12 December 2009

Jeff Barry (Part Four)

Jeff Barry

Why Jeff Barry Belongs
in the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame

. . . and Why Ellie Greenwich Does, Too
by Donny Jacobs
Bobby Bloom

Jeff Barry In New York

When Bobby Bloom was accidentally shot to death on February 28, 1974, the music world lost a major talent. Except for Ron Dante, Bloom was the best male vocalist Jeff Barry ever produced. Toward the middle of 1970, the one-time sound engineer's assistant began to usurp Andy Kim's role as "Jukebox" Jeff's main writing partner. Barry and Bloom wrote only two big hits together, but what hits they were: "Montego Bay", Bloom's irresistible slice of Jamaican camp, which was a Top Ten smash in the fall of 1970; and "(Sha La Boom Boom) Heavy Makes You Happy", the 1971 breakthrough Pop hit for Mavis Staples and The Staple Singers. "Montego" has been covered so frequently by Reggae bands over the years, it's now considered a bonafide Caribbean music standard. The pair also provided legendary a cappella vocal group The Persuasions with their only Top Forty R & B hit, "I Really Got It Bad For You."

Starting in the mid-1960s, Bloom recorded singles for various labels under a variety of assumed names. He drifted into session work for Jerry Kasenetz and Jeff Katz's stable of "bubblegum" acts and wound up singing lead on a Super K novelty single, "Captain Groovy And His Bubblegum Army". His involvement with Super K staffers Bo Gentry and Ritchie Cordell resulted in co-writing credits on The 1910 Fruitgum Company's 1969 hit "Indian Giver" and Tommy James and The Shondells' classic 1968 dance rocker "Mony Mony". Eventually, he hooked up with Ohio Express masterminds Joey Levine and (former Jeff Barry collaborator) Artie Resnick. This led to an album deal on Levine and Resnick's short-lived Earth label, which was distributed by M-G-M Records. Later, Bloom switched over to M-G-M proper.

His debut album from 1970 is essential listening, not only for Jeff Barry fans, but also for Rock and Pop enthusiasts in general. Barry and Bloom composed and performed all 11 of the album's selections with a little help from Kasenetz and Katz's house arranger Jimmy Calvert on lead guitar. Bloom's raspy Blues growl is the main course on a Rock 'n' Roll menu that features a bevy of succulent dishes from the "Jukebox" Jeff cookbook. From the surreal, mini-Rock odyssey "Careful Not To Break The Spell", to the conga-driven instrumental "Fanta", to the sensual, heavy-breathing "Heidi" and the original, hard-rocking version of "Heavy Makes You Happy", The Bobby Bloom Album has nary a false note in its grooves. From beginning to end, it provides a fascinating listening experience. Like much of Barry's other work from the late '60s and early '70s, it's an unsung gem. Four years after its release, it became a shining testament to the talents of a fallen star.

It isn't widely know that, in addition to The Archies, Barry produced another cartoon studio band for Don Kirshner. Hanna-Barbera's "Harlem Globetrotters" was an animated take-off on the famous exhibition basketball team. Starring the voice of comedian Scatman Crothers, the series ran on the CBS network during its 1970-71 season. Much speculation has surrounded the identities of singers heard on the Globetrotters soundtrack album. It turns out that those voices belonged to the actual team members, but augmented by session singer/songwriters Rudy Clark, Kenny Williams and James "JR" Bailey (formerly of '50s vocal group The Cadillacs). Team captain George "Meadowlark" Lemon possessed an impressive singing voice, and took the lead on several tracks.

Meadowlark Lemon


In The Globetrotters, Jeff Barry had his own version of The Coasters; as had been the case with Leiber and Stoller's famous musical comedy group, they played everything strictly for laughs. Most of the soundtrack material was written by Howard Greenfield and Neil Sedaka, but Barry's production magic is impossible to miss. Cuts like "House Party", "River Queen", "Lillia Peabody" and "Marathon Mary" might easily have been Blue Cat recordings from five years earlier. "Globetrottin", the boss theme song he wrote for the team, is featured in slow and fast versions. The first single was "Gravy" b/w "Cheer Me Up", a scorcher of a two-sided rocker featuring Rudy Clark's wailing leads. The second single was "Rainy Day Bells", for which Barry coaxed a beautiful performance out of Meadowlark. This charming Doo-Wop ballad was later discovered by Gulf Coast "beach music" fans, who made it into a cult favorite. The third single was a clever Funk workout called "ESP" led by Kenny Williams, but sadly, The Globetrotters project had run its course. A second album was completed, but due to poor sales of the first one, Kirshner Records never released it.

