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date: 16 October 2019

Brill Buildinglocked

  • Alexandra M. Apolloni


Located at 1619 Broadway in New York, the Brill Building housed the offices of some of the most commercially successful songwriters, producers, and music publishers working between the late 1950s and mid-1960s. The term “Brill Building” additionally has become a descriptor embracing a wide range of popular musical styles that were being created in New York in the early 1960s, including girl groups, bubblegum pop, vocal doo-wop, Latin pop, and soul. In addition to 1619 Broadway, other sites, notably the offices of Don Krishner and Al Nevins’s Aldon Music at 1650 Broadway, were also locations that contributed to the Brill Building sound. The Brill Building is credited with fostering skillful songwriting and introducing innovations in popular music production models, following in the tradition of Tin Pan Alley.

Numbers 1619 and 1650 Broadway housed songwriters, producers, and publishers in dozens of small offices and cubicles, where collaboration took place daily. Songwriters, often working under salary, were able to pitch their work to publishers in the same building, while producers could solicit songs for their artists, hire musicians and arrangers, and make recordings in-house, resulting in what has been described as a vertically integrated production structure. This system has been likened to a conveyor belt and the Brill Building to a songwriting factory. While this characterization is accurate in some respects, scholars have argued that it undermines the creativity and innovation that emerged there as a result of close relationships between songwriters, publishers, producers, and artists....

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Antiphonale monasticum pro diurnis horis (Tournai, 1934)