Bert Berns Original Stage musical And Documentary Also Planned For 2014
Bert Berns wrote some of the most indelible songs of the 20th century - "Twist & Shout," "I Want Candy," "Hang On Sloopy," "Piece of My Heart," and others - in a meteoric career fueled by uncanny talent, a fury to succeed, ties to the mafia, and a sense of impending doom.
Rolling Stone has called his tale "one of the greatest untold stories in rock and roll," but that will change in 2014, starting with the publication of Joel Selvin's book 'Here Comes the Night: The Dark Soul of Bert Berns and the Dirty Business of Rhythm & Blues' (April 15/Counterpoint Press). In addition, Berns' life and creative career will be the subject of an original stage musical, Piece of My Heart, beginning performances this June in New York City, and a documentary including exclusive interviews with Paul McCartney, Solomon Burke, Ben E. King and more is planned for the Fall.
In just seven years Bert went from obscurity to the loftiest reaches of the 1960s music business. As a writer, staff producer at Atlantic Records, and co-founder of the legendary Bang Records, he played an integral role in the careers of Van Morrison, Neil Diamond, The Isley Brothers, Ben E. King, Solomon Burke, and many more; worked closely with Phil Spector Ahmet Ertegun, Jerry Wexler, Leiber & Stoller; and wrote or co-wrote 51 pop chart singles recorded by the Beatles, Janis Joplin, Otis Redding and countless others.
Yet Berns was living on borrowed time. His heart damaged by rheumatic fever as a child, Berns outlived doctors' predictions that he wouldn't see 21. He eventually died of a heart attack at the age of 38, leaving a wife and three small children behind.
Joel Selvin spent 16 years researching and writing about the life of Bert Berns. A best selling author who has covered pop music for the San Francisco Chronicle since 1970, Selvin has written twelve previous books including the No. 1 NY Times bestseller 'Red: My Uncensored Life in Rock' (with Sammy Hagar).