Mann, Barry, and Cynthia Weil

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Mann, Barry, and Cynthia Weil

Mann, Barry, and Cynthia Weil, brilliant professional songwriting team of the 1960s from N.Y’s Brill Building; Barry Mann (real name, Barry Iberman), b. Brooklyn, N.Y., Feb. 9, 1939; Cynthia Weil, b. N.Y., Oct. 18, 1937.

Barry Mann abandoned his architecture studies to become a songwriter in 1958. Achieving his first hit in collaboration with Mike Anthony in early 1959 with “She Say (Oom Dooby Doom)” as performed by The Diamonds, he was hired as a staff songwriter to Al Nevins and Don Kirshner’s Aldon Music, housed at N.Y.’s famed Brill Building. Teaming with several other writers on 1960s hits, Mann co-wrote “Footsteps” for Steve Lawrence, “I Love How You Love Me” for the Paris Sisters, and the maudlin “Patches” for Dickey Lee. Encouraged by Don Kirshner, Mann recorded an album of his own for ABC Records in 1961 that yielded a near-smash hit with the novelty song “Who Put the Bomp (In the Bomp, Bomp, Bomp),” co- written with Gerry Goffin.

Barry Mann’s greatest success came in collaboration with Cynthia Weil, whom he married in 1961. Their early hit compositions included “Uptown” and “He’s Sure the Boy I Love” for the Crystals, both from 1962. The couple’s hit songs from 1963 included “My Dad” for Paul Petersen, “Blame It on the Bossa Nova” for Eydie Gorme, “Only in America” for Jay and the Americans, and the classic “On Broadway” for the Drifters. Subsequent hit compositions were “I’m Gonna Be Strong” for Gene Pitney, “Saturday Night at the Movies” for the Drifters, and “We Gotta Get Out of This Place” for the Animals. In late 1964, the duo worked with songwriter-producer Phil Spector on “Walking in the Rain” for the Ronettes and the classic “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’” for the Righteous Brothers. During 1966, they provided the Righteous Brothers with “(You’re My) Soul and Inspiration” and Paul Revere and the Raiders with “Kick#” and “Hungry.” Other hit compositions with which they were associated through 1970 included Max Frost and The Troopers’ “Shapes of Things to Come,” Cass Elliot’s “It’s Getting Better” and “Make Your Own Kind of Music,” and B. J. Thomas’s “I Just Can’t Help Believing.”

By the late 1960s, Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil had left Aldon Music and moved to the West Coast, where Mann unsuccessfully attempted to launch a solo recording career. Another attempt in 1975 yielded the minor hit “The Princess and the Punk.” Later hits with which Barry Mann was associated included “Here You Come Again” by Dolly Parton and “Sometimes When We Touch” with Dan Hill, both from 1977. Barry Mann and James Homer composed the music for the 1986 animated film An American Tail.


barrymann:Who Put the Bomp (1961); Lay It All Out (1972); Survivor (1975); Barry Mann (1980). barry mann and james homer (composers):An American Tail (soundtrack) (1987).

—Brock Helander