For supposedly disposable music, pop of the last 50 years has drawn a parade of documentarists. Neville himself has been down Tin Pan Alley before with a film on songwriters Leiber and Stoller, and 1619 Broadway - the Brill Building - loomed large in Allison Anders' loose Carole King fictionalisation Grace of My Heart, with John Turturro in Phil Spector-esque wig. Perhaps by way of acknowledging the precedent, Turturro narrates this straightforward memento of the young '60s song factory workers - King and Goffin, Weill and Mann, Jeff Barry, Neil Sedaka - who knocked out, with remarkable fecundity, pop hits for the likes of The Shirelles, The Drifters, Bobby Vee and The Righteous Brothers. It swings into the story at a fair lick, zigzagging through the decade's cultural conditions, the shifting fortunes and the relationships at work, while present-day talking heads vouch for the ingenuousness of the songs' feelings. It's informative, comprehensive - and just a little too dry.
Cast and crew