Here Comes the Night and over one million other books are available for Amazon Kindle. Learn more
Qty:1
  • List Price: $25.00
  • Save: $6.25 (25%)
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
Only 17 left in stock (more on the way).
Ships from and sold by Amazon.com.
Gift-wrap available.
Here Comes the Night: The... has been added to your Cart
Condition: Used: Acceptable
Comment: This item is listed as acceptable and has probably been well used. It could have considerable writing or highlighting throughout but is still usable and has been priced accordingly. Please do not buy if you are expecting a perfect copy. It has a couple more reads left before its time to be recycled. We ship within 1 business day and offer no hassle returns. Big Hearted Books shares its profits with schools, churches and non-profit groups throughout New England. Thank you for your support!
Sell yours for a Gift Card
We'll buy it for $2.00
Learn More
Trade in now
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See all 2 images

Here Comes the Night: The Dark Soul of Bert Berns and the Dirty Business of Rhythm and Blues Hardcover – April 15, 2014


See all 4 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle
"Please retry"
Hardcover
"Please retry"
$18.75
$12.91 $9.84

The Amazon Book Review
The Amazon Book Review
Check out The Amazon Book Review, our editors' fresh new blog featuring interviews with authors, book reviews, quirky essays on book trends, and regular columns by our editors. Explore now
$18.75 FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Only 17 left in stock (more on the way). Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.


Frequently Bought Together

Here Comes the Night: The Dark Soul of Bert Berns and the Dirty Business of Rhythm and Blues + The Bert Berns Story - Mr Success Volume 2: 1964-1967 + The Bert Berns Story Volume 1: Twist & Shout 1960-1964
Price for all three: $52.22

Buy the selected items together
NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

Best Books of the Month
Best Books of the Month
Want to know our Editors' picks for the best books of the month? Browse Best Books of the Month, featuring our favorite new books in more than a dozen categories.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Counterpoint (April 15, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1619023024
  • ISBN-13: 978-1619023024
  • Product Dimensions: 1.5 x 6.5 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (60 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #99,109 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Veteran music journalist Selvin focuses on a figure little known to those outside of the music business of the fifties and sixties and delivers an authoritative look at a crucial point in American popular culture. The main subject, Bert Berns, wrote or co-wrote many rhythm-and-blues classics, notably “Twist and Shout” and “Piece of My Heart.” Though hardly without clunkers, the extraordinary discography of compositions and productions included here testifies to Berns’ stature. The supporting cast includes the best musicians and songwriters of the period, particularly songwriters Leiber and Stoller, Atlantic Records’ Ahmet Ertegun and Jerry Wexler, and performers Ray Charles and Solomon Burke. Berns, afflicted with a heart condition since childhood, felt himself doomed and incorporated signature wails of despair into his songs, typically “Cry Baby.” As Selvin makes clear, the independent R&B and rock-music business then was sleazy, gangster-ridden, and, like Berns’ life, short in duration. Sometimes the book reads like an annotated list of recordings and erratically named performers, but if you grew up with the songs, you’ll leave the book happily singing to yourself, though also saddened (this being the blues). --Mark Levine

Review

"Selvin's tale...rights a historical injustice, shining a light on an overshadowed great man and deepening our understanding of a history we continue to dance to." —New York Times

"A compelling biography of a man who wrote and produced records in a fever. It’s also an unvarnished account of the often-sordid world of East Coast music publishers, tunesmiths, record hustlers, label executives, gamblers, studio engineers, rack-jobbers, dee jays and leg breakers. This book belongs in the esteemed company of groundbreaking exposes [...] Selvin has told the story of a tortured soul of worthy of the Deems Taylor Award." —Downbeat Magazine

"Joel Selvin’s new book makes a claim to greatness. In the world of glaringly and exhaustively over-examined star bios, the San Francisco-based journalist not only exhumes a lost soul in the pantheon of ‘60s pop and soul (along with capturing rock ‘n’ roll’s burgeoning eruption), he also creates as engaged and energetic a narrative as any so-called serious writing can contain." —Paste Magazine

"The author provides a vivid, character-filled picture of the wild west atmosphere of the New York music biz, often branching out into narrative detours that are consistently entertaining and enlightening" —Austin Chronicle

"Selvin has such great fun telling tales about off-kilter, unscrupulous record-biz
denizens [...] the book is both an informative history of a wild time in the music business and a compendium of acerbically delivered gossip" —Maclean's

