Brill Building (genre)

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Brill Building (also known as Brill Building pop or the Brill Building Sound)[1] is a subgenre of pop music[1] originating from the Brill Building in New York City, where numerous teams of professional songwriters penned material for girl groups and teen idols in the early 1960s.[2] The term has also become a catch-all for the period in which those songwriting teams flourished.[7] In actuality, most hits of the mid 1950s and early 1960s were written elsewhere.[7]


The Brill Building's music was more sophisticated than other pop styles of the time, combining then-modern sounds with classic Tin Pan Alley songwriting.[1] Its productions often featured orchestras and bands with large rhythm and guitar sections,[2] while its lyrics focused on idealized romance and adolescent anxieties, only rarely exploring more mature themes.[8]

The genre dominated the American charts in the period between Elvis Presley's army enlistment in 1958 and the onset of the British Invasion in 1964.[9] It declined thereafter, but demonstrated a continued influence on British and American pop and rock music in subsequent years,[2][3] having introduced the concept of professional songwriters to traditional pop and early rock and roll,[3] and helping to inspire the girl group craze of the era.[10] Other reasons for the style's decline was the tendency among writers and producers to duplicate earlier successes, resulting in many records that sounded the same, as well the changing nature of society and consumer markets.[11] Many of the genre's composers went on to further success as part of the singer-songwriter movement later in the 1960s and 1970s.[12]

List of artists

1960s artists/songwriters

Later artists


  1. ^ a b c d e f g Fontenot, Robert (November 1, 2015). "What is Brill Building Music?". About.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i Anon. "Brill Building Pop". AllMusic.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n Gulla 2007, p. 366.
  4. ^ a b Bessman, Jim (August 25, 2001). "TV's Hitmakers Spotlights Home Of Brilliant Songwriting". Billboard. p. 44. ISSN 0006-2510.
  5. ^ a b Viglione, Joe. "Breaking Up Is Hard to Do". AllMusic.
  6. ^ Anon. "Sunshine Pop". AllMusic.
  7. ^ a b Seabrook 2015, p. 51.
  8. ^ a b c d e f g Hall 2014, p. 39.
  9. ^ a b "Don Kirshner". The Telegraph. April 18, 2011.
  10. ^ New York Times 2011, p. 163.
  11. ^ Hall 2014, p. 38.
  12. ^ Chris Smith. 101 Albums that Changed Popular Music. Oxford University Press. p. 83.
  13. ^ Auslander 2006, p. 54.


  • Auslander, Philip (2006). Performing Glam Rock: Gender and Theatricality in Popular Music. University of Michigan Press. ISBN 0-472-06868-7.
  • Gulla, Bob, ed. (2007). Icons of R&B and Soul: An Encyclopedia of the Artists Who Revolutionized Rhythm. Greenwood. ISBN 978-0-313-34044-4.
  • Hall, Mitchell K. (2014). The Emergence of Rock and Roll: Music and the Rise of American Youth Culture. Routledge. ISBN 978-1-135-05358-1.
  • New York Times, The (2011). The New York Times Guide to Essential Knowledge: A Desk Reference for the Curious Mind. St. Martin's Press. ISBN 978-0-312-64302-7.
  • Seabrook, John (2015). The Song Machine: Inside the Hit Factory. W. W. Norton. ISBN 978-0-393-24193-8.
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