Cynthia Weil Just Died At The Age Of 83. Along With Husband Barry Mann, They Built An Unimaginably Impressive And Valuable Songwriting Empire

By on June 2, 2023 in ArticlesEntertainment

When it comes to songwriting success, there are a few writer/producers who seem to have "the Midas touch." These writer/producers include Pharrell, Sia, Ryan Tedder, Dr. Luke, Max Martin, Timberland, Bonnie McKee, and Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis. If they touch your track, it's sure to be a hit. However, all of that musical prowess is arguably eclipsed by one songwriting duo that churned out hit tracks for over five decades. That songwriting duo is Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil. And not are they business and artistic partners, Barry and Cynthia were also husband and wife from 1961 until her death in June 2023.

While Mann and Weil may not have penned the latest hit for Miley Cyrus, they did manage to remain relevant, award-winning, and wealthy for decades in an industry that regularly eats up and spits out artists. They also managed to generate a combined net worth of $200 million. To top it all off, and one of their many, many hit tracks holds the record for the most played song of the 20th Century. To date, over 200 million copies of their tracks have been sold. Their songs have generated billions of streams on Spotify, YouTube, Pandora and more.

Here's the story of how two New York kids met, and launched a songwriting empire…

Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil

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Early Songwriting Careers

Barry Mann was born Barry Imberman, on February 9, 1939 in Brooklyn, New York. Cynthia Weil was born on October 18, 1940, just across the river in Manhattan. After completing school, they began their careers.

She became an actress and dancer and he pursued a career as a vocalist. Both showed major talent as songwriters, however, and various mentors and colleagues steered each of them towards careers operating behind the scenes.

In the late 50s, they were both hired to pen tracks for other artists by the prestigious Aldon Music, a successful music company run by Don Kirshner and Al Nevin. As staff songwriters, their job was to write hit songs for everyone. Mann first achieved some success working with other writers. He penned such tracks as "She Say (Oom Dooby Doom)," for The Diamonds in 1959, which reached the Top 20 on the charts, and co-wrote "I Love How You Love Me" for The Paris Sisters, which went on to climb to #5. He even scored his own hit single with the track "Who Put the Bomp." It wasn't until he teamed up with Cynthia Weil, however, that the hits began coming in, rapid fire.

1960s: Massive Success

Cynthia Weil was primarily a lyricist, and had gained a reputation for writing meaningful lyrics during a time when doo-wop and nonsense lyrics were the popular norm. Combined with Mann's musical ability, the duo quickly began making a name for themselves.

At the time, Aldon Music, which was housed in the Brill Building in Manhattan, was the epicenter of the Sixties sound. The office was a warren of small, windowless cubicles. Each little room contained only a desk and a piano. Somehow, amidst the chaos, songwriting duos like Carol King and Gerry Goffin, Neil Sedaka and Howard Greenfield, Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller–along with Mann and Weil–churned out hit after hit.

The pair began writing together in 1960, and were married a year later. All day, every day, they wrote an ever expanding catalogue of socially conscious rock, pop, country, and Broadway songs that are now widely considered to be some of the best songs to come out of the sixties. They wrote over 70 songs as a duo. Of those songs, 63 have charted in the Top 100, 24 in the Top 10, and two tracks have gone to #1.

"You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'," arguably their most famous song, is the most-played track of the 20th century. It has been featured in countless movies, notably "Top Gun," and has been covered by more than 2,000 artists.

Barry and Cynthia also hundreds of tracks separately, working alone and with other writing partners. Mann wrote or co-wrote over 635 tracks, 98 of which have charted in the US. Weil wrote or co-wrote hit songs for such artists as Lionel Ritchie, Chaka Khan, and Martina McBride, as well as serving as an album supervisor for numerous artists.


As a duo, they were inducted into the Songwriting Hall of Fame in 1987. They were also awarded the prestigious Johnny Mercer Award from the Songwriter's Hall of Fame in 2011. They were honored with the Ahmet Ertegun Award from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2010.

They received two Grammy Awards in 1988, "Song of the Year" and "Best Song Written Specifically for a Motion Picture or Television" for their track, "Somewhere Out There," performed by Linda Ronstadt and James Ingram, written for the film "An American Tail." They have also been nominated for Golden Globes, Oscars, and a host of other awards.

Here is a just a short list of some of their many famous tracks:

  • "Uptown" performed by The Crystals
  • "My Dad" performed by Paul Petersen
  • "On Broadway" performed by The Drifters
  • "I'm Gonna Be Strong," originally performed by Frankie Laine (Went on to be a Top 10 in the US, performed by Gene Pitney, and a Top 30 hit in the UK, performed by Cyndi Lauper)
  • "Walking in the Rain" performed by The Ronettes
  • "You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'" performed by The Righteous Brothers
  • "We Gotta Get Out of This Place" performed by The Animals
  • "Here You Come Again" performed by Dolly Parton
  • "Kicks" performed by Paul Revere & the Raiders
  • "Shape of Things to Come" performed by Max Frost and the Troopers
  • "I Just Can't Help Believing" originally performed by Bobby Vee (Went to the Top 10 in the US performed by B.J. Thomas, and the Top 10 in the UK performed by Elvis Presley)
  • "Just Once" performed by Quincy Jones and James Ingram
  • "Never Gonna Let You Go" originally performed by Dionne Warwick (Went to the Top 10 performed by Sergio Mendes)
  • "Don't Know Much" performed by Aaron Neville and Linda Ronstadt
  • "Somewhere Out There" performed by Linda Ronstadt and James Ingram
  • "I Will Come to You" performed by Hanson.
Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil

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In recent years, Cynthia and Barry focused primarily on separate projects, and running their own publishing company, Dyad Music. They showed no signs of slowing down even right up until Cynthia's passing in 2023. Their separate projects have continue to chart.

Barry Mann has focused primarily on writing tracks and scores for film, and has also continued releasing solo albums. Cynthia Weil focused primarily on album supervision and writing hit tracks for R&B and country artists, primarily.

In 2015 Barry and Cynthia were awarded the Trustee Award at the 57th Grammy Awards. The Trustee Award is given by the Recording Academy to "individuals who, during their careers in music, have made significant contributions, other than performance, to the field of recording." It's essentially the lifetime achievement award for non-performers. Based on their track record, no one deserved that award more than Mann and Weil. 

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