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TOP 100 REVIEWERon 20 February 2016

The Brill Building is an 11-story office block, built in the classic Art Deco style, situated at 1619 Broadway, on 49th Street in Manhattan, where the songwriters who shaped 50s and 60s R&B and Pop music congregated. 1619 was named after the Brill Brothers, whose clothing and haberdashery store had originally occupied the ground floor, and who later bought the building. By common consensus, the Brill Building “First Team” consisted of seven songwriting duos: Jerry Leiber & Mike Stoller, Gerry Goffin & Carole King, Doc Pomus & Mort Shuman, Neil Sedaka & Howard Greenfield, Burt Bacharach & Hal David, Barry Mann & Cynthia Weil, and Jeff Barry & Ellie Greenwich. But once again, it is not quite that cut and dried. Virtually all of these writers would ‘break ranks’ and work with one another. There are many other songwriters that they would collaborate with, like Hank Hunter, Ben Raleight, Jack Keller, Helen Miller, Tony Powers, Phil Spector, etc. The publishing team of Kirshner & Al Nevins (main songwriting team including Bobby Darin, Sedaka-Greenfield) also operated out of 1650. As Carole King stated, they operated out of a cubbyhole with just enough room for a piano, a bench and maybe a chair for the lyricist. There was tremendous pressure to produce. Yet from these claustrophobic conditons emanated many classic hits found in this collection.


Jasmine Records, a respectable re-issue label from UK, released this 2 CD set, consisting of 64 songs. To appreciate how good this collection is, I have painstakingly compiled the song listing (with names of songwriters, chart position, year and personal comments), which is as follows:

Disc 1:
01 Will You Love Me Tomorrow – The Shirelles (Goffin, King)(1/1961)
02 This Magic Moment - The Drifters (Pomus, Shuman)(16/1960)
03 Dream Lover – Dion (Darin)(album track, 1961)*to have the original Bobby Darin’s hit would be nice; the latest version sung by Jason Donovan is currently used as a popular line dancing song!
04 Crying In The Rain – The Everly Brothers (Greendfield, King)(6/1962)
05 Run To Him – Bobby Vee (Goffin, King)(2/1961)
06 Sorry But I’m Gonna Have To Pass – The Coasters (Lieber, Stoller)(uncharted b-side, 1958)
07 War Paint – Barry Mann (Mann, Greenfield)(uncharted single, 1960)
08 Happy Birthday Sweet Sixteen – Neil Sedaka (Sedaka, Greenfield)(6/1962)
09 (Marie’s The Name) His Latest Flame – Del Shannon (Pomus, Shuman)(album track, 1961)*Elvis Presley made this song a big hit (4/1961)
10 Bless You – Tony Orlando (Mann, Weil)(15/1961)*Tony Orlando’s solo hits before his Dawn era.
11 Yes – Ben E. King (Leiber, Stoller)(b-side to Ecstasy, 1962)
12 The Locomotion – Little Eva (Goffin, King)(1/1962)*discovered by Carole King and Gerry Goffin while she was babysitting their daughter Louise Goffin; other popular versions: Grand Funk Railroad (1/1974); Kylie Minogue (3/1988)
13 Dawning – Jay & The Americans (Barkan, Powers)(b-side to She Cried, 1962)
14 Our Love It Grows – Myrna March (Greenwich)(uncharted single, 1962)*rare gem
15 I Love How You Love Me – The Paris Sisters (Mann, Kolber)(5/1961)
16 Don’t Ever Change – The Crickets (Goffin, King)(uncharted single, 1962)
17 Turn Me Loose – Fabian (Pomus, Shuman)(9/1959)
18 Wear My Ring – Gene Vincent (Darin, Kirshner)(b-side to Lotta Lovin’, 1957)
19 Another Sleepless Night – Jimmy Clanton (Sedaka, Greenfield)(22/1960)
20 Pretty Little Angel Eyes – Curtis Lee (Boyce, Lee)(7/1961)*The Halos, backing vocals.
21 Tell Laura I Love Her – Ray Peterson (Barry, Raleigh)(7/1960)
22 I Love You Eddie – The Crystals (Spector, Hunter)(b-side to He’s A Rebel, 1962)
23 Chains – The Cookies (Goffin, King)(17/1962)
24 Tell Me What She Said – The Playmates (Barry)(uncharted single, 1961)
25 Painting The Town With Teardrops – Vinnie Monte (Mann, Weil)(uncharted single, 1961)*rare gem
26 Teenage Sonata – Sam Cooke (Jeff Barry)(50/1960)
27 I Can’t Hear A Word You Say – Ruth Brown (Leiber, Stoller)(b-side to I Don’t Know, 1959)*rare gem.
28 Everybody’s Somebody’s Fool – Connie Francis (Greenfield, Keller)(1(2)/1960)
29 Early In The Morning – Buddy Holly (Darin, Harris)(32/1958)*The Helen Way Singers, backing vocals.
30 First Taste Of Love – Ben E. King (Pomus, Spector)(53/1961)(b-side to Spanish Harlem)
31 It Might As Well Rain Until September – Carole King (Goffin, King)(22/1962)*her first charted single.
32 Only Love Can Break A Heart – Gene Pitney (Bacharach, David)(2/1962)

