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The Greatest Ears In Town: The Arif Mardin Story (2010)

Arif Mardin , Sir George Martin , Doug Biro , Joe Mardin  |  NR |  DVD
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Arif Mardin, Sir George Martin, Bette Midler, The Bee Gees, Hall & Oates
  • Directors: Doug Biro, Joe Mardin
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, Dolby, HiFi Sound, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.77:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Shelter Island
  • DVD Release Date: November 5, 2013
  • Run Time: 103 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00D7DTSQ4
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #16,879 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Editorial Reviews

Aretha Franklin s Until You Come Back To Me, the Bee Gees, Jive Talkin, Norah Jones Don't Know Why, Chaka Khan's I Feel For You, Bette Midler's Wind Beneath My Wings ... are just a handful of the legendary artists and iconic hit recordings produced by 12 time Grammy Award winning producer, arranger and composer, Arif Mardin. The Grammy nominated film, The Greatest Ears In Town: The Arif Mardin Story chronicles the life and career of the man who produced more than 50 gold and platinum records with sales topping 50 million units.

Filled with rare footage, photos, and packed with incredible music, The Greatest Ears In Town features in-depth and intimate interviews and/or studio footage with music luminaries, friends and artists including Quincy Jones, Ahmet Ertegun, Sir George Martin, Willie Nelson, Carly Simon, Jewel, Daryl Hall, Phil Collins, The Bee Gees, Norah Jones and many others. The Greatest Ears In Town is one of the most insightful, enjoyable documentaries about how hits are created ever made.

Filmed in 1.78:1 aspect ratio, the producers also chose to go with the higher end sound output of Stereo 2.0 PCM 48k as further testimony to the incredible music and cutting end sounds created by Arif Mardin.

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
When you think of the great producers at Atlantic Records, the first names that come to mind are Amet Ertegun and Jerry Wexler. These are the guys who get the publicity. But another in the group of four Atlantic top staff (including Ahmet's brother Neshui) is Arif Mardin and he was different from the rest in two ways: First, and foremost, he was an arranger and composer, as well as a producer; Second he was more low-keyed and less ego-centric than the rest. In 2006 he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and decided to record his third solo album - but with original music, some composed in the 1970s - featuring his "friends". Mardin had talented friends: Bette Midler, Norah Jones, Dr. John, Chaka Kahn (it was Mardin who devised the hip-hop "Chaka Kahn, Chaka Kahn" riff on the 1984 platinum hit "I Feel For You") and Carly Simon. He almost completed the album before his death at age 74 in June 2006. His son, Joe, vowed to finish the album, and did.

It was Joe who decided to document the making of the album - and expand it with interviews with his dad and many of the people he worked with. The result was this wonderful and heartfelt 104-minute 2010 documentary, now making it's DVD debut - with 24 minutes of "outtakes". In addition to performances of many of the songs on the CD by the artists mentioned above, we hear from Sir George Martin, Quincy Jones, Willie Nelson, George Wein, Aretha Franklin and Mardin's widow. We also see that Mardin had a "classical side" and composed a classical piece for an orchestra in his native Turkey.

Parts of the film are narrated by Joe and you can feel the love he had for his father in his narration. The breadth of artists that helped Mardin will 15 Grammy Awards is exposed here as well.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An absolute "gotta see it" August 24, 2013
Whether you're a musician, a soundman, a producer or simply a fan of pop music through the years, The Greatest Ears in Town may well provide you with more insight into how "hits" are created than any other film you'll ever see. From R&B forward, Arif Mardin understood the nuances of musical creativity, and this film brings them forward for you to see and learn from while also providing a truly entertaining experience. Compare this to any American Masters feature doc from Lou Reed to Les Paul. Wow... no wonder this gentleman won so many Grammy's. Totally recommended...

As an aside to this, the producers of this film went with the top end audio in the form of PCM 48k. The sound is awesome.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Packed Full of Amazing Music Moments August 15, 2013
This film is a treat for any real music fan. It is packed with priceless stories from the likes of Phil Collins, Aretha Franklin, Bette Midler, Norah Jones, Barry Gibb, Chaka Khan, and tons more. I loved the anecdote about how the "Chaka, Chaka, Chaka Khan" hook from "I Feel For You" was created by Arif Mardin hitting a button repeatedly on the control desk (shown in the film) and another by Barry Gibb telling us how Mardin essentially created the Bee Gees' signature falsetto vocal style. Those are just two magic moments in a tremendous film. I can't recommend this more highly.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Extraordinary Story, Lovingly Told February 9, 2014
By Jaelynn
Verified Purchase
Warm, good-hearted, with stunning musical performances and human moments, this film takes you deep into the long life and final project of Arif Mardin, possibly the most under-sung producer in the history of recorded music. With cameos by everyone from Aretha Franklin to Phil Collins to Norah Jones to the BeeGees, you'll be astounded by the quality and range of Mardin's output, and by how he managed to treat virtually every artist he interacted with in a way that brought out that performer's best.

This is a memoir not just of a great man, but of a golden age in the music industry. Don't miss it!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Greatest Ears Indeed May 18, 2014
Verified Purchase
This movie while not perfect is a moving tribute to one of the most groundbreaking arrangers and producers to have graced this planet. While watching him work on his last project is interesting and a testament to his unflinching dedication, I would have liked a little more about the artists and albums he produced. Everyone should watch this if only to realize how this man touched so many people by helping so many musical giants achieve their dreams.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful testament to an exceptional artist October 15, 2014
By Ebab
Verified Purchase
I was born in 1966 in Germany, and came to grow up loving, among other influences, so many different kinds of popular American music -- among them Carly Simon, Aretha Franklin, the Bee Gees, the Average White Band, my beloved Chaka Khan, Bette Midler ... -- it was before the age of Internet and difficult to know who really was behind the music, so at least I religiously absorbed the credits on the vinyl sleeves, and was stunned to again and again come to see the name of ARIF MARDIN in the most unexpected contexts.

I'll say that his son Joe Mardin and all of the other collaborators succeeded in creating a fine, personal, balanced, emotionally-felt but not overly reverential portrait of this great artist who was exceptionally sensitive but also knew how to get things done.

I really would love to hear more recordings of Mr Mardin's own "classical" works mentioned, especially the chamber music and the lieder. I'm not sure if there is a large "market" but judging from myself, some devoted enthusiasts.

Anyway, thanks for this really wonderful tribute; well done.
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