By the time he died at 38, Bert Berns had left an indelible mark as a songwriter, producer, and label head. He wrote and/or produced such modern classics as “Piece of My Heart,” “Twist and Shout,” “Cry to Me,” “Under the Boardwalk,” “Hang On Sloopy” and several others. He launched Bang! Records, the early label home for Van Morrison and Neil Diamond.
Yet, following his death in 1967, he became a footnote in music history instead of sharing a rightful place alongside bold-faced names such as Jerry Wexler and Ahmet Ertegun. Bang! The Bert Berns Story, a riveting documentary that opens in New York April 26, attempts to right that wrong.
“He was the most obscure of these great songwriters, and producers,” says his son Brett, who co-directed the film with Bob Sarles. “He’d receded so far, he’d gotten so lost, that there were no lifetime achievement award, no Hall of Fame.” (Berns was posthumously inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame in 2016).