You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Brooks Arthur Knew Fame Before Adam Sandler Tapped Him as Music Supervisor

Variety logo Variety 12/13/2016 Steven Gaydos
© Provided by Variety

Best-known as the music supervisor for Adam Sandler’s comedy hits over the past two decades, Brooks Arthur’s latest project, as producer of the acclaimed new music documentary, “Bang! The Bert Berns Story,” takes the Grammy winner back to the early days of his show business career, which began almost 60 years ago. Even before working with the songwriter-producer Berns as a recording engineer, Arthur had a label deal as singer-songwriter “Artie Blaine.” Arthur first caught Variety’s attention in 1959 when he was making the move to running his own label, Collegiate Records.

How did you make the move from record executive to artist?

I started in the mail room at Decca Records. It was a summer high school job. It was all in the hopes I would be discovered as a singer, that I’d get noticed by some A&R man or record producer. It turned out to be one of the best jobs in the business because label guys like Milt Gabler and Bob Field let me attend recording sessions by Ella Fitzgerald, Al Hibbler, the McGuire Sisters. I got conversant with the recording engineers. And I had gotten a little Revere recording machine as a bar mitzvah gift, which I used to start recording music shows off the TV set at home.

So you already knew you wanted to be an engineer?

No, at that point it was all about me being a singer. I knew there was no way I could miss.

Did you find the label executives receptive?

No, I was learning how to order records from the pressing plants, how to produce album covers, how to service a hit record with the DJs, but I wanted to be a singer and they kept telling me, “Let’s find the right song,” but they never did.

And you were impatient?

I took the money I was making at Coral Records and started my own label. I put together sessions with great musicians like Kenny Burrell and cut four songs. I was on my way to being a great singer and nothing was going to stop me, but I didn’t know enough to hire a great record promotion man like Georgie Goldner, who was one of the greatest. It was right there in front of my eyes and I didn’t see it.

Did you ever come close with these attempts to become a singing star?

I really thought I had it in 1960 when I cut “The Birthday Card,” which I co-wrote with Artie Kaplan and Paul Kaufman. It was on Capitol and Andy Wiswell produced it at the Capitol studios on West 46th Street in New York. It started to make some noise, but then it disappeared. It broke my heart.

But it opened the door to working with guys like Bert Berns, Don Kirshner, Neil Diamond, The McCoys, Van Morrison, Shadow Morton, Leiber and Stoller. It’s a long list.

I wanted to be the next Eddie Fisher, then I started engineering demos for my friends and I would have bet the store I would never become an engineer with hundreds of hits. But I became the Eddie Fisher of audio engineers.


More from Variety

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon