Cynthia Weil Dies: ‘You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’,’ ‘We Gotta Get Out Of This Place’ & ‘On Broadway’ Co-Writer Was 82

Cynthia Weil, who teamed with husband Barry Mann to write such pop classics as “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’,” “On Broadway,” “We Gotta Get Out of This Place” and dozens of other hits for the likes of the Drifters, the Ronettes, Dolly Parton and B.J. Thomas, died Thursday. She was 82.

Weil’s daughter, Dr. Jenn Mann, said via publicist Sarah Schlief: “My mother, Cynthia Weil, was the greatest mother, grandmother and wife our family could ever ask for. She was my best friend, confidante and my partner in crime and an idol and trailblazer for women in music.”

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Weil and Mann, who were married for 62 years, were among the most important songwriters in the early days of rock ‘n’ roll. They won a pair of Grammys and were Oscar-nominated for Best Song for “Somewhere Out There,” the Linda Ronstadt-James Ingram duet from An American Tail. The couple would share a Trustees Award from the Recording Academy in 2015.

The pair also received the inaugural National Academy of Songwriter Life Achievement Award, were inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1987 and earned the Ahmet Ertegun Award from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2010. King inducted them, and Weil was the first woman to receive the prestigious award that is given to non-performing music professionals.

The spouses also were featured characters in the hit Broadway show Beautiful: The Carole King Musical. Anika Larsen earned the Featured Actress in a Musical Tony nom and a Drama Desk win for playing Weil.

Among the other stone-classic Top 10 hits that Weil co-penned are Parton’s cover of “Here You Come Again,” the Ronettes’ “Walking in the Rain,” Paul Revere and the Raiders’ “Kicks” and the Righteous Brothers “(You’re My) Soul and Inspiration.”

That chart-topping latter song was the Phil Spector-produced follow-up to the Righteous Brothers’ signature hit “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’,” which was the most-played song of the 20th century. In all, their songs charted nearly 100 times on the Billboard Hot 100 and more than 50 times in the UK.

Weil and Mann met while working at the “Brill Building” in Manhattan and decided to collaborate. While there they became friends with — and chief rivals of — Carole King and Gerry Goffin, and the couples churned out memorable monster hits for years.

Barry Mann, Cynthia Weil (standing left) and Carole King at work in 1959 in New York (Getty Images)
Barry Mann, Cynthia Weil (standing left) and Carole King at work in 1959 in New York (Getty Images)

Their first success was with Tony Orlando’s “Bless You,” which made the Top 15 in 1961 and hit No. 5 in the UK. Later that year they hit again with the Crystals’ “Uptown” and had their first U.S. Top 10 record with Paul Petersen’s “My Dad” in 1962. The following year brought more Top 10 success with Eydie Gormé’s “Blame It on the Bossa Nova” and the Drifters’ unforgettable “On Broadway,” which scatting guitarist George Benson remade in 1978 and hit No. 7 on the Billboard Hot 100. Neil Young also memorably covered the song on his 1989 album Freedom.

And the hits kept comin’ from Weil and Mann: Gene Pitney took “I’m Gonna Be Strong” to No. 9 in the U.S. and No. 2 in the UK (Cyndi Lauper having a minor hit with it in 1995). “Walking in the Rain” and the Drifters’ “Saturday Night at the Movies” were Top 20 hits before Paul Revere and the Raiders had back-to-back Top 10 hits with “Kicks” and “Hungry.”

Weil-Mann songs continued to chart through the 1970s, ’80s and ’90s, highlighted by Thomas’ “Rock and Roll Lullaby” (1972), Quincy Jones’ “Just Once” (1981) and “Don’t Know Much,” a No. 2 smash cover by Ronstadt and Aaron Neville that earned a Song of the Year Grammy nom.

The couple enjoyed another of their greatest successes in 1986 with “Somewhere Out There,” which peaked at No. 2 in the U.S., hit the UK Top 10 and earned two Grammys including Song of the Year. It also scored an Oscar nom for Best Song but lost to “Take My Breath Away” from Top Gun.

Weil and Mann had one last Top 10 in 1997, co-writing “I Will Come to You” with the members of Hanson as a follow-up to the youthful duo’s global smash “MMMBop.”

Weil was born on October 18, 1940, in New York City. Along with her songwriting credits — their tunes have graced hundreds of movies and TV shows — she and Mann were the subjects of They Wrote That?, a musical revue of their songs that played for 14 months in Manhattan from 2004-05. She also wrote the 2015 novel I’m Glad I Did.

She is survived by Mann and their daughter.

Here are some tributes to Weil that came in today:

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