In a side deal with RCA Victor and, believe it or not, the Ringling Brothers-Barnum and Bailey Corporation, Barry produced an act called The Klowns around the same time. Their album was also a soundtrack, released to coincide with an ABC-TV comedy special that aired in November of 1970. It yielded a Latin-tinged single, "Lady Love", which was well-received in South America. The follow-up 45 was a strongly commercial number called "Flower In My Garden", but it seems never to have gotten past the promo copy stage. The Klowns broke up shortly thereafter, leaving Vicki Belmonte, Robin Field, Peter Lee, Carrie Mignini and lead singer John Bennett Perry to fade into obscurity; but the sixth member, Barry Bostwick, managed to stick around. He became a high profile actor in Broadway productions (Grease), TV shows ("Spin City") and movies (The Rocky Horror Picture Show).


At the request of Screen Gems executives, Barry returned to The Monkees' fold in February of 1970 to produce the group's final LP. Changes, the record that ultimately appeared, is not what he envisioned; Monkees music coordinator Brendan Cahill discarded several intended track inclusions and substituted previously rejected material from the Colgems vaults. Without Cahill's interference, a very different album would have emerged. Judging by the remaining original selections, the producer's goal was to give Micky Dolenz and Davy Jones a sexier image: "Oh, My My", a PG-rated Barry/Kim sizzler, presented a lustful, hyperventilating Micky in a torrid Blues Rock setting. Likewise, Barry and Bloom's "You're So Good To Me" had Davy sounding aroused to the point of climax! Unfortunately, Monkees fans weren't buying these Tom Jones makeovers; even with exposure on the TV show, the single version of "Oh, My My" struggled to get airplay. However, appreciation for this smouldering side would increase with time. For their final outing on 45 ("Do It In The Name Of Love", credited to Dolenz and Jones), Barry steered The Monkees back into safer "bubblegum" territory.

In the midst of his constant recording activity with Kirshner, Steed, M-G-M, Colgems and RCA Victor acts, Jeff Barry somehow managed to find time for another project: Producing an off-Broadway musical, The Dirtiest Show In Town, and composing songs for it. He was also writing soundtrack music for an ill-fated TV series called "The Kowboys" (the pilot was never sold). Presumably on his coffee breaks, he provided original songs for two 1969 movies: The Tony Randall musical comedy Hello, Down There, and a concert documentary called Where It's At. He sang the themes for both films, and "Where It's At" was issued by United Artists Records as a Jeff Barry single.

Understandably, with so many creative irons in the fire, he was obliged to take on songwriting staff. It comprised brothers Mike and Steve Soles, Ned Albright, Gil Slavin and the exceptionally gifted Neil Brian Goldberg, who could imitate Barry's writing style to near-perfection. (Goldberg quietly took over writing and production duties for the "Archie" show during its third season.) Barry's corps of musicians during this frantic period included Hugh McCracken, Sal Di Troia, Al Gorgoni and Trade Martin on guitars, Joey Macho and Chuck Rainey on bass, Ron Frangipane on keyboards, Buddy Saltzman and Gary Chester on drums, and Barry himself playing percussion instruments. Backing vocals were handled variously by himself, Ellie Greenwich, Jeannie Thomas Fox, Maeretha Stewart, Susan Morse from the cast of Hair, sisters Leslie and Merle Miller, Jamie Carr, Bobby Bloom, Toni Wine, Donna Marie, Joe DiBenedetto and Steve Tudanger from The Playhouse, Ron Dante and others.

The inevitable result of his marathon studio work was an increased number of chart records. In 1970, the peak year of his work with male vocalists and studio groups, he placed as many singles on Billboard's Hot 100 as he had in 1964. While there were no #1 hits for him that year, Bobby Bloom took "Montego Bay" to #8 Pop, and The Archies, Andy Kim and Robin McNamara all registered in the national Top Forty. Thanks to an aggressive marketing campaign undertaken by Bang Records, so did three of Barry and Greenwich's Neil Diamond productions from 1966-7. "Shilo" reached #24 in February, a reissue of "Solitary Man" made #21 that summer, and "Do It" (the flipside of "Solitary Man" upon its original release) hit #36 in the closing months of the year. Further down the line, The Illusion, The Klowns and The Monkees also scored on the charts.

