M is for Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil

Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil’s induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame occurred during the 50th year of their personal and professional collaboration.

mann-weil2In the hit Broadway show Beautiful: the Carole King Musical, the characters portraying songwriters Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil express having a complicated relationship with competing songwriters King and her then-husband, the late Gerry Goffin, back in the 1960s.

From a February 2015 CBS Sunday Morning interview: “That was absolute truth,” replied Weil. “It was the most conflicting relationship I think we’ve ever had with anybody. Because we loved them, we hated them, we were competitive with them, we cheered for them, we cheered for ourselves.”

You may never have heard of Barry Mann (b. February 9, 1939, in Brooklyn, New York City) and Cynthia Weil (b. October 18, 1940, in New York City), but it is most likely that you have listened to their many songs, most of which are linked HERE, and many of which charted.

“Blame It on the Bossa Nova” – Eydie Gorme
“Don’t Know Much” – Aaron Neville and Linda Ronstadt (written with Tom Snow)
“He’s Sure the Boy I Love” – The Crystals
“Hungry” – Paul Revere & the Raiders
“Kicks” – Paul Revere & The Raiders
“Make Your Own Kind of Music” – “Mama” Cass Elliot
“On Broadway” – The Drifters; George Benson (written with Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller)
“Only in America” – The Drifters (unreleased); Jay and the Americans
“Somewhere Out There” – Linda Ronstadt and James Ingram
“The Shape of Things to Come” – Max Frost and the Troopers
“Walking in the Rain” – The Ronettes; The Walker Brothers
“We Gotta Get out of This Place” – The Animals
“Who Put the Bomp (in the Bomp, Bomp, Bomp) – Barry Mann (written with Gerry Goffin)
“(You’re My) Soul and Inspiration” – The Righteous Brothers; Donny and Marie Osmond
“You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin'” – The Righteous Brothers; Dionne Warwick; Hall & Oates; Roberta Flack-Donny Hathaway (written with Phil Spector)

In 1987, they were inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame. They were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2010. Their bio notes:

They’re… one of the longest-running teams in the music business, having been collaborators since 1960. Their induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame occurred during the 50th year of their personal and professional collaboration.

In addition to longevity, they’ve exhibited great stylistic range in their work, from epic ballads… to outright rockers… They are also among pop’s most prolific songwriters as well; Mann has nearly 800 and Weil nearly 600 works registered with Broadcast Music, Inc. It’s estimated that Mann and Weil’s songs are responsible for the sale of 200 million records.

They have been married since 1961.

Mann’s other movie work includes the scores for I Never Sang for My Father and Muppet Treasure Island, and songs for National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation and Oliver and Company. He is an occasional recorded singer and active photographer.

“In 2004, Mann and Weil’s They Wrote That?, a musical revue based on their songs, opened in New York. In it, Mann sang and Weil related stories about the songs and their personal history.”

ABC Wednesday – Round 16

Carole King is 70

Carole King was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a composer of a slew of hit songs, many with her then-husband, Gerry Goffin. King, who inspired Neil Sedaka’s Oh, Carol, also put out an album, 1971’s Tapestry, that was in virtually every dorm room when I went to college. It held the “No.1 spot for 15 consecutive weeks, remained on the charts for nearly six years, sold 10 million copies in the United States, and 25 million worldwide. The album garnered four Grammy Awards including Album of the Year…”

Carole King made “three appearances as guest star on the TV series Gilmore Girls as Sophie, the owner of the Stars Hollow music store. King’s song ‘Where You Lead (I Will Follow)’ was also the theme song of the series, in a version sung with her daughter Louise” Goffin.

Thought I’d pick a dozen of her songs, my favorite interpretations thereof, with links to each.

12. Jazzman – Lisa Simpson with Bleeding Gums Murphy. Yes, it’s from the cartoon The Simpsons, early on.
11. Every Breath I Take – Gene Pitney. I think it was Fred Hembeck who turned me on to Pitney. Only got to #42 in 1961.
10. Chains – The Beatles. Covering a girl group called The Cookies, from their first album.
9. The Loco-motion – Little Eva. Goffin and King’s babysitter, who was, unfortunately, the inspiration for my LEAST favorite Goffin-King song, He Hit Me (It Felt Like A Kiss). Loco-Motion would go US Top 3 twice more, by Grand Funk Railroad (1974, #1) and Kylie Minogue (1988, #3)
8. One Fine Day – The Chiffons. #5 in 1963.
7. I’m Into Something Good – Herman’s Hermits. If I believed in guilty pleasures, one would be Herman’s Hermits. I got their first greatest hits album when I failed to return the response card from the Capitol Record Club. And I’m glad I did. #13 in 1964.
6. Up On The Roof – The Drifters. Also covered by Laura Nyro (1970), James Taylor (1979, #28), and a number of others, but I love the 1962 model, which went to #5.
5. You’ve Got A Friend – James Taylor, a post-Goffin tune, with King on backing vocals and piano, went to #1 in 1971. Taylor and King have toured a great deal together in recent years.
4. Pleasant Valley Sunday – The Monkees. How could I not love this song? “Mr. Green, he’s so serene, he’s got a TV in every room.” #3 in 1967.
3. Don’t Bring Me Down – The Animals. Great raw sound one doesn’t associate with a King song. Got to #12 in 1965.
2. (You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman – Aretha Franklin. Hmm, this went only to #8 in 1967. It’s such an anthem, co-written by Jerry Wexler.
1. Will You Love Me Tomorrow – Carole King, with the Mitchell-Taylor Boy and Girl Chorus. This was a number #1 hit for the Shirelles in 1960, King’s first big hit as a songwriter, but I’ve always been partial to King’s version on Tapestry.

Happy birthday, Carole!

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