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6 Degrees Entertainment

'Bang! The Bert Berns Story'
(Brooks Arthur, Jeff Barry, Solomon Burke, et al / DVD / NR / (2016) 2018 / Abramorama)

Overview: Music meets the Mob in this biography of '60s hitmaker and 2016 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee Bert Berns.

DVD Verdict: Having been screened at film festivals and shown theatrically throughout the world, this wondrous, insightful and broadly beautiful 90-minute documentary 'Bang! The Bert Berns Story' is just as good as you had hoped it would be, trust me!

Directed by both Brett Berns (his son) and Bob Sarles, written by Christina Keating (story editor) and Joel Selvin (narration writer), and with a tagline of: The greatest untold story of Rock and Roll, music meets the Mob in this biographical documentary, 'Bang! The Bert Berns Story.'

Narrated by Steven Van Zandt, it brings us the life story and career of (obviously) Bert Berns, the most important songwriter and record producer from the sixties that you never heard of!

Just to quickly bring you up to date, Berns' hits include "Twist and Shout," "Hang On Sloopy," "Here Comes The Night" and "Piece Of My Heart." There you go, and now that you're back on the same page as us all, let's continue.

Indeed, he helped launch the careers of Van Morrison and Neil Diamond and produced some of the greatest soul music ever made. Co-Directors Bob Sarles and Brett Berns have brought Berns' late father's story to the screen in such a way here as you finish the documentary, sit back, close your eyes, and wish that you had actually met this musical maestro.

Simply put, 'Bang! The Bert Berns Story' is a comprehensive look at the inside lane of the music/record business and, as we quickly discover, how deals were made, some broken, and how the influence of the Mob brought Berns both hardship and success.

Containing archival footage of NYC at the time along with interviews with the top movers and shakers in the industry - and not just an impressive Who's Who of musicians, but some of the business suited men behind the desks too - each share their entertaining tidbits about the perfectionist Berns from those days.

With interviews from those who knew him best and rare performance footage, included in the film are interviews with Cissy Houston, Ronald Isley, Ben E. King, Solomon Burke, Van Morrison and Paul McCartney.

But there's also a plethora of celluloid goodies still to be unearthed here as this DVD also includes another 64 minutes (yes, you read that correctly) of extra interview footage from, among others, Keith Richards, Andrew Loog Oldham, Betty Harris, Mike Stoller, Ben E. King, Doug Morris, Joel Dorn, and Goodfellas archetype Carmine “Wassel” DeNoia.

FYI: Bert Berns was inducted to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2016 and he received the Ahmet Ertegun Award for Lifetime Achievement. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1:85.1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of those aforementioned interview outtakes.

Official DVD Trailer

Official DVD Purchase Link