Disc 2:
01 Where The Boys Are – Connie Francis (Sedaka, Greenfield)(4/1961)
02 Some Kind Of Wonderful – The Drifters (Goffin, King)(32/1961)
03 Teenager In Love – Dion & The Belmonts (Pomus, Shuman)(5/1959)
04 The Answer To Everything – Del Shannon (Bacharach, Hilliard)(b-side to So Long Baby, 1961)
05 Who Put The Bomp (in the Bomp, Bomp, Bomp) – Barry Mann (Mann, Goffin)(7/1961)
06 Charlie Brown – The Coasters (Leiber, Stoller)(2/1959)
07 One Way Ticket (To The Blues) – Neil Sedaka (Keller, Hunter)(b-side to Oh! Carol, 1959)*rare hit not written by Sedaka.
08 Uptown – The Crystals (Mann, Weil)(13/1962)*Barbara Alston, lead vocal
09 Take It Like A Man – Gene Pitney (Leiber, Stoller)(b-side to (The Man Who Shot) Liberty Valance, 1962)
10 So Close To Heaven – Ral Donner (Pomus, Shuman)(b-side to You Don’t Know what You’ve Got, 1961)*rare gem
11 This Is It – Jay & The Americans (Greenwich, Powers)(109/1962)
12 Sharing You – Bobby Vee (Goffin, King)(15/1962)
13 Venus In Blue Jeans – Jimmy Clanton (Greenfield, Keller)(7/1962)
14 That’s Old Fashioned – The Everly Brothers (Giant, Baum, Kaye)(9/1962)
15 Halfway To Paradise – Tony Orlando (Goffin, King)(39/1961)*Tony Orlando’s first solo charted hit; later revived by Bobby Vinton (23/1968).
16 Two Fools – Frankie Avalon (Pomus, Shuman)(54/1959)(b-side to Just Ask Your Heart)
17 This Little Girl’s Gone Rockin’ – Ruth Brown (Drain, Curtis)(24/1958)
18 How Come – Birdie Green (Barry, Powers)(uncharted single, 1962)*rare gem
19 You Bet I Would – The Ronettes (King, Kaplan)(uncharted b-side, 1962)*rare gem
20 It’s Love That Really Counts – The Shirelles (Bacharach, David)(102/1962)(b-side to Stop The Music)
21 Telephone (Won’t You Ring) – Shelley Fabares (Mann, Weil)(109/1963)
22 What A Nice Way To Turn Seventeen – The Crystals (Keller, Kilber)(b-side to Uptown, 1962)
23 It Started All Over Again – Brenda Lee (Goffin, Keller)(29/1962)
24 Summertime Symphony – Jamie Coe (Darin)(uncharted single, 1959)*rare gem; his other regional hit: The Fool (1963)
25 Kissin’ And Twistin’ – Fabian (Kirshner, Nevins)(91/1960)
26 Dickie Went And Did It – The Delicates (Barry, Raleigh)(uncharted b-side, 1961)*rare gem
27 You Mean Everything To Me – Neil Sedaka (Sedaka, Greenfield)(17/1960)
28 Be My Girl – Ray Peterson (Spector, Sands)(b-side to Corinna, Corrina, 1961)
29 Just Between You And Me – The Chordettes (Keller, Lynn)(8/1957)
30 Breakin’ In A Brand New Heart – Connie Francis (Greenfield, Keller)(7/1961)
31 Please Stay – The Drifters (Bacharach, David)(14/1961)
32 Stand By Me – Ben E. King (King, Leiber, Stoller)(4/1961)