But as hot as Jeff Barry wax was in 1969 and 1970, it turned ice-cold in 1971. Barely a handful of Barry productions made the charts that year, and these hovered at or near the bottom. The exception was the four-year-old Neil Diamond version of "I'm A Believer", but it was weighted down by new orchestral overdubs and only got as far as #51. Steed Records definitely didn't turn a profit that year. Barry was spreading himself too thin, and on some projects there was a noticeable decline in the quality of material. More and more, his heavy workload forced him to delegate songwriting duties. The output of his staff writers was often excellent, but sometimes it really wasn't up to standard. Robin McNamara's album, The Monkees' Changes LP and the Klowns soundtrack all suffer for lackluster song inclusions.

The same can be said for an aborted Dusty Springfield album Barry produced in the Spring of '71. Dusty Sings The Blues (my title) would've contained some brilliant selections: Among them, Gospel rockers "Love, Shine Down On Me" and "I Have Found My Way Through The Darkness", and stunning remakes of Bread's "Make It With You" and Carole King's "You've Got A Friend". However, Dusty's fans got nary a clue from listening to the two singles culled from the unreleased set. Mind you, "Haunted" and "I Believe In You" aren't bad songs (the former broke for a regional hit in Boston), but neither are they exceptional. Their flipsides don't even succeed as songs: "Someone Who Cares" and "Nothing Is Forever" are mediocre in every way, and it's shocking to find a Barry/Bloom writing credit on the latter tune.

Dusty In Nashville


Another possible factor in Barry's chart slump was the shifting of his priorities. He'd initiated a major career move near the end of 1970. By now, he was convinced that Los Angeles was where the really big money could be made, and what's more, he'd fallen in love with the city. He desperately wanted to call California home. Tired of the pace, pressures and hassles of New York City, Barry yearned for a more laid-back environment to work in. As it happened, his distribution deal with Steed Records paved a path for him out of New York. Dot Records' parent company was Paramount Pictures Corporation. On one of his business trips to the West Coast, he let it be known to Paramount executives that he was willing to relocate. They offered him a position with Famous Music, Paramount's song publishing division. Along with the handsome salary came the opportunity to write movie scores, perhaps even screenplays.

Barry accepted this offer and dissolved the Steed label, whose catalog was then absorbed by ABC-Paramount Records. (It now numbers among the vast property holdings of Universal Music.) After cutting loose from most of his East Coast projects, and saying goodbye to friends and associates, he moved his family and base of operations to Hollywood. Then he loaded Robin McNamara, Robin's wife JoAnne, and Bobby Bloom into a station wagon and set off with them on a fun-filled, one-way, cross country drive. "We were wailing all the way," he'd happily recall a quarter-century later. "Someone was lookin' out the back window for cops, and we just kinda . . . went!" It was a fitting way for an urban cowboy to ride off into the sunset. He left behind him a rich musical legacy in New York, one that would grow in stature with the passage of time.


Jeff Barry In Hollywood

In the '70s, Jeff Barry concentrated his energies mainly on songwriting. He placed many of his tunes with Nashville acts. Of these, "He Ain't You" (cut by Lynn Anderson), "Sayin' Hello, Sayin' I Loved You, Sayin' Goodbye" and "If It Ain't Love By Now" (recorded as duets by Jim Ed Brown and Helen Cornelius), "Out Of Hand" (sung by Gary Stewart) and revivals of "Be My Baby" (Jody Miller), "Chip Chip" (Patsy Sledd) and "Chapel Of Love" (Sandy Posey) bagged him Top Forty Country hits. Meanwhile, other songs from his early catalog were being successfully revived. Throughout the '70s, Bette Midler featured "Leader Of The Pack" and other Barry/Greenwich tunes in her concert act; in 1973, she put a new version of "Chapel Of Love" on the radio. That same year, British rocker Dave Edmunds successfully remade "Baby, I Love You", and a Canadian singer named Johnny T. Angel introduced "Tell Laura I Love You" to a new generation. Then in 1977, Shaun Cassidy rode a cover of "Da Doo Ron Ron" all the way to #1 Pop.

