BROOKS ARTHUR (1936-2022): GRAMMY Award Winning Record Producer/Engineer

Brooks Arthur (born Arnold Brodsky), a beloved and highly respected engineer and producer in the recording and film industries, passed away Sunday. As a young, aspiring crooner, he went from his native Brooklyn to Manhattan for singing lessons weekly and started his illustrious career in the music business while in high school, as a part-timer in the Decca Records mailroom. A few years later, he was enlisted by Aldon Music as a songwriter and demo singer along with Carole King, Neil Sedaka, Barry Mann, Cynthia Weil and other future legendary writers/artists. He wrote “At the Edge of Tears” recorded by a young Tony Orlando, who introduced him to his engineering mentor.

Photo by Betsy Hammer

At Associated Studios, the next stop on his way to fame, he engineered numerous hits for Jeff Barry and Ellie Greenwich as well as “What A Guy” by the Raindrops, “My Boyfriend’s Back” by the Angels, amongst others. Now a full-fledged engineer, his work at Mirasound, where some exceptional talents were sowing the seeds of early ‘60s rock, where he gained the reputation as the chief architect of the Girl Group Sound. He engineered many Leiber and Stoller hits; there he engineered the Dixie Cups’ “Chapel of Love”, the Shangri-Las’ “Leader of the Pack”, “Hang On Sloopy” by The McCoys, and Janis Ian’s “Society’s Child.”

Mega-producer Phil Ramone lured Brooks away to work at his A&R Studios where he engineered hits for the Lovin’ Spoonful, for Van Morrison including “Brown Eyed Girl” on which he sang backup, and the historically important LP “Wavelength” of which Brooks was very proud, as well as the iconic “Astral Weeks.” He also engineered more than a dozen Neil Diamond songs including “Cherry Cherry,” “Kentucky Woman” and the anthem, “Sweet Caroline.”

In the 1970s, Brooks produced and engineered “Janis Ian’s “Between the Lines” album which included her classic hit “At Seventeen”, earning him his first GRAMMY win. Over the course of his career, he was nominated 20 times for GRAMMYs, winning three, and he received an Oscar nomination for “Glory of Love” from “The Karate Kid II”. He was music supervisor on all three “Karate Kid” films. It was the film’s producer, Jerry Weintraub, who introduced Brooks to the Chabad, where he began his journey as an observant Jew, a path he followed for the rest of his life.

Brooks then took the leap and opened his own recording studios, first Century Sound where his clients included Neil Diamond, Van Morrison, Evie Sands and his own band, Brooks Arthur Ensemble, which released its second LP “Traces.” He later opened 914 Studios in Rockland County. It was there that Bruce Springsteen recorded his debut album “Greetings from Asbury Park” as well as “The Wild, the Innocent & the E Street Shuffle” and much of “Born to Run.”

Just some of the other people Brooks worked with throughout his stellar career, churning out hit after hit, are Ashford & Simpson, Art Garfunkel, The Grateful Dead, Burt Bacharach, Bernadette Peters, Bette Midler, Blood, Sweat & Tears, Brook Benton, The Chiffons, Deborah Harry, Debbie Boone, Dusty Springfield, Gordon Lightfoot, Jerry Lee Lewis, Liza Minnelli, Michael Feinstein, Miriam Makeba, Bobby Darin, Peggy Lee, Richie Havens, and too many more to list.

At the encouragement of his lifelong friend Tony Orlando, he moved with his wife and two children to Los Angeles, where they stayed with Tony until settling in.

He went on to enjoy a career as a comedy producer, beginning with two albums for Robin Williams, “Reality…What a Concept” and the GRAMMY winning “Live From the Met.” He then began a 29-year relationship with Adam Sandler, for which Brooks always felt blessed and grateful. Adam recently called him “one of the 12 most important people in my life” and Brooks felt the same way about Adam. Their collaboration began with Brooks producing the GRAMMY nominated multi-platinum selling “The Chanukah Song.” He went on to produce all of Adam’s comedy albums from “They’re All Gonna Laugh At You!” through “Shhh…Don’t Tell.” Brooks was not without a terrific sense of humor. He co-wrote and co-produced the animated holiday movie musical “Eight Crazy Nights.” He worked as music supervisor for most of Adam’s films including “Grown Ups,” “Click,” “You Don’t Mess With The Zohan,” “Fifty First Dates,” “Grown Ups 2” and “Blended.”

Brooks’ comedy productions also included many of Sandler’s concert tours as well as albums with Norm Macdonald and Robert Smigel’s “Triumph the Insult Comic Dog.”

Always remaining friends with each of his clients, associates and peers, he was a producer and appeared in “BANG! The Bert Berns Story,” the documentary portraying his friend, the legendary songwriter of such classics as “Twist and Shout” and “Piece of My Heart.”

Brooks just completed his autobiography which is currently being edited, sharing his amazing experiences, behind-the-scenes studio stories, and recording insights.

Adjectives describing Brooks include kind, gentle, talented, humble, loving and loved. As Adam Sandler described him in his tribute, “A true mensch.” Brooks leaves behind a personal legacy as great as his professional one. He was a devoted and supportive husband, father, grandfather and friend. He leaves behind his wife of 63 years, Marilyn, their daughters Jill Arthur Posner and Jacki Arthur Eisenberg, their husbands, Ari and Jerry, respectively, and four grandchildren, Maxwell Abish, Benjamin Posner, Natalie Posner and Jade Eisenberg, and a sister Rochelle Kaplan.

The funeral is midday on Sunday, October 16 at Mount Sinai Memorial Parks and Mortuaries in Simi Valley. The family asks that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to or the American Jewish World Service.

For any additional information:
Jo-Ann Geffen
(818) 905-5511 or M: (818) 744-2044

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