Even if you’ve never heard of Bert Berns, you’ve definitely heard his music. Brenda Reid of The Exciters described the prolific songwriter and record producer as “The white soul brother. … He put the soul in music.” And with hits like “Tell Him,” “Hang On Sloopy,” “I Want Candy,” “Under the Boardwalk,” “Twist and Shout,” and “Piece of My Heart,” Berns didn’t just put the soul in music—he brought soul to the masses.
Berns’s songs were covered multiple times, rearranged just as much, and dozens of them went to the top of the charts. But the early days of rock ‘n’ roll weren’t kind to those behind the board, and before Berns could be a household name, he died at the age of 38 from a heart attack.
Now, Berns’ son, Brett, brings his father’s story to life, complete with ties to the mob, shady dealings at Atlantic Records, and the birth of Bern’s own label, Bang Records. If there is ill will left in the world towards Berns, little of it shows up in Bang! The Bert Burns Story. Instead, Brett Burns and co-director Bob Sarles assemble a who’s who of ’60s musicians for this comprehensive and celebratory look at Bern’s career and life. Now streaming on TubiTV.