A two-day fundraising special – September 9-10!
The Brill Building is located at 1619 Broadway and 49th St. in New York City. The 11 story building was built in 1931 and is famous for housing music industry offices and studios where some of the most popular American songs were written. It dominating the pop charts in the early 1960s. The “Brill” name comes from a haberdasher who operated a store at street level and bought the building.
Composers and Lyricists at the Brill Building
Burt Bacharach, Jeff Barry, Bert Berns, Bobby Darin, Hal David, Neil Diamond, Luther Dixon, Sherman Edwards, Buddy Feyne, Gerry Goffin, Howard Greenfield, Ellie Greenwich, Jack Keller, Carole King, Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, Barry Mann, Johnny Mercer, Rose Marie McCoy, Van McCoy, Irving Mills, Fred Neil, Laura Nyro, Tony Orlando, Doc Pomus, Jerry Ragovoy, Teddy Randazzo, Billy Rose, Neil Sedaka, Mort Shuman, Paul Simon (under various pseudonyms), and Cynthia Weil.
Musicians Headquartered in the Brill Building
Bobby Darin, The Drifters featuring Ben E. King, Connie Francis, Lesley Gore, Haras Fyre, Darlene Love, Liza Minnelli, Donald Fagen and Walter Becker, Gene Pitney, The Ronettes, The Shangri-Las, The Shirelles, The Sweet Inspirations, Doris Troy, Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons, Dee Dee Warwick, Dionne Warwick, and The Delicates.
Brill Building Sound
“Brill Building” is considered a shorthand term for American popular music that enjoyed great commercial success in the late 50s and throughout the 60s. By 1962, the Brill Building contained 165 independent music businesses. A musician could find a publisher and printer, cut a demo, promote the record and cut a deal with radio promoters, all within this one building. The independent music companies in the Brill Building and nearby 1650 Broadway defined the “Brill Building Sound.”
Every day we squeezed into our respective cubby holes with just enough room for a piano, a bench, and maybe a chair for the lyricist if you were lucky. You’d sit there and write and you could hear someone in the next cubby hole composing a song exactly like yours. The pressure in the Brill Building was really terrific—because Donny (Kirshner) would play one songwriter against another. He’d say: “We need a new smash hit”—and we’d all go back and write a song and the next day we’d each audition for Bobby Vee’s producer.
—Carole King, quoted in The Sociology of Rock by Simon Frith