Songwriters Barry Mann & Cynthia Weil on Sound Opinions

Barry Mann & Cynthia Weil and Opinions on Bon Iver

Jim and Greg talk to legendary songwriting duo Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil and get the stories behind the hits "You‘ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling," "On Broadway" and more.

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Music News

Jim and Greg talk about two news stories merging Broadway and the pop world. The Tony award-winning musical Book of Mormon is now also a chart success. It's the highest-charting Broadway cast album and first in the top ten since 1969, when Hair spent thirteen straight weeks at #1. On the other end of the spectrum, YouTube phenom Susan Boyle has inspired a new musical called I Dreamed a Dream. It will be a fairy tale of sorts, where the heroine gets swept away to Hollywood (and the big bad wolf is Simon Cowell).

This past weekend Bruce Springsteen lost his constant sidekick and friend, Clarence Clemons. Greg calls Clemons the first among equals in a large band of characters. His saxophone was as important to many of Springsteen's songs as the Boss's guitar. And even in later years, when sax wasn't as prominent a component, Clemons was a large presence onstage. Jim will miss that energy, though he has always been critical of his sax style. To remember Clarence Clemons our hosts listen to "Jungleland" from the 1975 album Born to Run.

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Barry Mann & Cynthia Weil

It's always interesting to get the backstory behind our favorite music and hear from producers, songwriters and session musicians. So this week Jim and Greg talk to songwriting duo Barry Mann & Cynthia Weil. The husband and wife team made their mark during the Brill Building era of the 1960s alongside other hired guns like Carole King & Gerry Goffin and Jerry Leiber & Mike Stoller. Barry and Cynthia talk about the friendly competition between songwriters during that time and how they came up with classic pop tunes like "You've Lost That Loving Feeling," "On Broadway," and "Kicks." They also wrote "We Gotta Get Out of This Place," but as a single for Barry…not The Animals. Barry and Cynthia recently received the Johnny Mercer Award presented by The Songwriters' Hall of Fame. And Cynthia has got something for the younger set as well: check out her children's book Rockin' Babies.

reviewBon Iver (Deluxe Edition)Bon Iver, Bon Iver available on iTunes

Bon Iver Bon Iver, Bon Iver

There's been a whole lotta commentary about the new album by Bon Iver–some good, some bad. Justin Vernon first made a splash in 2008 with For Emma, Forever Ago. Even Kanye West is a fan. But the mythology precedes the record according to Greg. Bon Iver, Bon Iver is much more lushly orchestrated, but it really starts to sag in the middle. By the last track Greg was having bad visions of Steve Winwood and Bruce Hornsby. He says Burn It. Jim hears Mike + The Mechanics and thinks Greg is being kind. The production is grating, the lyrics nonsensical and the vibe drippy and snoozy. In other words: Trash It.

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Greg

“If I Had Possession Over Judgement Day”Robert Johnson

To cap off the show, Greg pays tribute to Robert Johnson. The 100th anniversary of the bluesman's death is this year. Although he died at the age of 27 and didn't get to record much in his lifetime, he nonetheless became so influential many regard him as the godfather of rock and roll. With his unique vocal and guitar performances and complicated narratives, it's easy to understand why Johnson resonates today. Greg chooses to add the song "If I Had Possession Over Judgement Day" to the Desert Island Jukebox.

Featured Songs

  1. The Book of Mormon: Original Cast Recording, Hello, The Book of Mormon: Original Cast Recording, Ghostlight Records, 2011
  2. Bruce Springsteen, Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out, Born to Run, Columbia, 1975
  3. Bruce Springsteen, Jungleland, Born to Run, Columbia, 1975
  4. The Ronettes, Walking in the Rain, The Best of The Ronettes, ABKCO Records, 1992
  5. Barry Mann, Who Put the Bomp, Who Put the Bomp (in the Bomp, Bomp, Bomp), Wea, 1961
  6. Bobby Vee, Take Good Care of My Baby, Devil or Angel, Weton, 1960
  7. Tony Orlando, Happy Times Are Here To Stay, Bless You and 11 Other Great Hits, Epic, 1961
  8. The Drifters, Saturday Night At The Movies, The Good Life With the Drifters, Atlantic, 1964
  9. Eydie Gorme, Blame It on the Bossa Nova, Blame It on the Bossa Nova, GL Records, 1963
  10. Wilson Pickett, Come Home Baby, In the Midnight Hour, Atlantic, 1965
  11. The Righteous Brothers, You‘ve Lost that Lovin’ Feeling, You‘ve Lost that Lovin’ Feeling, Philles, 1964
  12. The Crystals, Uptown, Twist Uptown, Philles, 1962
  13. The Cookies, On Broadway, The Complete Cookies, Sequel, 1994
  14. The Drifters, On Broadway, Under the Boardwalk, Atlantic, 1964
  15. Barry Mann,“Soul and Inspiration,”N/A, N/A, N/A
  16. Barry Mann, We Gotta Get Out of This Place, Red Bird Story, Snapper UK, 2011
  17. The Animals, We Gotta Get Out of This Place, Animal Tracks, EMI, 1965
  18. Paul Revere & The Raiders, Kicks, Midnight Ride, Columbia, 1966
  19. Dolly Parton, Here You Come Again, Here You Come Again, RCA Victor, 1977
  20. Bon Iver, Calgary, Bon Iver, Bon Iver, Jagjaguwar, 2011
  21. Bon Iver, Beth/Rest, Bon Iver, Bon Iver, Jagjaguwar, 2011
  22. Robert Johnson, If I Had Possession over Judgement Day, King of the Delta Blues Singers, Columbia/Legacy, 1961
  23. Statik Selectah, The Thrill is Gone, 100 Proof: The Hangover, Showoff Records, 2010
  24. Wolf Parade, Language City, At Mount Zoomer, Sub Pop, 2008
  25. The Muppets, Mahna Mahna, Best of the Muppets, Disney, 2006
  26. Grateful Dead, Box of Rain, American Beauty, Warner Bros., 1970
  27. Everything But the Girl, A Piece of My Mind, Like The Deserts Miss the Rain, Virgin, 2002

Footnotes

huffingtonpost.com Book of Mormon success susanboylemusic.com Susan Boyle nytimes.com Clarence Clemons obit mann-weil.com Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil boniver.org Bon Iver