Harold S. “Nappy” Grossbardt and his partner Sidney Turk founded Colony Records in 1948 after Grossbardt’s former employer, Colony Sporting Goods, went out of business at Broadway and West 52nd Street. The store’s extended hours and prime location made it popular with musicians, theatergoers, and nightclub patrons. In 1970, Colony moved to the Brill Building, at 1619 Broadway, where it continues to do a brisk business in the sale of sheet music, soundtracks, and Broadway memorabilia.
The Brill Building was erected in 1931 and named for the Brill Brothers clothing store that occupied its corner retail space. During the Depression, a paucity of commercial tenants forced the owners to rent space to music publishers, and by 1962 the Brill Building’s eleven floors housed an estimated 165 music businesses. These included record labels and small recording studios, but most of the offices were occupied by songwriters and publishing firms including Hill & Range, Arc Music, and Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller’s Trio Music; and composers Neil Diamond, Jeff Barry & Ellie Greenwich, Doc Pomus & Mort Shuman, and Burt Bacharach & Hal David. The Dixie Cups’ “Chapel of Love,” The Drifters’ “This Magic Moment,” and “Don’t Make Me Over” by Dionne Warwick are among the many pop classics that represent the Brill Building scene at its early-Sixties peak.
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