Songs and Stories

Not long after Matt and I moved to Nashville, he got us some passes to a television show with episodes being taped for PBS here in Nashville.  I have looked, and as best I can tell, the show never went to air here in Nashville (or possibly ever), which is a shame.  I went to two of the tapings, Matt went to only one - because he had to work, or was traveling... I don't recall.  It was at the Masonic Lodge auditorium in Nashville, and it was quite the experience.

The premise of the show, "Legends and Lyrics" was that a handful of songwriters sat on a stage and just shot the shit.  I think there was a piano so that they could play a little if they wanted.

You can read about it here:

And sadly, I don't remember everyone who appeared on the show, but I'll tell you what I can remember.

One show had Lamont Dozier of Holland Dozier Holland - he told the story about how "I Can't Help Myself (Sugarpie, Honeybunch)" came about - his grandfather used to work in the garden and when his grandmother's friends would come to visit, he'd flirt  with them: "How are you today, sugarpie?  Good morning, honeybunch".  And so on.  As a Motown fanatic, I was most excited to see him.  

Another guest was Marc Cohn who wrote Walking in Memphis.

But the pair who surprised me most were Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil - who wrote too many songs to name.  They married in 1961, and were responsible for a ton of songs you've heard. 

Together, they wrote:

Somewhere Out There - the Theme from An American Tail

Just Once

Don't Know Much


We Gotta Get Out of This Place

You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling.

and my favorite of them

Here You Come Again

They told the story that a company in the UK wanted to use their song in an ad, and they turned it down because it was for condoms.  

They told another song about a time where Barry was really struggling mentally, and from their talks came the lyrics to Don't Know Much.

She collaborated with others to write The Love Theme to St. Elmo's Fire,  He's So Shy, If Ever You're In My Arms Again, and more.

Well, she died yesterday at the age of 82.  I got to hear her speak, once upon a time many moons ago, and she was great.  I enjoyed hearing she and her husband share about their collaborations.  They were lovely together, and the fact that they were married 62 years is a testament to good collaboration.

This is what her daughter said:

“My mother, Cynthia Weil, was the greatest mother, grandmother and wife our family could ever ask for,” Jenn Mann said. “She was my best friend, confidant, and my partner in crime and an idol and trailblazer for women in music.”

Anyway - I saw that she had died, and wanted to share.


Christopher said…
It amazes me I'd never heard of Cynthia Weill until I read this yesterday, but then they also had a profile of her on NPR this evening as I was going to the store. She was extraordinary. I'm also sorry that show apparently never aired here or, if it did, I never saw it. So many songs across generations.
Although I do kind of wish she had given permission to the British condom company. That reminds me of the story that during World War I a condom company offered to make covers for British rifles. The British government agreed but only on the condition that they have the word "MEDIUM" printed on them.