I Write the Songs Part 2

I Write the Songs, Part 2

Here are the next batch of songwriters. Many are paired with their most frequent collaborators. As I said I am limiting my list to the people known primarily as songwriters but many were capable performers as well.

Felice Bryant (August 7, 1925 – April 22, 2003) and Boudleaux Bryant (February 13, 1920 – June 25, 1987).

This couple were both talented in many ways as Boudleaux (Diadorius Boudleaux) was a classic violinist and Felice (Matilda Genevieve) played piano, sang and directed shows for the American Troops with the USO. When they met in 1945 they eloped after two days together and remained married until Boudleaux’s death in 1987. While they would both write independently, together they produced hits songs for The Everly Brothers; “Bye Bye Love“, “Wake Up Little Susie“, “Take a Message to Mary” and “Poor Jenny” to name a few.

Also; “Raining in My Heart” Buddy Holly, the song “Hole in My Pocket” not to be confused with “There’s a Hole in My Bucket” was sung by Little Jimmy Dickens (1958) and later Ricky Van Shelton would have a hit with it in 1989. Other artists would record their songs such as ‘The Osborne Brothers’ with “Rocky Top” and “Come Live with Me” which was Roy Clark’s only #1 song.

Dave Bartholomew (December 24, 1918 – June 23, 2019) was the long time collaborator with Fats Domino (February 26, 1928 – October 24, 2017) and while he was an accomplished musician his mark on music history comes from the many great songs he wrote. Of the dozens there are some standouts such as “The Fat Man” (1950), “Ain’t That a Shame” (1955), “I’m Walkin'”(1956), “Walking to New Orleans” (1960) and he wrote and originally recorded “My Ding-a-Ling” (1952) which was Chuck Berry’s only #1 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1972.

Otis Blackwell (February 16, 1931 – May 6, 2002) grew up in New York City and at age 21 as a singer and piano player he won a talent contest at the Apollo Theatre. This set him on a course for a legitimate career in music and he turned almost fulltime to his gift of songwriting which has given us such songs as his first hit with “Fever” written with Eddie Cooley, recorded by Little Willie John in 1956 who topped the R&B charts and went to #24 on Billboard’s Hot 100. Here is a sampling of songs he would write: Jerry Lee Lewis; “Great Balls Of Fire” (with Jack Hammer) and “Breathless“. For Elvis Presley; “Don’t be Cruel” and “All Shook Up” both hit #1 and “Return to Sender” (#2). He wrote “Handy Man” with Jimmy Jones who released it in 1959, James Taylor won a Grammy Award in 1978.

Doc Pomus (Jerome Solon Felder, June 27, 1925 – March 14, 1991) and Mort Shuman (12 November 1938 – 2 November 1991) these two teamed up for some classic R&R with “A Teenager in Love” by Dion and the Belmonts (1959), “This Magic Moment” and “Save the Last Dance for Me” by the Drifters (1960), “Suspicion” (1961) and “Viva Las Vegas” (1964) by Elvis Presley.

Lyricist Hal David (May 25, 1921 – September 1, 2012) often teamed up at the famed Brill Building with composer and performer Burt Bacharach (born May 12, 1928). Together they produced some of the most memorable songs of our time; “Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on My Head” from ‘Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid’, “I Say a Little Prayer” just one among the many hits by Dionne Warwick, “This Guy’s in Love with You” by Herb Alpert, “(They Long to Be) Close to You” by The Carpenters, “What the World Needs Now Is Love” by Jackie DeShannon, “Only Love Can Break a Heart” by Gene Pitney, “Wishin’ and Hopin’” by Dusty Springfield, “What’s New Pussycat?” by Tom Jones, and “Blue on Blue” by Bobby Vinton and many more.

Burt Berns (November 8, 1929 – December 30, 1967) in my opinion let his relationship with organized crime go way too far and he used that to intimidate others in the music business. However he did write and co-write some amazing songs; “Twist and Shout” (with Phil Medley) by The Top Notes/Isley Brothers/The Beatles, “Piece of My Heart” (with Jerry Ragovoy) originally by Aretha’s older sister Erma Franklin/Big Brother and the Holding Company, “Hang on Sloopy” (with Wes Farrell) by the Vibrations/McCoys, “Tell Him” by the Exciters and “I Want Candy” with co-writers Bob Feldman, Jerry Goldstein and Richard Gottehrer (who also wrote “My Boyfriends Back”) performed the song themselves as ‘The Strangeloves’.