1. The choice of songs is outstanding, with mainly the original artists who made the songs popular.
2. There are a few rare gems too: by Vinnie Monte, Birdie Green and the Delicates. These rare gems are great addition to my collection.
3. These songs are all original versions. (no re-recorded versions)
4. The sound is superb with clear vocal and no hiss. Good remastering job by Jasmine Records.
5. Good value: to have 64 songs in one set. It would be very expensive to find all these songs separately.
6. Nice 8 page booklet, containing a well written essay. Label & number, year were listed.


1. I hope that the chart position for each song is listed too. Here, I obtained the chart positions from Joey Whitburn’s Top Pop Singles Book.
2. I appreciate the colourful lettering on the back cover. But green letters on a red background makes one very difficult to read.


This 2 CD set with 64 songs is a superb compilation, with great varieties and sound. This set puts the songwriters forefront and gave them the respect that they are due. The timeless, flawless, irresistible music captured on this compilation is totally enjoyable, bringing back many happy memories from days gone by. Although I have most of the songs in this set, I am still happy to purchase it because it is nice to have such as nice collection arranged for you in one set. This set is highly recommended.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 17 February 2014
Coo, this takes me back to a happily misspent youth. As you've no doubt guessed, this CD concerns the Brill Building and the denizens within, those ineffable writing writing teams and solo's, who wrote the soundtrack for millions of teens across the world. For a while back then, these good folk and their output were the epicentre of first-rate pop music, which redounds and resonates to this day...steady there...but by now, most of these tracks are certifiably 'golden oldies', is all, and I love 'em (well, mostly).

Compiled and annotated by well known anagram Groper Odson, he starts with a reasonable summary and life and conditions at the Brill, names the most notable teams and solo's and merely mentions some of the great songs. Why not?, we know them so well. Well, three were new to me, Myrna March, Vinnie Monte and Birdie Green, they're OK, fit the bill. As for the rest (three from the 50s, balance from from 1960/62), if it doesn't immediately spring to mind, it's a B side or LP cut (Dion's "Dream Lover").

For me, many a personal fave. First heard the Shirelles at a youth club, took me a while to work out the lyrics, pretty risqué for the times. Never bought Bobby Vee, tho remember a passionate night - nothing mucky! - to an LP of his. Barry Mann suffered at the hands of UK cover merchants The Brook Brothers and Viscounts, and Tony Orlando, having scored a major hit over here with "Bless You", couldn't give away his "Halfway To Paradise" due to the cover by our own Billy Fury. "Pretty Little Angel Eyes" I bought, realising later that it was an uptempo doo-wopper. Two or three others I bought in period, but a lot of these tunes were all over the radio, so no need (and they were 'pop', after all). But I did buy Ben E King's "Stand By Me", nowadays a gold plated classic. I take exception to the writer credits (King, Leiber, Stoller), surely it's gospel based? Just change one word - "Darlin'" - to "Jesus"...see what I mean?

I could go on, but this set will sell itself. Tops for nostalgia, mainly pluperfect period pop, cracking CD Gromit!
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My first thoughts on looking at this collection, were, curiouser and curiouser, but why did I think that?

1. There are what one might call, some of the Brill Building's finest moments in here along with many that seem to be almost wilfully obscure - songs that were on B sides and artists I'd not even heard of - Myrna March, Birdie Green and more. It's almost as if Jasmine Records were attempting to give an average view rather than the more typical "greatest hits".

2. Although the set was released in 2014 the selections only go up to 1962. Whereas one would have thought the PD ruling would have allowed the issuers to go up to some time in '64. The latter would have allowed in several Greenwich / Barry (and possibly Spector), Crystals and Ronettes tracks from when the Spector sound was really in its pomp. Instead we get some very early tracks from those groups. Of course it's possible this restriction in selection might have caused (1).

3. Many of the songwriters, both individuals and pairings, Gofiin / King, Mann / Weil, Greenfield / Sedaka etc. who are strongly associated with the Brill Building in the eyes of the public, actually worked primarily for Aldon Music (formed in 1958) which was across the road from the famous building at 1650 Broadway. However the Brill Building itself (at 1619 Broadway) had played host to music publishers, song writers, artists, and others related to the music industry since before the second world war. On this album, Jasmine Records has used "Brill Building" in the wider context of a small group of buildings clustered around the famous art deco slab of architecture. It may sound sloppy but it is in accord with the way journalists tend to use the verbiage, so I'm happy with it.