Of course, his biggest hit of the 1970s was "I Honestly Love You", a million-selling ballad co-written with Peter Allen that propelled Olivia Newton-John to international Pop stardom. Yet his biggest song copyrights of that decade never appeared on any music sales chart. In 1975, "Jukebox" Jeff penned theme songs for two new CBS sitcoms that were destined to go down in TV history: "The Jeffersons" and "One Day At A Time". These tunes would provide him with substantial royalty income for decades to come, "Movin' On Up (Theme from The Jeffersons)" in particular. It may prove to be his ticket to Pop culture immortality, judging by how often it's sampled by Hip Hop artists. In the 1980s, Barry added the theme from the popular TV series "Family Ties" to his list of television credits. He also wrote theme songs for a few short-lived TV shows, including "Tabitha", "Baby, I'm Back" and "All's Fair".

He didn't abandon his producer's role, though. The promised job with Famous Music didn't pan out, so Barry joined the artist and repertoire staff of A & M Records in 1972. However, he doesn't consider the three years he spent at A & M fruitful. "I didn't make a whole lot of records," he confessed to Record World in 1977. "I was going through a lot of personal things . . . but I loved A & M. In fact, I had such a good time there, I forgot to make hits!" There's evidence to the contrary! He got dormant Pop duo Nino Tempo and April Stevens back on the charts with a funky remake of "(Theme from) Love Story" and two follow-ups. Also under his auspices, April charted solo with a steamy Disco number ("Wake Up And Love Me") and saxman Nino registered both Pop and R & B airplay with a percolating instrumental ("Sister James") that later turned up in the movie Breakin' II under the Spanglish title "Oye Mamacita". In addition, The Persuasions scored with his production of the aforementioned "I Really Got It Bad For You".

The greatest commercial and artistic success from his A & M years wasn't released on A & M, though. Sha Na Na's The Night Is Still Young, which cracked Billboard's album chart without benefit of a hit single, was sold by Kama Sutra Records. Barry revved-up the band's trademark '50s Doo-Wop covers, and spit-polished their quirky Pop/Rock compositions; then he customized their vehicle with some excellent JB originals co-written with Andy Kim and Bobby Bloom. Featured singers Johnny Contardo and Donny York wailed up a storm, the band played better than it ever had before, and when the sessions were over, a minor masterpiece had been put on wax. With boss beat numbers like "Bounce In Your Buggy", "Bless My Soul", "You Can Bet They Do" and "It's What'cha Do With What'cha Got" in their catalog, this gang of misbegotten roots rockers never sounded hotter. Jeff Barry's Sha Na Na LP isn't just his best album from the '70s, it ranks among his best work ever.

The Night Is Still Young

Additional outside projects during this period involved sessions with The Rock Flowers, Steve Lawrence, Eydie Gormé and Bobby Bloom. Back at A & M Records, he produced a revival of "Chapel Of Love" sung by Robin and Jo McNamara; "You're The Violin", a deep Disco groove tackled by ex-football star Rosey Grier; "We Can't Dance To Your Music" a pounding Ray Kennedy rocker; "One More Angel", a three-handkerchief death ballad crooned by Paul Williams; and "Voodoo Doll", a fabulous slice of Spector-influenced Funk performed by a then-unknown band called Wild Cherry. In addition, Barry supervised a superb modern Doo-Wop album for The Persuasions (lead vocals by Jerry Lawson and Willie Daniels) titled I Just Want To Sing With My Friends; an MOR album for King Harvest, cut at The Beach Boys' Brother Studios; and two LPs by singer/guitarist Cheryl Dilcher that are best described as gypsy Flamenco Punk Rock!

Most notable was a barely-released Jeff Barry solo album titled Walkin' In The Sun. This impressive collage of Disco, Funk, Country, Blues and Adult-Contemporary styles appears to have been withdrawn from sale at Barry's own request; precious few people heard his renditions of great numbers like "Let's Make Love Again", "You're The Violin", "When It's Over", "If You Hit A Good Lick (Lay On It)" and "Come On, Piano". Only one known copy has turned up in 35 years! Fortunately, copies of the title track aren't quite so hard to find; it was issued on 45 in the Spring of 1973. Later a Country radio turntable hit for Glen Campbell, "Walkin' In The Sun" was Barry's loving tribute to his vision-impaired father. Put a needle in its grooves and you'll hear him sing, with undisguised passion: I've been losin' long enough to know/When I finally have won/Even a blind man can tell/When he's walkin' in the sun. This poignant ballad never became the smash he hoped it would, but it holds the distinction of being his favorite composition.