Barry Mann (born February 9, 1939) and Cynthia Weil (born October 18, 1940) were another of the married couples from The Brill Building. While they wrote many songs with other writers, together they made magic happen with; “Blame It on the Bossa Nova” by Eydie Gormé, “Walking in the Rain” (with Phil Spector) by The Ronettes, “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’” (Phil Spector) and “(You’re My) Soul and Inspiration” by the Righteous Brothers, “We Gotta Get Out of This Place” by The Animals, “Here You Come Again” by B.J. Thomas/Dolly Parton and “Somewhere Out There” (with James Horner) by Linda Ronstadt and James Ingram and so many others.

David Porter was born November 21, 1941 and he teamed up with the multi talented recording artist Isaac Hayes (August 20, 1942 – August 10, 2008) and they are responsible for creating “The Stax Sound” during their collaboration at Stax Records in Memphis. They wrote; “Soul Man“, “Hold On, I’m Comin’” and others for Sam and Dave, “B-A-B-Y” by Carla Thomas/Rachel Sweet and “Your Good Thing (Is About to End)” by Mable John/Lou Rawls/Bonnie Raitt.

Dan Penn (November 16, 1941) who is a capable recording artist has written and co-written many great songs such as; “I’m Your Puppet” (with Spooner Oldham) by James & Bobby Purify, “Do Right Woman, Do Right Man (with Chips Moman) by Aretha Franklin, “Cry Like a Baby” (Spooner Oldham) by The Box Tops, “The Dark End of the Street” by James Carr/Aretha Franklin/Linda Ronstadt and “A Woman Left Lonely” by Janis Joplin.

Norman Whitfield (May 12, 1940 – September 16, 2008) was one of the creators of the Motown sound and wrote and co-wrote some fantastic music; one of my favorites “Ain’t Too Proud to Beg” (with Eddie Holland) by The Temptations, “Car Wash” by Rose Royce and many great collaborations with Barrett Strong who sang “Money (That’s What I Want)” such as “I Heard It Through the Grapevine” by Marvin Gaye, “Papa Was a Rollin’ Stone” by The Undisputed Truth/The Temptations, , “War” by The Temptations/Edwin Starr, and “Smiling Faces Sometimes” The Temptations/The Undisputed Truth.

Speaking of Eddie Holland (born October 30, 1939) and Motown he along with Lamont Dozier (born June 16, 1941) and his brother Brian Holland (born February 15, 1941) were a triple threat.


They have written some of the greatest Pop/Soul/ R&B songs of all time. “Heat Wave” Martha and the Vandellas/Linda Ronstadt, “Can I Get a Witness” by Marvin Gaye/The Rolling Stones/Lee Michaels, “Where Did Our Love Go“, “Baby Love” and “Stop! In the Name of Love” by The Supremes, “I Can’t Help Myself (Sugar Pie Honey Bunch)” by the Four Tops, “Give Me Just a Little More Time” (with Ron Dunbar) by Chairmen of the Board, “Band of Gold” also with Dunbar recorded by Freda Payne. And the list goes on.

Jimmy Webb (born August 15, 1946) really knows how to paint a picture with his songs. “Wichita Lineman” is such an evocative song, of course recorded by Glen Campbell who also did other Webb songs,”Galveston” and “By the Time I Get to Phoenix” first recorded by Johnny Rivers. The song “Worst That Could Happen” was written about a relationship Webb had with a woman named Susan, it was originally recorded by the 5th Dimension (“Up, Up and Away” also written by Webb) but it later became a hit for Johnny Maestro & the Brooklyn Bridge in 1969. While he is a recording artist he is still much better known for his songwriting like “MacArthur Park” first recorded by actor Richard Harris (#2 in 1968) and covered for a 1969 Grammy win by Waylon Jennings and then a #1 Billboard Hot 100 hit by Donna Summers in 1978.

Trivia! Boudleaux Bryant would write “All I Have to Do Is Dream” about his wife Matilda whom he nicknamed ‘Felice’. It would hit #1 for the Everly Brothers in 1958 and feature the great Chet Atkins on guitar. It’s the only song to be #1 on these four charts 
simultaneously; including the two ‘singles charts’ of the day (Most Played by Jockeys and Most Played in Jukeboxes) as well as the R&B and Country Charts. 
References; https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Main_Page, Secondhandsongs.com, https://www.nationalreview.com/magazine/2019/09/09/louis-armstrongs-when-youre-smiling/, 
 https://web.musicaficionado.com/main/article/how_rockpile_tried_and_failed_to_save_rock_and_roll_by_mitchellcohen, https://www.liveabout.com/top-burt-bacharach-and-hal-david-songs-4055666https://boudleauxandfelicebryant.com/,

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