News: Brill Building, Legendary Site of ‘60s Pop Songwriting, Is Now a Landmark

photo by David Chiu

A New York City building that was home to many hit songwriters from the 1960s, including Neil Diamond, Gerry Goffin and Carole King, and Neil Sedaka, has now been officially called a city landmark.

The Brill Building, located on 1619 Broadway in Times Square, was one of several structures in the five boroughs that were named landmarks by the New York City Landmarks Preservation Committee last Tuesday. As defined by the Committee on its Web site, a landmark “is a building, property, or object that has… special character or special historical or aesthetic interest or value as part of the development, heritage, or cultural characteristics of the city, state, or nation.”

“This legendary building is as closely linked to American music as Hollywood is to film,” said Commission Chairman Robert B. Tierney in a press release. “It’s also a standout because it’s one of the few Art Deco buildings in Times Square.

According to the Times Square Alliance Web site, the Brill Building, which was built in 1931, was named after the Brill brothers who owned a men’s clothing. It was at this building where many hit pop songwriters worked during the 1960s. They included Burt Bacharach and Hal David; Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil; Jeff Barry and Ellie Greenwich; Doc Pomus and Mort Shuman, and Paul Anka. This month, Brill Building alums Mann and Weil, Barry and Greenwich, and Shuman were inducted into Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

In his 2004 memoir Chronicles, Vol. One, Bob Dylan mentioned the Brill Building: “Over there, they cranked out the home-run hits for radio playlists…they were the songwriting masters of the Western World, wrote all the popular songs, all the songs with crafty melodies and simple lyrics that came off as works over the airwaves.”


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