6/2/23-Cynthia Weil, Legendary songwriter dies

todayJune 2, 2023



Hear Cynthia say hello on “The Lost 45s” on our Interview Page!


Written By Jem Aswad

Grammy-winning Songwriters Hall of Fame member Cynthia Weil — who co-wrote “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling,” “On Broadway,” “Make Your Own Kind of Music,” “Walking in the Rain,” “You’re My Soul and Inspiration,” “Uptown,” “Kicks,” “Here You Come Again,” “Through the Fire,” “Somewhere Out There” and many other hits with her husband and Brill Building colleague Barry Mann — has died, her daughter confirmed to TMZ on Friday morning. No cause of death was announced; she was 82.

“My mother, Cynthia Weil, was the greatest mother, grandmother and wife our family could ever ask for,” Jenn Mann said. “She was my best friend, confidant, and my partner in crime and an idol and trailblazer for women in music.”

Mann added, “I’m a lucky man. I had two for one: my wife and one of the greatest songwriters in the world, my soul and inspiration.”

A New York City native, Weil was one of the top “Brill Building” songwriters that came out of the Midtown Manhattan building of the same name and spawned literally hundreds of hits throughout the 1960s for the Righteous Brothers, the Ronettes, the Drifters, the Monkees, the Animals, multiple Phil Spector productions and many others. Along with Mann — to whom she was married for some 62 years — the coterie included two other married couples, Carole King and Gerry Goffin along with Ellie Greenwich and Jeff Barry — as well as Neil Sedaka, Neil Diamond, Shadow Morton, Mort Shuman, Otis Blackwell and many more. Despite the title, most of the work was done a couple of blocks uptown at 1650 Broadway, where the songwriters worked out of cubicles and cranked out hit after hit after hit, creating a canon of timeless, classic hits that were matched only by the anonymity of their writers, although a few, such as Diamond, King and Sedaka, would later find success as artists — and Mann and Weil are actually characters in the King-inspired Broadway musical, “Beautiful.”

She and Mann also worked with other writers: Her later hits include Lionel Richie’s “Running With The Night” and “Love Will Conquer All,” Peabo Bryson’s “If Ever You’re In My Arms Again” and the Pointer Sisters’ 1980 smash “He’s So Shy.”

The durability and timelessness of her songs is exemplified by the fact that “Make Your Own Kind of Music,” Mann and Weil’s song of self-empowerment that was a hit for Cass Elliott in 1969, is prominent in the trailer for the forthcoming Margot Robbie-starring “Barbie” film, and was also recently used in “Mrs. America” and “Hacks.”

“Most people don’t know who we are,” Mann said in 2016. “They know our songs.”

Born in 1940 to a conservative Jewish family, Weil trained as an actress, singer and dancer, but her songwriting talent shone through and she became a protégé of Tin Pan Alley songwriter Frank Loesser. She struck up a songwriting partnership with Mann; the two married Mann in 1961 and the two began creating hits soon afterward.

Brill Building songwriters quickly became known for songs that addressed inner-city, social issues, and their 1962 hit “Uptown” was about a young man who goes to work downtown “where everyone’s his boss and he’s in an angry land.”

Other Mann-Weil songs addressed the Vietnam war (“We Gotta Get Out of This Place”) and strife in the U.S. with “Only in America.” The latter song, originally recorded by the Black act the Drifters but not released, initially featured ironic lyrics that actually presaged Bruce Springsteen’s “Born in the U.S.A.”:

However, the song’s lyrics were deemed too controversial and the song — with altered, borderline jingoist patriotic lyrics — was given to the group Jay and the Americans. Weil, who wrote most of the duo’s lyrics, and Mann were said to be unhappy with the decision, although the song was a hit.

While the Brill Building era ended as the ’60s progressed and artists began focusing on writing their own material, Weil and Mann remained very much in demand, penning “Just a Little Lovin’,” the opening track on Dusty Springfield’s legendary 1968 “Dusty in Memphis” album (which also featured songs by Goffin and King, Burt Bacharach and Hal David, and Randy Newman).

The hits continued over the next three decades, with Dolly Parton’s version of “Here You Come Again,” Quincy Jones and James Ingram’s “Just Once,” Linda Ronstadt and Ingram’s “Somewhere Out There” (which scored them a Grammy), and Hanson’s “I Will Come to You.”

In 1987, she and Mann were inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame and later received the organization’s highest honor, the Johnny Mercer Award. In 2010 they received the Ahmet Ertegun Award from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame; she was the first woman to receive the honor.

Weil later worked as a novelist — beginning with “I’m Glad I Did,” a mystery set in 1963 — and in 2004, she and Mann launched the jukebox musical based on their songs, “They Wrote That?,” in which he sang their hits and she told the stories behind them.

Upon accepting the honor from the Rock Hall, Weil said, “From the bottom of my heart and with the greatest humility, I thought you guys would never ask.”

Written by: Barry Scott

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todayJune 2, 2023