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] that took its name from the Brill Building in New York City, where numerous teams of professional songwriters penned material for girl groups and teen idols during the early 1960s.[2] The term has also become a metonym 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 music conceived at the Brill Building was more sophisticated than other pop styles of the time, combining contemporary sounds with classic Tin Pan Alley songwriting.[1] 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 a 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[edit]

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 Daily Telegraph. April 18, 2011.
  10. ^ New York Times 2011, p. 163.
  11. ^ Hall 2014, p. 38.
  12. ^ Chris Smith (2009). 101 Albums that Changed Popular Music. Oxford University Press. p. 83. ISBN 9780195373714.
  13. ^ Auslander 2006, p. 54.