4. It's actually very pleasing to see that Jasmine don't give all their attention to the usual names - Goffin / King etc. In particular it's good to have Burt Bacharach with more than one lyricist included.

5. Why have Jasmine sometimes opted for an alternative artist to the familiar one who had the hit? I noted the Dion version of "Dream lover" and Del Shannon with "His latest flame" (though I have to concede these are both valid versions and fascinating curios). The former is particularly unusual in that the writer and original performer of the song was Bobby Darin who was strongly associated with the Brill Building and Aldon Music - one of his early songs written with Don Kirshner, one of the Aldon founders, is present in this set.

At this point I should own up to the fact that I don't own the set - I'm reviewing via the previews and Youtube. Possibly the sleeve notes clear up some of these points. And they're not necessarily negative - they merely got me metaphorically scratching my head.

And, notwithstanding those opening remarks there's plenty to get your teeth into in here so let's get rolling. Since I've started I'll stick with the numbering as I get into the music itself. I'm a sucker for lists!

6. First run through gives a broad impression of a number of stunners (and a few delightful echoes of the fifties) standing out from lot of teen pop albeit teen pop of a very polished and professional standard. That last point is not at all unexpected. It's what Aldon and some of its competitors set out to do. The fact that we still celebrate the music under the convenient broad brush term "Brill Building" is proof that it succeeded.

7. What is perhaps more surprising, is that, not that infrequently, this perceived factory process actually managed to come up with songs which seemed to transcend the teen pop genre. Sometimes it might have been the performances which raised the songs to such a level e.g. Sam Cooke with "Teenage Sonata", the Everlys with "That's old fashioned", and Holly with "Early in the morning".. But in other cases like "Will you love me tomorrow", "This magic Moment" and "Stand by me", I feel that the songs played an important part in the success of those records. In all three of those examples the performances just happened to be magnificent so I have to be a bit careful with this argument!

8. Of that last trio of songs I quoted, one came from Pomus & Shuman and one came from Leiber & Stoller. Both of these pairings particularly the second, largely preceded the Brill Building approach and, in my view, would have continued to create good songs with or without Aldon, Brill Building or whatever. Both pairs also had a serious interest in black music before they embarked on their song writing careers. I have to add that this set reminded me yet again, just how great a contribution Leiber & Stoller made to the field of popular music. Their range was staggering from the passionate soul burner "Stand by me", through swirling, romantic ballads like "Yes" to that brilliant series of witty street symphonies from the Coasters - and I'm delighted that a lesser known track like "Sorry but I'm gonna have to pass" was included.

9. Of the "newer" writers, and based mainly on the evidence presented here, it's Goffin & King who get closest to Leiber & Stoller in the quality they present across a range of material. Even the relatively innocuous "Locomotion" shows a high understanding of how R&B vocal groups function. Factor in songs that aren't in this set like "When my little girl is smiling", "Point of no return", "One fine day", Aretha's "Natural woman", Maxine Brown's "Oh no not my baby", "Dusty's "Some of your lovin'", and it's easy to see why Goffin & King (and sometimes King alone, or with other collaborators) are regarded as the greatest song writers of the period.

10. There are intriguing early songs from Jeff Barry and Ellie Greenwich separately, before they got together in a marital state and as co-writers. The latter provided those great songs for the Spector artists at their peak but, as already mentioned, they don't get in here.

11. One gent who does get in is the rather shadowy Jack Keller who's co-writer on several numbers. He's not the same person as Jerry Keller who had a hit with the self-penned "Here comes Summer" in a similar timeframe

12. Of the performers, the early and pre-Wall of Sound offerings from the Crystals and the Ronettes all go down very nicely and show what both groups could sound like with a less heavy hand on the producer's wheel. All three Drifters' tracks are "Some kind of wonderful" if I can use a dreadful pun. I'd single out the early Bacharach (& Hilliard) penned "Please stay" as being wonderful indeed and a forerunner of that marvellous music Burt would make with Dionne.