Later in the decade, Barry cut 45s with Polly Cutter, Greg Williams, French Pop singer Joe Dassin, and Funk aggregation Freeman-Nehls, and waxed albums with Lisa Hartman, John Travolta, Tommy James, and the arena Rock band Chopper, among others. Aside from Travolta's Top Forty redux of Nino Tempo and April Stevens' 1966 hit "All Strung Out", these projects yielded little in the way of commercial success. A certain excitement was absent from these otherwise fine records. Perhaps Barry missed the super-competitive East Coast environment, or had trouble adapting to current music trends. Whatever the reason, some of his productions from the 1970s sound lethargic when compared to his earlier studio work. But in 1980, the producer in Jeff Barry rebounded in a big way. That year, he wrote and supervised a recording that just may prove to be his ultimate artistic statement: The soundtrack of the M-G-M/United Artists film The Idolmaker.

The Idolmaker

While this album wasn't a huge seller, it showcased Barry's talents like no record that came before it. The movie itself focused on the career of a '60s Rock Svengali; the screenplay, set in the late '50s and early '60s, was based on the memoirs of Philadelphia producer Bob Marcucci, who discovered teen idols Fabian and Frankie Avalon. Film backers Gene Kirkwood and Howard Koch had originally sought Phil Spector to write and produce the music. That deal fell through, so Barry, who'd been assisting Spector in the studio, stepped in to take the assignment. "It was an awful lot of writing," he later told Discoveries, "but I wrote it all myself, and I ended up scoring the picture, too." The collection of period Pop songs that appear on the A & M soundtrack LP are more than just movie music, though. They're literally a journal of "Jukebox" Jeff's travels through Rock and Pop music. Delving back into the 1960s for inspiration seems to have prompted him to substitute his own musical history for that of Bob Marcucci.

The bouncy, toe-tapping "Sweet Little Lover" and "Here Is My Love", both sung by Jesse Frederick, recall the heyday of The Archies. Echoes of "I Honestly Love You" reverberate through the ballad "I Can't Tell", vocalized by future Hairspray star Colleen Fitzpatrick in a style hauntingly close to that of Olivia Newton-John. Sweet Inspirations and The London Fog evoke Blue Cat-era Soul music on the funky "A Boy And A Girl". Barry's Gospel influences hold forth on the Peter Gallagher tracks "Baby" and "However Dark The Night". Overdubs, reverb and elaborate drum fills lend "Ooo-Wee Baby" enough of a Wagnerian sound to recreate the spirit of classic Barry/Greenwich/Spector records. Darlene Love, the Queen of Philles Records, turns in the album's virtuoso performance on this cut. The finale, "I Believe It Can Be Done", is sung with sensitivity by the late actor Ray Sharkey. It's the kind of soul-searching piano ballad you might expect from Neil Diamond; Barry's voice comes through strongest here. Although he doesn't sing a note on it, The Idolmaker is actually a Jeff Barry solo album. He took every writer/producer's dream, the chance to do movie music, and made of it an almost autobiographical document.

Jeff Barry on PBS

Walkin' In The Sun

The latest appearance of an original Jeff Barry song on Billboard's Hot 100 is a 1984 duet by Joyce Kennedy and Jeffrey Osborne. Co-written with Brill Building contemporaries Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil, "The Last Time I Made Love" was a Top Forty Pop best-seller as well as a Top Five Rhythm & Blues single. A year later, The Bellamy Brothers rode his soulful composition "Lie To You For Your Love" to a #2 placing on the Country charts. That same year, Barry's classic Girl Group melodies rang out on Broadway when Leader Of The Pack, a musical based on Ellie Greenwich's life, enjoyed a five month run at the Ambassador Theatre. In 1987, much of his production work circa 1964 became available again on two British compilations titled The Red-Bird Story, Volumes I and II. It evolved into a CD box set that has yet to go out of print. Jeff Barry capped off the decade by scoring Your Mother Wears Combat Boots, a 1989 TV movie starring "I Dream Of Jeannie" actress Barbara Eden. On the evening of 29 May 1991, he and Ellie Greenwich were inducted into the Songwriters' Hall of Fame along with Otis Blackwell, Antonio Carlos Jobim and (posthumously) Howard Greenfield. In the year 2000, artists including Brian Wilson, Ray Peterson, Ronnie Spector, The Dixie Cups, Andy Kim, Ron Dante, Deneice Williams and Jeffrey Osborne gathered in Santa Barbara's Granada Theatre to celebrate 40 years' worth of Jeff Barry hits. The festivites were taped, and they later aired on selected PBS TV stations as a musical documentary called Chapel Of Love.

