Synopses & Reviews
Here Comes the Night: The Dark Soul of Bert Berns and the Dirty Business of Rhythm and Blues
is both a definitive account of the golden age of rhythm and blues of the early 60s and the harrowing, ultimately tragic story of songwriter and record producer Bert Berns, whose meteoric career was fueled by his pending doom. Berns was one of the great originals; he prospered and thrived under the auspices of Atlantic Records, a company devoted to authentic, vibrantly musical rhythm and blues records at the forefront of the art form. His heart damaged by rheumatic fever as a youth, Berns was not expected to live to see 21. Although his name is little remembered today, Berns worked alongside all the greats of the eraJerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, Ahmet Ertegun and Jerry Wexler, Burt Bacharach, Phil Spector, Gerry Goffin and Carole King, anyone who was anyone in New York rhythm and blues. In seven quick years, he went from nobody to the top of the popsproducer of monumental r&b classics, songwriter of Twist and Shout,” My Girl Sloopy,” Piece of My Heart,” and others.
His fury to succeed led Berns to use his Mafia associations to muscle Atlantic Records out of their partnership and intimidate new talents like Neil Diamond and Van Morrison, whom he had signed to his record label. Berns died at age 38 from a long-expected heart attack, just when he was seeing his grandest plans and lifes ambitions frustrated and foiled.
About the Author
has been the San Francisco Chronicles
pop music critic for thirty six years. He is an award-winning journalist and best-selling author of 12 previous books, including Smartass: The Music Journalism of Joel Selvin
, and Summer of Love: The Inside Story of LSD, Rock and Roll, Free Love and High Time in the Wild West