Skip to main content
Black pop songwriting 1963-1966: an analysis of US top forty hits by Cooke, Mayfield, Stevenson, Robinson, and Holland-Dozier-Holland
Black Music Research Journal
  • Jon Fitzgerald, Southern Cross University
Document Type
Publication Date
Peer Reviewed
Black songwriter-performers such as Fats Domino, Little Richard, and Chuck Berry achieved success on the U.S. pop charts (1) as leading contributors to the development of 1950s rock and roll. Rock and roll's impact had waned by the late 1950s, however, and white songwriter-producers dominated the creation of U.S. pop hits. Many of the successful songwriters from this period have been referred to as "Brill Building" composers--so named after a building (located at 1619 Broadway in New York) that first housed music publishers during the Great Depression. Successful writers and writing teams (e.g., Don Kirsher/Al Nevins, Jerry Leiber/Mike Stoller, Doc Pomas/Mort Shuman, Carole King/Gerry Goffin, Barry Mann/Cynthia Weil, and Phil Spector) created material for a wide range of artists (including male and female soloists, duos, and girl groups). They typically functioned as producers as well as songwriters, and some went on to form influential record companies such as Aldon (Kirshner/Nevins), Redbird (Leiber/Stoller), and Philles (Spector/Sill). (2)
Citation Information

Fitzgerald, J 2007, 'Black pop songwriting 1963-1966: an analysis of U.S. top forty hits by Cooke, Mayfield, Stevenson, Robinson, and Holland-Dozier-Holland', Black Music Research Journal, vol. 27, no. 2, pp. 97-141.