Off the Charts: the song-poem story


Newly remastered, the film, originally shot on 16mm, is available in HD for the first time.

“A kind of loopy genius… Delightful look at the decades-old, subterranean song-poem industry.” Dennis Harvey, Variety

“Chances are, you’ve never seen anything like the strange, funny, sad and completely spellbinding documentary “Off the Charts: The Song-Poem Story” …If you appreciate American pop culture in all of its quirky permutations, don’t dare miss this film.”
–Kevin McDonough, United Features Syndicate

OFF THE CHARTS: THE SONG POEM STORY is a fascinating and often hilarious documentary that exposes the strange underworld of the song-poem industry. In this little known subculture, “ordinary people” respond to come-on ads on the back pages of magazines (“Send in Your Lyrics and Make $50,000 in royalties!”), mailing in their heartfelt but often bizarre poems to “music industry” companies that, for a fee, turn those poems into real recordings. Through encounters with several song-poem writers, the jaded producers and musicians who set their words to music, and a few of the growing number of zealous song-poem connoisseurs, OFF THE CHARTS explores a truly unique, never-before-seen slice of Gothic Americana. Shocking, funny, and heart-wrenching all at once, OFF THE CHARTS is a fascinating look at one of the strangest subcultures in our American landscape.

As filmmaker Jamie Meltzer says, “The beauty of Song-Poems is that they are a result of the intersection, or collision, of ordinary people’s expressions and the desires of musicians/businesses to make a quick buck, making the music as fast as they can, usually in one take. When those two forces combine, they create strangely compelling songs that are unlike anything you’ve ever heard.”

“An astounding documentary exploring the bizarre world of the song-poem” – John Adamian, Hartford Advocate

“Incredibly executed and full of memorable characters, this film was obviously made by someone who respects heavy-duty pathos. –Beth Lisick, San Francisco Chronicle

“As funny, sad and genuinely strange as only non-fiction can be.” – Joanne Weintraub, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

“By turns humorous and heartbreaking…as strange as it is mesmerizing.”– Greg Haymes Albany Times-Union

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Date: June 1, 2019

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