"[...] a detailed insider's look at 20th-century music." —San Jose Mercury News

"Berns is simply a hook for a larger history of the business of rhythm and blues in the 1960s. Here Comes the Night paints this milieu — unscrupulous businessmen shilling teenybopper hits" —Los Angeles Review of Books

"Here, Selvin chronicles in delicious detail the golden era of the early 1960s rhythm and blues music scene and the turbulent, hard-knuckle world of record-making behind the glitzy, gold foil façade of rock and roll success and glamor." — Cleveland Plain Dealer

"Joel Selvin has written a book whose prose is so alive, it begs to be read out loud. Its subject matter is so thrilling, you feel the excitement of writing a great song, finding an artist for that song, and producing the song on your own label." —Goldmine Magazine

"Here Comes the Night makes a strong case for Berns as the consummate record man, not just another white guy trolling to world of NYC independent R&B looking for a buck but a passionate believer in music.... Selvin takes a labyrinthine tale involving hundreds of characters and tames it... It's a classic a'60s music story as any. And Selvin tells it with period-appropriate style... In the 400-plus pages [...] Selvin also proves a shred salesman: by the end you'll have bought into the idea that Bert Berns, for all his flaws, was truly one of the great ones." —Mojo, four-star review

“Selvin makes the case that borderline-shady characters like Berns have always cast a big shadow over pop.” —Rolling Stone, 3 and ½ stars out of 4

“A thrilling story of a little-known songwriter and record producer of some of the greatest rhythm and blues hits. Longtime San Francisco Chronicle music critic Selvin digs with gusto into the tasty history of New York City’s hit-making songwriters, artists and record magnates of the great R&B era of the early 1960s, focusing on one of the greatest, if least sung of the bunch, Bert Berns … Selvin’s prose, muscular and Runyon-esque and never taking itself too seriously, moves the narrative along from its upbeat start to its sordid denouement at the edges of New York’s gangland. A fascinating time capsule of a free-wheeling era in American music and society.” —Kirkus

“Again and again, Selvin brings forgotten recording sessions that any other chronicler would have ignored to such stirring life that they validate not only the story he has to tell but the worth of Berns’s own life… Selvin lets you feel the contingency of the moment, how everything that happened—this inflection, that hesitation—could have turned out completely differently, and led to nothing.” —The Believer (Greil Marcus)

“[Selvin] delivers an authoritative look at a crucial point in American popular culture… [T]he extraordinary discography of compositions and productions included here testifies to Berns’ stature… if you grew up with the songs, you’ll leave the book happily singing to yourself, though also saddened (this being the blues).” —Booklist

"Here Comes The Night purports to be the story of Bert Berns and it is certainly that -- plus the in-depth story of many other fascinating individuals, as well as a socio-economic history of a musical culture, and how Rhythm & Blues and Rock 'n' Roll changed the music business and indeed... the world. I couldn't put it down!" -- Mike Stoller of Leiber and Stoller

Customer Reviews

I've been waiting for this book to be finished for at least ten years.
Jon D. Tiven
Joel Selvin does a masterful job of recrating the world of independent record men like Berns, Ahmet Ertegun, Jerry Wexler and others.
John P. Gelinas
If you know about some of the stories and some of the players, this book gives you more.
A. G. Krakow

