June 22, 2009

fat 2

I was raised by a single mother. Never knew or even saw a picture of my father. Yesterday I didn’t feel sad, just a bit empty as I thought of some of my friends and the relationships they had with their fathers.

Songwriter and Producer Jeff Barry, is always someone I’ve looked up to…and not just because he’s about a foot taller than me! Before I got into the music business, I remember first seeing Jeff’s name on one of my favorite records, “Tell Laura I Love Her” (Raleigh/ Barry) by Ray Peterson. I loved his music (“Da Doo Run Run”, “Doo Wah Diddy”).

I didn’t see Jeff for a couple years, then while I was visiting my friend songwriter, Paul Williams (”We’ve Only Just Begun”, “Old Fashioned Love Song”) on the A&M Records lot. Jeff, who had just signed a co-publishing deal with Irving/ Almo Music, came in and played me a song he had written, “Walking In The Sun”

WALKING IN THE SUN Words and music by Jeff Barry

Well, things have been goin’ wrong long enough to know when everything’s just right
I’ve been walking in the dark long enough to know when I’ve finally seen the light
I’ve been losing long enough to know when I finally have won
And even the blind man can tell when he’s walking in the sun.

Well, I’ve cried enough tears to recognize this feeling of a smile
I’ve been bottom rung long enough to know when I’m doing it in style
I’ve been running long enough to know when there’s no more need to run
(O Lord) Even the blind man can tell when he’s walking in the sun.

The wind is at my back and I’m sailing on a ship long overdue
I’ve blown so many chances, I ain’t gonna blow this one with you
And I’ve seen enough bad times to know when the good times have begun
O Lord – Even the blind man can tell when he’s walking in the sun

(Oh yeah) Even the blind man can tell when he’s walking in the sun.

Copyright 1973 Irving Music/Jeff Barry International, administered by BMI.

I sat there with my mouth dropped open, fighting back a tear. I always admired and respected Jeff for his ability to tap into the teen market and realistically express their emotions…but I realized his writing had reached a new level. Although I was working for Warner Brothers Music as general Professional Manager, and it was my job to plug my company’s songs, I gave a demo of “Walking In The Sun” to my friend, Bob Monoco who recorded it the following week with Chaka Kahn and her group Rufus!

It was years later that I learned that the song was written for his father, who was blind and only this morning did I read the complete story behind the song, in Jeff’s own words on his official website.

chokeThe next time I placed one of Jeff’s songs, it was in a more of an “official” capacity. I was hired to run Irving/ Almo, and on my first day on the job, I gave Olivia Newton John, “I Honestly Love You”, that Jeff wrote with the late Peter Allen, which became the record of the year in 1974!

Copyright 2007 by Artie Wayne

For Jeff Barry http://lpintop.tripod.com/jeffbarry/id22.html

Special thanks to Laura Pinto http://laurapinto.tripod.com/

Photo at top l-r: Lauren Chapin, Jane Wyatt, Robrt Young, Elinor Donohue, and Billy Gray

Photo at bottom: Olivia Newton-John tries to squeeze another hit out of Jeff Barry, and Artie Wayne


  1. Ann Munday Says:

    Hello Artie, Jeff is a lovely man.
    I had the pleasure of getting to know him when he worked with Frank Miller. Great songs. One, I’d Lie to You for Your Love went no 1 country, was covered pop and heavy rock.
    And at least if Frankie wrote with Jeff, I knew where the songs were!
    I spent a few days at Jeff’s home above Doheny, when he and Marty Cupps (who sadly died about 5 years ago) were good buddies (no – no romantic link with either of them!) and I was in charge of preparing the turkey and rest of meal. Jeff had an ultra modern (at the time) oven, and I thought that I had put it on. 3 hours later, I discoverd my mistake and had to somehow jam the bird into the microwave and catch up 3 hours.
    I also remember clearly an example of Jeff’s delightful sense of humour/teasing. Deciding to watch Poltergeist in his den, Jeff advised me to watch out for the skeletons in the pool. I replied ha ha very funny and of course I wasn’t very good with horror pix then

  2. Ann Munday Says:

    Frankie nor Frank Miller!

  3. Jeff Barry was always one of my absolute favorite writer-producers. As a young upstart in NYC, I was wide-eyed and full of ambition. Jeff was one of my true musical role models. His work with Ellie was iconic and in no small way an important part of the DNA of rock & roll. Jeff also produced his ass off and captured the essence of Neil Diamond like no one else ever did. His later songwriting evolved and grew more complex as I’m sure he did on a personal level. I got to know him some in the 70s; we were occasional table mates at functions in the 80s and 90s. When we joined forces with other songwriters to protect our common interests, I got to see the “funny” Jeff people often spoke about. He’s a true giant among pop songwriters…and what can I say about this song….an exquisite lyric.

  4. This brings back some good old memories. Thanks for the post. Brightened my day.

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