BANG! THE BERT BERNS STORY — Review by Stacia Kissick Jones

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Bert Berns, a major figure in the early 1960s American pop and R&B recording scene, was certainly unsung, but it would be a stretch to call him a hero. A musical childhood lead to a fascination with Latin and Cuban music, which in turn lead him to co-write the classic “Twist and Shout,” sung first by The Top Notes and produced by a young Phil Spector in 1961. Angry at what he felt was a hack job by Spector, Berns would go on to produce the Isley Brother’s version a year later, a major hit. After a few years of freelancing, Berns wound up at Atlantic Records, and his R&B hits were frequently covered by British invasion bands like the Rolling Stones and the Beatles. By the mid 1960s, Berns had his own label, Bang! Records. But he also had a chaotic life marred by bad business deals and associations with the mob, and after he died at age 38 in 1967, he was quickly forgotten by an industry eager for the future and often ignorant of the past. Continue reading…

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Stacia Kissick Jones

Stacia Kissick Jones is a freelance film journalist whose work appears in NextProjection.com, ClassicFix.com and other outlets.