Donald's Encyclopedia of Popular Music
The '60s equivalent of Tin Pan Alley. 1619 Broadway NYC had always been important in Tin Pan Alley; Fats Waller once had an office there. It became the centre of the early '60s Brill Building sound, which actually began across the street at Aldon Music. Guitarist Al Nevins had had a long career with cabaret act The Three Sons; Don Kirshner was younger, Bobby Darin's business partner, and the pair set out successfully to run a music business in the rock'n'roll era on Tin Pan Alley lines. They gathered songwriters eventually recognized as the best in late '50s to mid-'60s pop, especially husband/wife teams Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil, Gerry Goffin and Carole King, also Neil Sedaka, Howard Greenfield, Toni Wine, Tony Orlando, Darin and others.
The Brill Building as a genre came to encompass Jeff Barry and Ellie Greenwich, Doc Pomus and Mort Shuman, Bert Berns, Leiber and Stoller, Burt Bacharach and Hal David. They wrote songs in great quantity, but also quality; good tunes fitted with lyrics and phrases meaningful to record buyers at the time were in demand for teen idols to record, but if the stars were factory made, the songs were written by songwriters. If television had not helped to destroy Broadway and refused to commission original music, some of these people might have gone on to revitalize American music drama. The next act in pop music was the emergence of the Beatles, who wrote their own material; soon anybody could be a songwriter, which meant that the craft of songwriting began to wither.
The film Grace Of My Heart '97 was a fictionalized treatment of the Brill Building era, written and directed by Alison Anders, music team Larry Klein and Karyn Rachtman commissioning new songs from Bacharach, Goffin, Joni Mitchell, Elvis Costello.