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Twist And Shout: The Bert Berns Story, Volume 1: 1960-1964 CD
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* This addition to Ace's Producer Series salutes the work of a man who sang, wrote and/or produced some of the greatest rock and soul music of the 1960s - Bert Berns.
* During what was a relatively short career, tragically ended by a heart attack on New Year's Eve 1967, Berns created the original versions of such perennials as `Twist And Shout', `Hang On Sloopy', `Piece Of My Heart', `Brown Eyed Girl', `Here Comes The Night' and numerous other Hall Of Fame hits. He nurtured the early solo career of Van Morrison and was quick to recognise the potential in a young Neil Diamond. Almost alone among the great New York record men, he also spent time in the UK in the early 60s, and produced many important local acts, Lulu and Morrison's band Them to name just two.
* Bert packed more into a career that barely spanned 8 years than most writer-producers do in twice or thrice that time. So many important records bear the Berns imprint in some way that it's not possible to fit the best of them on just one CD. This first volume covers 1960-64 and a second volume, planned for release in January 2009, will tell the rest of Bert's fascinating musical story.
* "Twist And Shout" is released to coincide with the 40th anniversary of Bert's untimely death. Both volumes have been prepared in co-operation with Bert's widow Ilene and his children Brett and Cassie. The Berns children are also making a film about their father's life and work, which will hopefully come out to coincide with the release of these two projects.
Top Customer Reviews
Described by Doug Morris, CEO of the Universal Music Group, as the Lost Titan of American Music, Bert Berns accomplished more in barely eight years in the business than most others do in a lifetime. And over forty years after his sudden death, the music he left behind - be it as performer, producer, writer or arranger (and sometimes all four) - still packs an enormous punch and generates tremendous emotional power.
Like many others on this side of the Atlantic, I first encountered Bert Berns through his work with Van Morrison & Them. Hearing the lead guitar intro on 'Here Comes The Night' for the first time, is one of those treasured moments that has stayed with me for almost 50 years. And although Them are not on this album - we get Lulu's original version of Here Comes The Night instead - that song title gives a very accurate sense of what Berns' music was all about, because he specialised in reaching out to those of us who related to the night. Nights of passion, nights of pain, nights of ecstasy or desolation. A glance at some of the titles on this CD will confirm as much.
Broken down into its component parts, one could be forgiven for thinking there was little to set Berns' music apart from that of his peers. Latino rhythms, gospel and soul influences, piano triplets, ascending and descending cadences, falsetto lead vocals, call & response choruses, doo-wop stylings, and Carribbean flavoured guitar figures were all well established elements in New York and East Coast based pop music of the day. However, what set Bert Berns apart was the way in which he fused these elements together to deliver something that was totally unique.Read more ›
The fact that the set is from Ace means that it's done properly or, in other words, with loving care. It takes us chronologically from early songs and productions of relative unknowns in 1960, through to the November 1964 release of "Here come the night" from Lulu. Straightaway I should warn that there are only near teasers from Bert's sterling period as Staff Producer at Atlantic where he was responsible for whole series of brilliant records from Solomon Burke, Ben E. King, Esther Phillips and the Drifters. I hasten to add that the presence of only a single track from each of those artists here is merely due to Ace's desire to cast the net as wide as possible over Bert's career during the timeframe. Again if you're reading this review you may well have albums from those artists - if not you should!
In nit-picking mode, another fact I should point out is that not all the offerings here are Berns songs.Read more ›
That was recorded by the Top Notes in 1961 and the arrangement is quite different to the Isley's version which is much better, in my opinion.