"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.
©2014 Here Comes the Night LLC (P)2014 Audible Inc.
Really, this book was as much about the Brill Building and that era of pop music as it was about Bert Berns which makes sense as they're fairly intertwined. As a big fan of that era, this book was pretty fascinating. Interesting times and this book is vivid and fun. I was sorry it ended.
One comment to another review that claimed this book lifted a lot from others, specifically "The Last Sultan", maybe I haven't read enough, but I'm not seeing it. Sultan covered Ahmet Ertegun's story but here his Atlantic partner Jerry Wexler is the main interest. A lot of stuff that wasn't in Sultan, like the attempted sale of Atlantic to ABC-Paramount, is covered extensively and not mentioned at all in the other book.
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.
tired of typos
1) Someone who hasn't read other music histories of the era (a lot of this book comes directly from other books, like The Last Sultan), 2) someone who doesn't mind listening to an old poop read cliched and pseudo-"hip" lingo from the 50s, and 3) someone who isn't particular about grammar and verb tenses.
I am not sure I will make it to the end. I have tried to ignore the narrator, but how is that possible when the entire experience of an audiobook is the audio? Listening to this book should be fun, but it's become punitive and depressing.
For starters, how about making sure the narrator has a pulse before he starts reading? Pretty ironic that a story about an artist who helped to create some of the most exciting pop music in US history, lived a fast and interesting life, and died young is narrated by someone who sounds like an 80-year-old fart. The energy of the story is drained away by this ponderous, tedious voice. I listened to samples of this narrator's work on other books, and he sounds a bit more lively and less irritating. Too bad he thought he had to approach this story as if it were the Old Testament.
The subject of the book is great. The stories that are new to the book are fun and interesting. I would have been able to tolerate this book as a reading experience, I think, but the awful narrator made the book's limitations seem glaring.
All of the books I have listened to that are narrated by British performers have been enjoyable experiences. What is wrong with so many American narrators? They seem either ponderous or pretentious, and mispronounce SO many common words.
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