"You're My Soul and Inspiration" was a huge hit for the Righteous Brothers back in 1966 -- not to mention for songwriters Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil, who are being honored by the Recording Academy with a "Trustees Award." "All hits, all the time" sort of sums up their career. Rita Braver caught up with them at one of their favorite spots:
Broadway (where they say the neon lights are bright) has special meaning for Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil. They co-wrote that famous song right here "On Broadway" . . . along with dozens of other hits of the 1960s, like "Blame It On The Bossa Nova," "Bless You," "He's So Shy," "He's Sure The Boy I Love," "You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'," and "(You're My) Soul And Inspiration."
It all started in 1959 and, said Weil, "It all went so fast."
He was a fledgling composer, she an aspiring lyricist when she first set eyes on him.
"You wanted him for a writing partner?" asked Braver.
"No, I wanted him for another kind of partner even more," Weil replied. "Then I found out he was a good writer, and that helped."
They were married in 1961. And the hit Broadway show, "Beautiful: The Carole King Musical," chronicles THEIR story, too. They are portrayed as both best friends and chief competitors of King and her husband and songwriting partner, Gerry Goffin
How realistic was that? "That was absolute truth, replied Weil. "It was the most conflicting relationship I think we've ever had with anybody. Because we loved them, we hated them, we were competitive with them, we cheered for them, we cheered for ourselves."
Barry and Gerry even wrote "Who Put The Bop In The Bop Shoo Bop" together.
The show features some Mann and Weil classics, such as "He's Sure The Boy I Love."
It was kind of a family reunion when they met up with Anika Larsen and Jarrod Spector, who play Weil and Mann in the show.
Larsen said, "You think you don't know who these other characters are, and yet we'll show you how they created the soundtrack for your lives in a lot of ways."
And according to Weil, regarding the actors' impersonations, "Anika is a better me than I ever was!"
From the beginning, Mann and Weil were fearless. When asked if they were intimidated that their songs might be played on their radio, Mann said no. "Never intimidated at all; we deserved it."
To which Weil added, "We deserved everything!"
One of their hits, "You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'," has been played on radio and television more than any other song in history.
You never close your eyes anymore when I kiss your lips.
And there's no tenderness like before in your fingertips.
You're trying hard not to show it, (baby).
But baby, baby I know it...
You've lost that lovin' feelin',
Whoa, that lovin' feelin',
You've lost that lovin' feelin',
Now it's gone, gone, gone, whoa.
- Phil Spector, Barry Mann & Cynthia Weil
"I came up with the opening line for some reason," said Mann, "And that kind of got us rolling, didn't it, Cyn?
Weil said, "You look very worried."
"I do! I look very worried that I said that."
"And you should be!" she said.
Mann explained, "She has this look in her eyes like, 'You're gonna tell 'em that you came up with that opening line? I can't believe you did that!'"
"Everyone says it's the greatest opening line ever written," said Weil.
"Well, did he come up with it?" asked Braver.
"I think so," she replied.
They wrote "You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'" in 1964 with producer Phil Spector for his new duo, The Righteous Brothers. But there was a problem: One of the Righteous Brothers didn't think he had enough to do.