The Songmakers Collection

ISBN 13: 9780767039512

The Songmakers Collection

 
9780767039512: The Songmakers Collection
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In an office building a few blocks from Times Square, a group of talented teens rewrote the soundtrack to the American experience. Burt Bacharach, Dionne Warwick, and Bobby Darin are among the legends who passed through its doors. "You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling," "Up on the Roof," and "Hound Dog" are just a few of the hits that came pouring out. This unprecedented look at "The Hit Factory" includes in-depth portraits of some of the biggest names in music, along with a fascinating, behind-the-scenes look at the heady days when the Brill Building was the center of the pop universe. A treasure trove of unforgettable songs, rare photos, and interviews with everyone from Carole King to Phil Ramone makes The Songmakers Collection the definitive story of a musical revolution.

The story of a musical revolution, told by the writers, producers, and performers who made it happen. Includes: performance footage of stars like Dionne Warwick, The Righteous Brothers, Dusty Springfield, The Coasters, and many more; almost 100 interviews, including Burt Bacharach, Elton John, Dick Clark, Neil Sedaka, Stevie Wonder, Nancy Sinatra, and Dionne Warwick. >From the producers of A&E's award-winning Biography series. 300 minutes.

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Review:

Several of rock and pop music's best and most important early songwriters, along with some stellar performers, are profiled on The Songmakers Collection, a two-DVD set culled from five separate episodes of the A&E Network's Biography series. The centerpiece is "Hitmakers: The Teens Who Stole Pop Music," a 90-minute documentary about the many writers who worked side-by-side in New York's legendary Brill Building in the '50s and '60s. It's a fascinating story, featuring duos like Carole King and Gerry Goffin, Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil, Jeff Barry and Ellie Greenwich, and Neil Sedaka and Howard Greenfield, nearly all of them Jewish kids from Brooklyn who were at ease writing classic tunes for black and white artists alike. The tale is told in standard documentary style, via interviews past and present, photos, extensive film footage, and, of course, lots of music.

The remaining programs, all about 40 minutes in length, concentrate on individual artists or partners (inevitably, some of the same footage appears several times). Singer Dionne Warwick, best known for her interpretations of Burt Bacharach-Hal David material (and maybe for the Psychic Friends Network), is profiled in Volume One. The three features in Volume Two focus on the life and loves of Bacharach, the classically trained composer of so many pop standards; on Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, dubbed "the fathers of rock & roll songwriting" for their work with everyone from Big Mama Thornton and the Coasters to Elvis Presley and Peggy Lee; and on Bobby Darin, the ultra-versatile, swingin' talent who lived with the prescience of an early death due to heart problems (he died at 37). Great stuff, all in all--although a few more complete performances would have been nice. - -Sam Graham

Additional Features:

Aside from the standard scene-selection menus, The Songmakers Collection is light on bonus material, which is limited to text biographies of the featured artists (Volume One, oddly, contains bios only of Warwick, Sedaka, and King). --Sam Graham

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