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Always Magic in the Air: The Bomp and…

Always Magic in the Air: The Bomp and Brilliance of the Brill Building Era

by Ken Emerson

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874211,917 (3.73)4
Profiles fourteen songwriters responsible for such hits as "Jailhouse Rock," "Uptown," and "You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling'," explaining how their blending of music from different genres affected social consciousness.



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Do you like '60s music, the girl groups, sing-along-able hits that didn't involve British groups?

Then you liked the writers of the Brill Building. Burt Bacharach, Carole King, Neil Sedaka ... all of the familiar (and less-familiar) names are in "Always Magic in the Air."

An amazing nexus of tunesmiths resided at the Brill Building in New York, pounding out hit after hit ("The Locomotion," "Leader of the Pack," "Breaking Up Is Hard To Do," etc.).

This book looks at the teams that made the songs, and digs into their history, lifes, loves and jealousies. Song after song will bounce around in your head as you read this book, and that's a good thing.

More reviews at my WordPress site, Ralphsbooks. ( )
  ralphz | Jul 25, 2017 |
I've had this book for years, but it took the passing of Ellie Greenwich (part of the songwriting team responsible for such classic, iconic pop songs as "Be My Baby" and "Leader of the Pack") this week to make me finally read it. Emerson's prose is a little dry, but for anyone with an interest in this musical era, the story and the characters are compelling. Even those of us who pride ourselves on knowing that Burt Bacharach wasn't just called into being in the late nineties by Elvis Costello and that Carole King had a pretty amazing career even before she was hangin' out in a sunbeam with a cat on the cover of Tapestry can learn something from this one. ( )
  melaniemaksin | Oct 14, 2013 |
What fun! A must-read for any Boomer who is hooked on music and the oldies. The book tells the stories of several of the more prolific songwriting teams from the early days of Rock 'n Roll: Carole King & Gerry Goffin, Jerry Lieber & Mike Stoller, Doc Pomus & Mort Shuman, Barry Mann & Cynthis Weil.

Highly recommended. ( )
  thejazzmonger | Sep 20, 2008 |
A thorough history of the music-writing teams in New York. The period from about 1955 to about 1966 was a rich one with such hits as "Save the Last Dance for Me" and "This Guy's In Love With You" eminating from the Brill Building. Unfortunately, the book is written in a slow-moving and pedestrian manner and nearly put me to sleep until about 2/3 of the way through when it picked up. ( )
  MarysLibrary | Oct 16, 2007 |
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By the time Lieber and Stoller recorded "There Goes My Baby," the baion beat was no longer a novelty, but no one had ever been so audacious as to wed the Italian bastardization of a Brazilian samba to an ersatz Russian string orchestration on a rhythm-and-blues record by an African-American quartet.
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