berns and the Dirty Business of Rhythm and Blues" though he'd written some of my favorite songs ("Brown Eyed Girl" "Under the Boardwalk") and was a key player in the British Invasion. Bert Berns and the R&B industry were not subjects that I thought interested me before reading Joel Selvin's exceptionally well researched piece. If you're a music fan of the era, pick this one up today.
- Rabid Readers Reviews