You may never have heard of Bert Berns, but you’ve definitely heard his music. He was the writer and producer behind hits such as, Piece of My Heart, Hang on Sloopy and Twist and Shout all while launching the careers of Van Morrison and Neil Diamond. Interviews with Paul McCartney, Van Morrison, Ben E. King and Ronald Isley, as well as no-holds-barred revelations from his widow, record executives, songwriters, and even mob-connected artist managers – offer a vivid portrait of this unsung giant of music.
After the film, special guests, co-directors Bob Sarles and Brett Berns (son of the film’s subject), will discuss the Bert Bern’s life and music and answer questions about the film. The event also features a performance by soul great Betty Harris (Cry to Me, His Kiss) at the Portland House of Music. See below for more information. Note that tickets for the concert must be purchased from the Portland House of Music
“Fun anecdotes are outweighed by a cascade of memorable, and surprisingly personal, hit soul records.” –Hollywood Reporter
Online sales have ended. Tickets will be sold at the Nickelodeon at 5:30PM
Betty Harris in Concert at Portland House of Music
Tickets are $25 (must be purchased through Portland House of Music)
Doors at 8 pm | Show starts at 8:45 pm
Renowned in deep soul circles for the devastating ballad “Cry to Me,” singer Betty Harris was born in Orlando, Florida, in 1941 and raised primarily in Alabama. The child of preachers, her deep church roots conflicted with her desire to sing secular soul music, and at 17 she left home to pursue a performing career, briefly apprenticing under R&B star Big Maybelle before eventually landing in California, cutting the 1960 single “Taking Care of Business” for the Douglas label. Record promoter Babe Chivian recommended that Harris relocate to New York City, promising her an audition with Brill Building producer and songwriter Bert Berns. There she performed a slow, gospel-inspired rendition of “Cry to Me,” an uptempo Berns-produced hit for Chivian’s client Solomon Burke.
Between 1963 and 1967 Betty Harris had three hit singles “Cry to Me”, “His Kiss” and “Nearer to you” – all now considered classic Deep Soul tracks. Her later 1960’s songs “There’s a Break in the Road”, “Mean Man” & “Ride your Pony” were all produced by the late Allen Toussaint and are coveted by Deep Funk 45 collectors.
Northern Soul fans have long cited “I Don’t Want to Hear it”, “Twelve Red Roses” and “Show it” as favorites.
Soul Jazz Records are releasing “Betty Harris: The Lost Queen of New Orleans Soul” in Autumn 2016 which will compile all of her Northern Soul, Sister Funk & Deep Soul sides on one album for the first time.
1 Temple Street,
Portland, Portland, ME
Thursday, March 23, 6:00pm
Filmmaker in Attendance