Cynthia Weil, co-writer of ‘You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling,’ ‘Make Your Own Kind of Music,’ ‘On Broadway’ and more, dies at 82

Cynthia Weil, Songwriters Hall of Famer and Grammy winner, 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”, “He’s So Shy”, “Kicks”, “Here You Come Again”, “Through the Fire”, “Somewhere Out There” and many other hits — mostly with her husband and Brill Building co-worker Barry Mann — has died, her daughter confirmed to TMZ Friday morning.No cause of death has been announced; she was 82.

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

Mann, pictured above with Weil in 2013, 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 my inspiration.

Hailing from New York City, Weil was one of the top “Brill Building” songwriters who emerged from the building of the same name in Midtown Manhattan and spawned literally hundreds of hits throughout the 1960s for the Righteous Brothers, the Ronettes, the Drifters, the Monkees, the Animals, several Phil Spector productions and many more. Along with Mann – to whom she was married for around 62 years – the coterie included two other married couples, Carole King and Gerry Goffin with Ellie Greenwich and Jeff Barry, as well as Neil Sedaka, Neil Diamond, Shadow Morton, Mort Shuman, Otis Blackwell and many others. Despite the title, most of the work was done a few blocks from 1650 Broadway, where songwriters worked in booths and churned out hit after hit after hit, creating a canon of timeless classic songs that never were matched only by the anonymity of their writers, although a few, like Diamond, King and Sedaka, would later find success as entertainers – Mann and Weil are actually characters from the Broadway musical inspired by King, “Beautiful”.

Her hits written with writers she was not married to 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 success of Pointer Sisters in 1980’s “He’s So Shy.”

The durability and timelessness of Weil’s work is exemplified by the fact that “Make Your Own Kind of Music”, Mann’s empowerment song and her which was a hit for Cass Elliott in 1969, is prominent in the band. -announcement of the next Margot Robbie -with the film “Barbie”, and was also recently used in “Mrs. America” ​​and “Hacks”.

“Most people don’t know who we are,” Mann told the Los Angeles Times in 2016. “They know our songs.”

Songwriters Hall of Fame CEO Linda Moran said Friday: “At a time when there were relatively few major songwriters — and even those who worked often weren’t recognized enough in the generic or financially – Cynthia played a major role in leading the way. for future generations of women to not only be creative, but to claim their due credit.

“Cynthia and Barry were more than worthy of receiving our highest honor, the Johnny Mercer Award,” she continued. “But to be celebrated by their daughter not only as an iconic songwriter, but also as the best wife, mother and grandmother, is the greatest eulogy one could ask for. Cynthia would like that, I think.

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 the songwriter’s protege of Tin Pan Alley. , Frank Loesser. One day, she tells the Times, “I was writing with a young Italian boy singer, the Frankie Avalon of his day, named Teddy Randazzo, when Barry came to play him a song. I asked the receptionist, “Who is it?” guys? Does he have a girlfriend?’ She said, ‘He signed with a friend of mine, [publisher] Don Kirshner, and if I call Donny, maybe you can come up there and show him your lyrics and see Barry again. So that’s what she did. And that’s what I did. He had no chance. »

In fact, the two only started collaborating after they had been together for a few weeks. “At some point I became very curious about his words,” Mann recalled. “I really liked them. I felt they had a sophistication and a soul that was a great combination, and I felt there was a place for that kind of lyrics in the pop culture that was happening, and so we started to to write. And we had success right away.

Indeed, the duo’s first hit, “Bless You”, with singer Tony Orlando – later of Tony Orlando & Dawn fame – came in 1961 (also the year they married). Yet the following year, the duo recorded a song with the Crystals that helped set the tone for many future Brill Building songs that dealt with downtown social issues, rare for the time: “Uptown.” , about a young man who goes to work downtown. “where everyone is his boss and he’s in an angry country.”

But then he come uptown every night in my building
Uptown where people don’t have to pay a lot of rent
And when he’s here with me he can see he’s everything
So he’s tall, he doesn’t crawl, he’s a king.

Other Mann-Weil songs addressed the Vietnam War (“We Gotta Get Out of This Place”) and, initially anyway, societal conflicts in the United States with “Only in America”. This last song, originally recorded by the Black Act the Drifters but not released, featured tongue-in-cheek lyrics that actually presaged Bruce Springsteen’s “Born in the USA”:

Only in America, land of opportunity
Can they save a seat in the back of the bus just for me
Only in America, where they preach the golden rule
Will they start walking when my kids go to school?

However, the song’s lyrics were deemed too controversial, and the song – with jingoist patriotic lyrics altered and borderline – was given to the band Jay and the Americans. Weil and Mann were reportedly unhappy with the decision, although the song was a hit.

As the Brill Building era ended in the 60s and artists began to focus on writing their own material, Weil and Mann remained in high demand, writing “Just a Little Lovin’ “, the opening track of the legendary “Dusty in Memphis” album (which also included songs by Goffin and King, Burt Bacharach and Hal David, and Randy Newman), as well as minor hits for the Partridge family, BJ Thomas and others.

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 won a Grammy) and Hanson’s “I’ll 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 this honor.

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

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

Yet, as she said in 2016, “I never thought the songs would live. I thought they would have their little time on the charts, and they would be over, and that would be it.

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