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HITMAKERS: The Teens That Stole Pop Music

A bunch of Jewish kids from Brooklyn jump-started the music business in the 1960s, and it’s never been the same . Hitmakers is a fabulously entertaining look at these “teens who stole pop music.” The amazing convergence of songwriting talent at Manhattan’s Brill Building created a competitive but prolific community of songwriters, almost all of them Jewish, and few of them older than 27. At the Brill, wordsmiths like Jerry Lieber and Mike Stoller ("Hound Dog") wrote hit songs for teen idols such as Elvis Presley, and for talented black artists like Aretha Franklin, Dionne Warwick, and The Shirelles. Songwriting team Carole King and husband Gerry Goffin ("Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow") composed at an upright piano in a small cubicle. Their friends and rivals Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil ("You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling") were hard at work just a few centimeters of pressboard away in the next cubicle. Burt Bacharach, Hal David, and Neil Sedaka were riffing down the hall. Many of them worked for music producer Don Kirshner, who had tapped into the zeitgeist of 1960s youth, and understood that young teen audiences wanted to buy records by both white and black artists. These were magical years, when smart kids from Brooklyn hopped the subway into Manhattan with crumpled song sheets in hand, swept along by the passion and raw energy of rock ‘n’ roll. John Turturro narrates this toe-tapping documentary about a formative period in the history of American music, race relations and the nascent record industry.

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Billboard - Jim Bessman

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Purchase the DVD - AMAZON