13. There are single artists mingling in with all the groups. Gene Pitney may be the best known. In addition to being an accomplished writer himself he was a dab hand at selecting songs from his contemporaries. Of the pair here I preferred "Only love can break your heart" even if it is relatively predictable for a Bacharach & David penned number. Sweet Gene Vincent's star was on the wane well before his track in here was cut, but that utterly distinctive melisma ridden ballad style still knocks you out - there was no one else like him. And the song, surprisingly was a Bobby Darin co-write. The Brenda Lee offering wasn't one of her greatest but there's still enough there to make you admire that voice all over again.

14. Of the not quite so well known soloists, Jimmy Clanton was originally a swamp poppie from Baton Rouge who had a surprise hit with "Just a dream" in '58 (not included in the set). The powers that be attempted to groom him as a teen idol. "Venus in Blue Jeans" penned by Greenfield & Keller was a predictable result. A slightly different pairing, Greenfield & Sedaka provided him with "Another sleepless night" which was somewhat closer to his swamp pop roots. Ral Donner was a Presley clone and was arguably, even better than the great Twitty, at capturing the Elvis steamy ballad style. You can visualise the lower lip quivering on the offering here. On the subject of Elvis styled songs I suspect it's the UK view that it would have been rather nice if we'd had the Billy Fury version of "Halfway to paradise" instead of Tony Orlando but he did have the original I guess. And I must mention the great R&B diva Ruth Brown who gets a couple of tracks, both considerably more earthy than most of the stuff in the set. The first is unsurprisingly from the pens of Leiber & Stoller but the second is another Darin co-write and it does sound very like Darin's early Atco style.

15. The more I dig into this album the more great stuff I discover: the excellent twosome from Jay & the Americans, the superb soft rock from Bobby Vee - he may have been marketed as a teen idol but he had more talent than most, and I'd make similar remarks about Neil Sedaka - his stuff was polished & predictable but that polish didn't half shine. And then there are the Chordettes - fifties innocence indeed. And there's another fifties throwback in Curtis Lee, aided & abetted by a great Mr Bassman with Phil Spector behind the console on "Pretty Little Angel Eyes". Oh, and a great near Patsy Cline style weepie from Connie Francis with "Breaking in a brand new heart" - worth your money for title alone! And, in "Tell Laura I love her", one of the sixties' more controversial discs - it was banned in the UK.

16. And I should give you the explanation for the presence of the Del Shannon version of "His latest flame". Del recorded it first and it was contained on his first studio LP which came out in June '61. The Presley version was released as a single in August that year. As for the Dion version of "Dream lover", that was contained in Mr Dimucci's first solo album - guess they were looking for songs to fill it - the song suits him well - somewhere between "Teenager in Love" and "The Wanderer" in style.

17. One little negative about the collection, I do think they could have found room for something from Bert Berns who usually wrote under the pseudonym Bert Russell. He was New York based and while many of his songs were from after the apparent 1962 watershed, there were a few from before which could have been used. Would have preferred one instead of either of the Fabian tracks.

18. I think I've argued myself into stating that this is a mighty fine collection. To think that some people think that the early sixties, the years between the Coming of Rock and the Coming of the Brits, was dull just shows that they weren't listening. There was this lot AND Atlantic / Stax soul AND Motown AND the Spector Sound AND Orbison AND, making his presence felt in Greenwich Village, a certain Mr Zimmerman. Not bad for some of pop's duller years!
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on 19 October 2015
Great fun and great sleeve notes.
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on 21 June 2014
The title of this Compilation is a misnomer. A lot of these songs had nothing to do with the Brill Building (1619 Broadway) but came from 1650 Broadway the home of Aldon Music.Carole King worked there with Gerry Goffin as well as Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil. Good selection though
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on 16 March 2014
Recently released compilation of Brill Building songs from a bygone era, a nice nostalgic collection which was worth waiting for.
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on 3 March 2014
a lot of these tracks were high in the hit parade in the early sixties and they still sound as good now
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on 18 March 2014
This album is truly a time machine it will take you back to time when every day seemed to have the sun shining ,the beach was the best destination, A great mix of the best of the best American pop music theirs something for everyone on the amazing album.
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on 10 June 2014
Got all but one or two tracks but the quality of this CD shines though.
I defy anyone to play this and not to find themselves grinning like a Cheshire cat, you will enjoy it!
good value and great quality
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