Friday August 18, 2017

How Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil make 'beautiful' music together

Songwriters Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil

Songwriters Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil (Supplied )

Listen 19:13

One of the biggest tourist draws in Toronto this summer has been Beautiful: The Carole King Musical, which is based on the life of of the iconic singer-songwriter.

It won two Tonys during its Broadway run and back in June, we talked to Chilina Kennedy who took over the lead role on Broadway and is now starring in the Canadian show.

A big part of the musical focuses on King's early career when she writing songs in New York's famed Brill Building and at Aldon Music, in Times Square, with her then husband, Gerry Goffin.

But if you've seen the musical, or if you know anything about that golden era of songwriting, then you'll realize that King and Goffin weren't alone. Songwriters of that era worked side by side in cubicles, drawing inspiration from and competing with each other for the next big hit. And in the cubicle next to King and Goffin was another young married couple who became their best friends — and their rivals. Rivals, because that couple — Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil — also wrote dozens and dozens of hits including the Righteous Brothers' classic "You've Lost that Lovin' Feelin."

In addition to that song, Mann and Weil are responsible for classics such as "Sometimes When we Touch," "Don't Know Much," "Somewhere Out There," "Blame it on the Bossa Nova" and "On Broadway," to name only a few.

In the musical Beautiful, Mann and Weil's story is interwoven with King and Goffin's. In fact, they've been involved with the show almost since it began.

The couple talked to Tom Power about their long career, their 56-year marriage and what it's like to see their past come to life onstage.

Beautiful: The Carole King Musical is onstage in Toronto until Sept. 3.

— Produced by Dawna Dingwall