Born Joel Adelberg, 3 April 1938, Brooklyn. New York City, New York Songwriter Jeff Barry began his recording life as a rock 'n' roller, or more accurately, a parody rock 'n' roller, as both sides of his single "Hip Couple"/"It's Called Rock 'n' Roll" (RCA 7477) lean heavily on the Stan Freberg approach. The record was cut in February 1959 with a fine band of NYC session men, including King Curtis on sax and Joe Marshall on drums. During the sixties, Barry became one of the most respected pop tune- smiths within the Brill Building complex, not an easy accomplishment considering the fact that Barry's in-house competion included Carole King, Barry Mann and Neil Sedaka. A struggling New Yorker, Barry's fortunes changed considerably when he met his future wife and song- writing partner, Ellie Greenwich, at a party in 1962. Within a short time of teaming up, the duo had an appointment at Don Kirshner's songwriting factory, New York City's famous Brill Building. Ushered into the business by Leiber and Stoller, Barry and his wife Greenwich began writing and arranging for the groups signed to Phil Spector's Philles label. The smash hits "Da Do Ron Ron" and "Be My Baby" resulted from the time spent with Spector. Meanwhile, Jeff and Ellie also recorded as the Raindrops for Jubilee Records, scoring five chart entries in 1963-64, including the Top 20 hit "The Kind Of Boy You Can't Forget" and a nice version of "Book Of Love", the 1958 Monotones hit. By 1964, Barry and Greenwich were an integral part of the staff at Leiber and Stoller's newly formed Red Bird Records. Largely regarded by pop aficianados as the mecca for the "girl group" sound, the staff at Red Bird, which also included producer George "Shadow" Morton, produced tightly crafted, musically sophisticated songs that were the pop equivalent of the kind of rock operas the Who would later write. The Barry/Greenwich penned "Leader of the Pack" by the Shangri-La's, with its revving motorcycle engine and girlish screams of terror was a fine example of the songs that the label was crafting at the time. Barry and Greenwich were divorced in 1965, but for some time they continued to write hit records such as the seminal "River Deep, Mountain High" and the Beach Boys 1969 hit "I Can Hear Music" (originally written for and recorded by the Ronettes in 1966), their songs changing with the times, but still retaining the essence of their earlier Brill Building days. After their creative partnership broke up, Greenwich went on to become a session vocalist, while Barry became a staff producer. He had great success with the Monkees ("I'm A Believer") and the Archies ("Sugar Sugar"), both # 1 hits. In the seventies he did production work for A & M Records, the label of Herb Alpert and Jerry Moss, but was unable to achieve the same level of success as he had in the sixties. In 1991, Jeff Barry and Ellie Greenwich were inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame.
More info: http://www.spectropop.com/hjeff_barry.html CD's: Jeff Barry, Mr. Make Believe : Complete Recordings 1959-1971 (Brilltone). 2 CD-set, 59 tracks. The Complete Raindrops (Sequel NEM CD 713). 23 tracks.
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