Cynthia Weil Dies

Cynthia Weil wrote the lyrics and her husband Barry Mann the music.

Cynthia Weil was an American songwriter and lyricist known for her contributions to numerous hit songs from the 1960s and beyond. Born on October 18, 1940, in New York City, Cynthia Weil grew up on the Upper West Side and the Upper East Side of Manhattan in a Conservative Jewish family.

She developed a passion for music at an early age growing up in a musical family in New York City. Her father was Morris Weil, a furniture store owner and the son of Lithuanian-Jewish immigrants, and her mother was a homemaker. As a child, she studied piano and showed a talent for writing poetry. She attended the High School of Music and Art in New York City, where she honed her musical skills.

During her time at Queens College, Cynthia Weil met fellow songwriter Barry Mann[1]. They began dating and soon realized their shared passion for songwriting. The couple teamed up professionally, forming one of the most successful songwriting duos in popular music history. In the early 1960s, Weil and Mann became part of the vibrant music scene centered around the Brill Building[2] in New York City. The Brill Building was home to numerous songwriters, producers, and musicians, and it served as a hub for creating popular music at the time.

Weil and Mann developed a professional relationship that quickly turned romantic; they married in 1961.

Weil and Mann collaborated with other talented songwriters such as Gerry Goffin and Carole King. With Weil writing the words and Mann the music, they came up with a number of songs that addressed such serious subjects as racial and economic divides, ‘Uptown’, …and the difficult reality of making it in the big city (‘On Broadway’).

‘Only in America’… tackled segregation and racism, making it rather too controversial for the Drifters, who were the intended artists. ‘We Gotta Get out of This Place’ became an anthem for [the] Vietnam soldier, antiwar protesters, and young people who viewed it as an anthem of greater opportunities.”

In 1987, she was inducted with her husband into the Songwriters Hall of Fame.

In 2011, Mann and Weil received the Johnny Mercer Award, the highest honor from the Songwriters Hall of Fame.

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.

In 2015, Weil published her first novel, I’m Glad I Did, a mystery set in 1963.

Barry and Cynthia had such hits and memorable songs as “Christmas Vacation” – The title song for the 1989 film of the same name, “Here You Come Again” – by Dolly Parton, “Hungry” and “Kicks” – by Paul Revere & the Raiders, “Love is Only Sleeping” – The Monkees, “On Broadway” – The Drifters and George Benson, “Shades of Gray” – The Monkees,

“Shape of Things to Come” – by Max Frost and the Troopers, “We Gotta Get out of This Place” – By the Animals, and “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin'” co-written with Phil Spector – By the Righteous Brothers to name a few. They wrote songs for Dusty Springfield, the Partridge Family, Quincy Jones, Dionne Warwick, Bette Midler, the Pointer Sisters, Ray Charles, Hanson, and more.

Beyond her work with her husband, Cynthia Weil co-wrote many songs including Barry Manilow’s “Somewhere Down the Road,” the Pointer Sisters’ “He’s So Shy,” Lionel Richie’s “Love Will Conquer All,” and Chaka Khan’s “Through the Fire,” technically making her a co-writer of Kanye West’s debut solo single, “Through the Wire.” Weil also co-wrote the theme for 1985’s St. Elmo’s Fire.

Cynthia Weil died Thursday, June 1, 2023, at her home in Beverly Hills. She was 82 and is survived by her husband, Barry; daughter Jenn; and grandchildren Quin and Mendez Berman.



Footnotes
  1. Barry Mann is an American songwriter and musician known for his prolific songwriting career that spans several decades. Born on February 9, 1939, in Brooklyn, New York, Mann displayed a passion for music from a young age. He formed a successful songwriting partnership with his wife, Cynthia Weil, and together they wrote numerous chart-topping hits. Some of their notable compositions include “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’,” “On Broadway,” and “We Gotta Get Out of This Place.” Mann’s ability to create catchy melodies and heartfelt lyrics contributed to his enduring success in the music industry. His contributions have earned him recognition and induction into the Songwriters Hall of Fame. [Back]
  2. The Brill Building is a legendary music hub located at 1619 Broadway in New York City. In the mid-20th century, it became a symbol of the bustling music industry, particularly during the late 1950s and 1960s. The building housed an array of songwriters, lyricists, musicians, and music publishers who collaborated and created some of the most iconic songs of the era. Songwriting duos and teams like Carole King and Gerry Goffin, Cynthia Weil and Barry Mann, and Neil Sedaka and Howard Greenfield, among others, worked in the Brill Building, crafting hits for various artists. The building’s vibrant atmosphere and constant creative energy made it a breeding ground for popular music, leaving an indelible mark on the history of American popular culture. [Back]

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Author: Doyle

I was born in Atlanta, moved to Alpharetta at 4, lived there for 53 years and moved to Decatur in 2016. I've worked at such places as Richway, North Fulton Medical Center, Management Science America (Computer Tech/Project Manager) and Stacy's Compounding Pharmacy (Pharmacy Tech).

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