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Oldies Music Glossary: "Brill Building"

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Oldies Music Glossary:
source: pricegrabber.com
Definition: The "Brill Building Sound" may be the only subgenre of pop music named after a building, for it was in that very building, a former monolith of New York City's Garment District located at 1619 Broadway, where producer Don Kirshner placed the best and brightest songwriters of the Camelot years. They were early-Sixties mainstays, almost all duos, whose very names became emblematic of great pop songwriting: Lieber and Stoller, Goffin and King, Mann and Weil, Bacharach and David, Pomus and Shuman, Sedaka and Greenfield.

If you don't recognize the names, it's for sure you've heard their work, for the "Brill Building" sound -- more an aesthetic, really -- provided modern sounds steeped in classic New York "Tin Pan Alley" songwriting for the girl groups and teen idols of the day. In fact, some confuse the girl-group sound for Brill Building, but in truth, the Brill stuff was poppier, more laden with strings, more giddy with romantic possibility than some of the earthier R&B stuff (or even the girl groups of Motown). (There's also often a distinct Latin feel, a theme common to the New York pop of the era.) And their teen idol fodder was miles more honest and musically advanced than the pap that the Paul Ankas and Pat Boones of the world had produced.

This was, in other words, sophisticated pop for teens in the first blush of love, and it's precisely that combination of classic songwriting technique and post-rock modernism that helped it get over and kept it fresh and exciting in the years since. In addition, the assembly-line mechanics of the Building could not have been lost on future labels: artists could get a song from one piano-stocked "office," go to another floor and pay for an arrangement, then go to yet another and get it published. A completely self-contained one-stop song shop for talent.

Also Known As: Brill Building Pop, Girl Group, Teen Idol
Examples:
  1. "Calendar Girl," Neil Sedaka
  2. "Dream Lover," Bobby Darin
  3. "Stupid Cupid," Connie Francis
  4. "Take Good Care Of My Baby," Bobby Vee
  5. "One Fine Day," The Chiffons
  6. "Chapel Of Love," The Dixie Cups
  7. "Spanish Harlem," Ben E. King
  8. "The Loco-Motion," Little Eva
  9. "He's A Rebel," The Crystals
  10. "Maybe I Know," Lesley Gore
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