You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling – the most played song in radio history, Just Once, Here You Come Again, On Broadway, Somewhere Out There, Don’t Know Much, Never Gonna Let You Go, Sometimes When We Touch, We Gotta Get Out Of This Place… the songs are familiar, enduring favorites penned by one legendary songwriter, Barry Mann.
In the ever changing, music industry, it is rare for a writer to achieve and maintain staying power. Songwriter Barry Mann, together with his late wife, lyricist Cynthia Weil, is one of the outstanding creators of American popular music. He has crafted countless hits and some of the most influential and beloved pop songs in a career that has spanned four decades.
Mann first landed on the pop charts as a teen songwriter with the novelty hit She Say. Shortly after, he began working at Don Kirshner and Al Nevins’ Aldon Music as part of the now legendary “Brill Building writers”. Among his colleagues there were Carole King and Gerry Goffin, Neil Sedaka, Carol Bayer Sager, Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, Phil Spector and the woman who would become his partner in life and music, lyricist Cynthia Weil. The two soon embarked on their remarkably successful personal and professional relationship.
Mann’s seemingly endless stream of hit songs followed: Uptown, Who Put The Bomp (which also put him on the charts as a recording artist), On Broadway and Only In America (both co-written with Leiber and Stoller), We Gotta Get Out Of This Place, I Love How You Love Me, Blame It On The Bossa Nova, Kicks, Hungry, He’s Sure The Boy I Love, Walking In The Rain, Soul And Inspiration, I Just Can’t Help Believing, Rock And Roll Lullaby… and that was just the beginning.
Over the decades, Mann and Weil produced hits for almost every genre from R& B to soul, country to rock and roll. In the seventies, they gave Dolly Parton her first crossover hit, the million selling, Here You Come Again, which was also honored that year as Broadcast Music’s “most played country song”. Mann also collaborated with Dan Hill on Sometimes When We Touch, the romantic ballad that introduced the Canadian hitmaker to US audiences. In the eighties, Mann and Weil helped launch the career of James Ingram with the sophisticated, Just Once, reintroduced the world to the angelic voice of Aaron Neville with Don’t Know Much (written with Tom Snow), and created the classic Somewhere Out There. Even in the nineties, they went on to collaborate with teen sensations Hanson on I Will Come To You.
Film was another area of expertise for Mann. With Weil and composer James Horner he penned the song score for the acclaimed animated film An American Tail, including the double Grammy award winning, Oscar and Golden Globe nominated instant standard, Somewhere Out There.
Early in his career, Mann co-scored I Never Sang For My Father. He also created song scores for films as diverse as the cult classic Wild In The Streets and the children’s classic Muppet Treasure Island, and has contributed songs to Christmas Vacation, Oliver And Company and Balto among others. Mann was once again Grammy nominated for the song Whatever You Imagine from The Pagemaster.
Mann’s extensive repertoire also includes the theater. In January 2004, he and Weil opened in New York for a limited run of They Wrote That? a show based on their catalogue of hit songs. The show was directed by Tony award winning director, Richard Maltby, Jr, who also directed Mann and Weil’s original pop rock musical based on the motion picture classic, Mask, which premiered at Pasadena Playhouse in March 2008. And many of their hits are part of the song score of the hit show, Beautiful, The Carole King Musical, in which Mann and Weil’s young selves are portrayed by actors.
Mann’s talents, however, are not solely limited to music. He is also an accomplished photographer whose work has won a place in numerous group exhibitions. He has also been exhibited in one and two person shows at multiple galleries in Los Angeles and San Francisco.
With an undeniable knack for keeping in tune with the changing times, Barry Mann is truly a music business phenomenon. He has written innumerable pop hits and has been able to create the kinds of songs that transcend time. Adapting uncannily to different themes, styles and genres, he has attracted a broad range of artists to record and re-record his many classics and has presented songs that have become themes and anthems… “soundtracks” to our lives, and he continues to create both musical and visual works that are powerful, unique and timeless.