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The Greatest Ears In Town: The Arif Mardin Story

4.7 out of 5 stars 26 customer reviews

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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.

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.)
  • 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 (26 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00D7DTSQ4
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #59,827 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Steve Ramm TOP 100 REVIEWER on September 30, 2013
Format: DVD
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.
Read more ›
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Format: DVD
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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Arif Mardin was one of the last great musical architects. The accomplishments of his forty year career read as an evolutionary portrait of American contemporary music. His production, composing, and arranging credits include works from such prolific artists as Aretha Franklin, Donny Hathaway, Dusty Springfield, Bee Gees, Bette Midler, Hall & Oates, Roberta Flack, Phil Collins, Jewel, and many others. A twelve time Grammy-Award winner, his most recent decoration came as "Producer of the Year" for the Norah Jones album Come Away with Me (he also co-produced her follow up, Feels Like Home). Mardin was born in Istanbul, Turkey, on March 15, 1932. He attended Istanbul University and the London School of Economics. After a chance meeting with Dizzy Gillespie in Turkey in 1956, Mardin realized his wish to work in music. He became the first recipient of the Quincy Jones scholarship to the Berklee College of Music and graduated in 1961. He then moved onto Atlantic Records, where he worked alongside the legendary team of producer Jerry Wexler and engineer Tom Dowd. While working his way up from studio manager to in-house arranger, Mardin began what would soon become a long and distinguished run of producing hit records. From the Rascal's "Good Lovin" and the Bee Gees "Jive Talkin" to Phil Collins "Against All Odds" and Bette Midler's "Wind Beneath My Wings" Mardin's Midas touch was unstoppable. Musical attributes aside, his humanitarian efforts were also highly regarded: He was honored with the Lifting Up the World with a Oneness-Heart Award, presented at the United Nations, and was awarded the "Shofar of Peace" from the Sephardic Community of Los Angeles, commemorating 500 years of peace and friendship between the Jewish and Turkish communities.Read more ›
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Format: DVD
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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Format: DVD 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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