Today, Barry lives comfortably in southern California, where he maintains offices for his production companies, Jeff Barry International and Big Kids Productions. He and business partner Richard Goldsmith stay busy working on youth-oriented music projects; past productions include a girl group CD based on the popular Babysitters Club book series, a CD for boy band N-Motion, and a 1998 Christmas movie, Jack Frost, which starred Michael Keaton. More recently, he's authored a musical (not his first! That honor goes to a 1967 off-Broadway show called The Freaking Out Of Stephanie Blake), and is in the process of developing a TV show . . . and those are just the projects he's willing to talk about! Although Barry now refers to himself as semi-retired, you wouldn't know that from the way he zips around town. Once a workaholic, always one; it's a safe bet that he'll continue to write and produce for the rest of his incredibly rich life.

So why has Jeff Barry's production work never gotten the recognition it deserves? One answer is that many of the associations which have proven advantageous to him over the years also worked against him. His relationships with Phil Spector, Don Kirshner, Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller were profitable ones, but the more high-profile accomplishments of these men overshadowed his own. Likewise, his association with acts like The Archies and The Monkees has been detrimental. "Sugar, Sugar" and "I'm A Believer" were the biggest records of his career, but their respective successes forever linked his name with the "bubblegum" genre. This resulted in his work not being taken seriously by Rock historians; open most Rock reference books, and if there's a chapter devoted to notable record producers, Jeff Barry will not be listed among them.

Barry's achievements as a songwriter have and will continue to be hailed, but his production triumphs may be forgotten unless something happens to focus new attention on them. That would be such a tragic thing! Jeff Barry productions provided many post-baby boomers with their first taste of Rock 'n' Roll (myself included). What was the first Rock song you ever heard? Was it "Leader Of The Pack"? "Cherry, Cherry"? "I'm A Believer"? Maybe it was one of Jeff Barry's later hits: "Sugar, Sugar", "Montego Bay" or "Lay A Little Lovin' On Me". Songwriter Mark Barkan, who contributed material to the first season of "The Archie Show" said in 1990: "When Jeff Barry was producing the group, you knew something big was gonna happen!" Sixties icon Tommy James has cited him as an influence on his own production work. Superstar Neil Diamond recently called Barry a genius in the studio and, well, he should know.

Any history of great record producers that fails to include Jeff Barry, or that attempts to play down his contributions is a flawed history. While other producers liked to swamp their records in strings, brass and complex arrangements, he strove to keep his platters refreshingly simple. "Jukebox" Jeff stood back and just let them rock. Go ahead and rave about Phil Spector if you want. Spread the word about Quincy Jones. Send yourself into ecstasies over Holland, Dozier and Holland; but when you talk about craftsmen of superb '60s Pop singles, please . . . don't forget to mention Jeff Barry. Don't forget about Ellie Greenwich, either. Ain't no classic Rock jukebox worth a damn without at least one of their golden oldies inside it.

Jeff, Ellie, Studio

An earlier version of this article appeared in the 2 April 1993 edition of Goldmine. To learn more about Ellie Greenwich and The Raindrops, read the essay at:

To learn more about the Barry/Greenwich/Spector era, read the essay at:

To learn more about Steed Records, read the essay at:

The staff of the Pop Culture Cantina is overjoyed to announce that on March 15, 2010, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame will induct Jeff Barry and Ellie Greenwich into its venerable number during a gala ceremony at New York's Waldorf Astoria Hotel! Joining Jeff Barry at the inductee's podium will be Swedish supergroup ABBA; Jamaican star Jimmy Cliff; classic American Rock acts Genesis and The Hollies; Punk Rock pioneers The Stooges; legendary label executive David Geffen; and fellow songwriting legends Otis Blackwell, Mort Shuman, Jesse Stone, Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil. We tip our sombreros and raise our tequila glasses to Jeff and Ellie! We welcome their long-delayed recognition with both a cheer and a tear: sadly, Miss Ellie passed away suddenly on 26 August 2009, and can't be there to accept her honor in person. However, we know she will be there in spirit . . . as will we! Que viva Ellie Greenwich! Que viva Jeff Barry! Que viva Rock 'n' Roll!

1 comment:

Jerry Maneker said...

I can't express the words to tell you how brilliant this is: the writing, the knowledge, the seamless back story to the music. I just wish LP's were back so that I could read liner notes you would write for them. This series is absolutely superb! Thanks so much.