Songwriter and record producer Bert Berns' meteoric career was fueled by his pending doom. His heart damaged by rheumatic fever as a youth, Berns was not expected to live to see 21. Although his name is little remembered today, Berns went from nobody to the top of the pops, producer of monumental r & b classics, songwriter of "Twist and Shout," "My Girl Sloopy," "Piece of My Heart," and others. His fury to succeed led Berns to use his Mafia associations to muscle Atlantic Records out of their partnership and intimidate new talents whom he had signed to his record label. Berns died at age 38 just when he was seeing his grandest plans frustrated and foiled.