|Aretha Franklin‘s ‘Until You Come Back To Me’; the Bee Gees‘ ‘Jive Talkin’;Norah Jones‘s ‘Don’t Know Why’; Chaka Khan‘s ‘I Feel For You’; Bette Midler‘s ‘Wind Beneath My Wings’ … these are just a handful of the legendary artists and iconic hit recordings produced by the late 12-time Grammy Award winning producer, arranger and composer, Arif Mardin. Now, for the first time outside the USA, the Grammy-nominated film, ‘The Greatest Ears In Town: The Arif Mardin Story’ is being made available on DVD, released simultaneously with the CD album ‘All My Friends Are Here’. The album features 13 songs – all but one co-written by Arif – as well as a host of the artists with whom he was inexorably linked. ‘The Greatest Ears In Town: The Arif Mardin Story’ is released by Film Movement, ‘All My Friends Are Here’by NuNoise Records, both are available on 26 August 2016.
‘The Greatest Ears In Town: The Arif Mardin Story’ chronicles the life and career of the man who produced more than 50 gold and platinum records with sales topping 50 million units. Filled with rare footage, photos, and packed with incredible music, ‘The Greatest Ears In Town’ features in-depth and intimate interviews and/or studio footage with music luminaries, friends and artists including Quincy Jones, Ahmet Ertegun, Sir George Martin, Willie Nelson, Carly Simon, Jewel, Daryl Hall, Phil Collins, The Bee Gees, Norah Jonesand many others. ‘The Greatest Ears In Town’ is one of the most insightful, enjoyable documentaries about how hits are created, told by the legend himself – Arif Mardin.
Bonus features on the DVD include extended interviews and studio sessions with Arif Mardin, including intimate home video footage; Featurette of Arif Mardin; an alternate scene for ‘No Way Out’. Additionally there is an interview with Phil Collins and Arif Mardin about the recording of ‘Separate Lives’; interviews with world famous recording artists, including Aretha Franklin, Phil Collins, and Chaka Khan about Arif Mardin‘s last projects he worked on before passing. There are also excerpts from Arif Mardin‘s memoirs and ‘Lunch With Chaka… Joe Finishes The Album’ which combines Joe Mardin talking to Chaka Khan and sharing memories about his father with footage of the finishing touches.
Unintentionally of course, Arif Mardin crafted his own eulogy. Naturally, givenMardin’s stature as arguably the most accomplished arranger/producer of the past half-century – the genius responsible for everything from Dusty Springfield’s landmark ‘Dusty In Memphis’ to Barry Gibb’s career-altering falsetto, the stratospheric launch of the Average White Band and the equally meteoritic blast-off of Norah Jones — it is shaped of music. Mardin aptly referred to what would ultimately become ‘All My Friends Are Here’ as his “life’s work.” Begun in 2005 and completed by his son and co-producer Joeafter Mardin’s death, in June 2006 at age 74 of pancreatic cancer, it is an incomparably rich, atmospheric celebration of all aspects of the 12-time Grammy winner’s vibrant life and career.
Mardin wrote or co-wrote all but one of the album’s 13 tracks. While some are brand new songs written specifically for the album, others date back decades like the exquisitely romantic ‘Longing for You’, written when Mardin was 23, perhaps as an ode to Latife who would become his partner in their fifty-year marriage. To perform this heady potpourri of songs, father and son assembled more than a dozen of the artists whose careers Mardin launched and moulded, including Bette Midler, Norah Jones, Raul Midón, Barry Gibb, Chaka Khan, Danny O’Keefe, the Average White Band, Daryl Hall and Felix Cavaliere.
Arif Mardin was a true one off, a visionary creative soul and ‘The Greatest Ears In Town: The Arif Mardin Story’ and ‘All My Friends Are Here’ are a true testament to his work.