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Mike Callahan on April 30, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A look into the way a nobody with real talent works his way into the corrupt business of R&B records. Lots of inside stories. Especially liked the story of the recording of the Isley Brothers' "Twist and Shout." A real look at how it was in the '50s and '60s in the world of making records. As Danny O'Keefe said in his song about the music business, "you write about the moon, and you write about the stars; You're right about the moon, but you're wrong about the stars." An ugly business at times as people - some talented, some not - are scratching their way to their lifelong dreams. Some sell their souls along the way.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Waxwing Slayne on May 11, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Most histories of the Brill Building era treat Bert Berns with hissing contempt, but Joel Selvin's fast-paced overview of Berns and his milieu shows you the complex man beneath the bad toupee. Selvin doesn't whitewash Berns' tendency to screw-over his artists, or his mob connections and willingness to use them, but he gives due to the man's joie de vivre, his rapport with musicians, and what nobody can deny: his ability to create more than a few unforgettable hit songs. It's interesting how Berns -- not unlike Bobby Darin -- had a heart condition (sounds like valve disease -- Selvin could have gone into the medical side a little more deeply) and knew he was in a race against time to make his mark on the world. Yes, Berns was vulgar and obnoxious, and hurt some people who didn't deserve it (and some who did), but songs he wrote, produced or brought to market have contributed much to the "gaiety of nations" and "increased the stock of harmless pleasure in the world". Selvin handles all this with great skill, and fills each page with behind-the-songs stories and potted biographies of everyone from backup singers, to mob enforcers. The book is so rich with offhand characters and tantalizing byways, it makes you realize that there are many more great tales yet to be told of this wonderful period in American music.
1 Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A. G. Krakow on May 22, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Like Jon Tiven, I've been waiting for this book for years. THANK YOU JOEL FOR FINALLY GETTING IT TO ALL OF US! First of all, it's incredibly well-written. And because of that, I lost only one day of work staying up way past my bedtime, because this really is a book you cannot put down. The book weaves the story of Berns, and the reason why this genius has been overlooked, with the backstory- which is essentially a history of R&B once rock and roll entered the lexicon and the culture. The attention to detail and impeccable research is superb-and I can really say that because I'm working on a project about a person who is sort of a peripheral part of this story and is in the book. I might suggest that in the next print run of this book, the youtube urls be included when Mr Selvin writes about Berns' productions and songs he'd written, because this is no namby-pamby book: Selvin uses his skills as one of the country's best rock critics from lets say the Woodstock days to the present to write about what's going on in each song. ( I read the book on my laptop, opened a new tab, and listened to all the songs as i read about them). Selvin doesnt mince words when describing the players: I was a bit taken aback by his description of Jerry Wexler because it is so blatantly honest. The entire book is that honest. The only down side: I was left bereft when the book ended, because Berns died, and the book ended. I wanted more. If you know about some of the stories and some of the players, this book gives you more. If you dont know about them, this is the book that gives you the keys to the kingdom. Bert Berns WAS a genius and many of us knew that. That Joel Selvin has finally told the story is a gift to all of us who love the music.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Elisa Brooks on May 7, 2014
Format: Hardcover
This is an amazing, torrid tale. Interesting insight in the record business. There are so many vignette's of history, music, songs we all know, musicians we all loved and stories we never knew. There was a real twist and knack for investigative reporting that an old newspaper guy like Joel Selvin could pull-off. Research, research, stories and interviews that really come to light. Joel Selvin has been writing for many years but this book is by far his best work. This story needed to be told and Selvin did it better than anyone could ever write it for us to enjoy. The book is pieced together like an intricate quilt or fine piece of Irish lace. 60 Minutes should cover this book. Can't put the book down. Must read.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Brian Lewis on December 2, 2014
Format: Hardcover
Hemingway once advised young short story writers to "start with the truth, then leave stuff out" until you are left with a story. This book does not leave enough out.

Many sections of it read as if the production notes from recording sessions of Brill Building recording sessions of the late 50s and 60s, were all strung together to make a book. That might sound appealing, if that is where your musical tastes are, and it is certainly what drew me to the book, but in practice it gets old pretty quickly.

Bert Berns is too minor a player and too unappealing a character to be the focus of a major biography. Author Joel Selvin seems to recognize this, and devotes more of the book to the "times" of Bert Berns than the life. Also,,the book pays more attention to the sales and business side of rock and roll than the artistic, creative and cultural side.

In terms of style, the book is over written and stuffed with the sort of bland filler of so many pop albums. The narrative style is that of a show off and know it all.

With all that, I do have to admit to enjoying the book, although that may say more about me than the book. I loved much of the music that comes from that era, and was shocked when I first approached the book to realize that "Hang on Sloopy", "Here Comes the Night" and "Piece of My Heart" were all written by the same person. If you loved this music you will very likely enjoy this book.

But I have to admit if the author had taken this approach on a subject such as classic, or rap, music, I would have passed on reading it.
2 Comments Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

Most Recent Customer Reviews


More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, read author blogs, and more.

Set up an Amazon Giveaway

Amazon Giveaway allows you to run promotional giveaways in order to create buzz, reward your audience, and attract new followers and customers. Learn more
Here Comes the Night: The Dark Soul of Bert Berns and the Dirty Business of Rhythm and Blues
This item: Here Comes the Night: The Dark Soul of Bert Berns and the Dirty Business of Rhythm and Blues
Price: $25.00 $18.75
Ships from and sold by Amazon.com