BERT BERNS 11/8/29 – 12/30/67

“The first time I met Bert Berns (“Twist & Shout” “Piece Of My Heart”) was at a little bachelor party Artie Resnick, Kenny Young  had for Jeff Barry when he married Ellie Greenwich. From that time…until he passed…he always had an open door for me.

Although I’m bi-racial, up until the time I met him, my musical tastes ranged from pop to country. Bert helped me get more in touch with my African-American roots through the R+B music he loved so much. I remember the day he wrote “Hang On Sloopy”…he grabbed me in the hall at 1650 Broadway (where we both had offices) and played it for me on his funky, old stand up piano. I was so blown away I couldn’t write for a week!!!

We both had another connection…a serious one. We both had congenital heart problems. I was lucky…In 1965 I was one of the first people in the U.S. to have open heart surgery. I made medical history by walking around 36 hours after the procedure. Bert and I would sit and talk…sometimes for hours…about the operation. How I felt?…Did it make a difference? He knew it was still a big risk and he had a family to consider. Now every time I hear one of his songs…or feel a little of his soul in my own music…I thank God I was privileged to know him.”

From my forthcoming book, “I Did It For A Song” Copyright 2009 by Artie Wayne

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