Last night, my pal from the past, and one of my favorite dancing partners, Olivia Newton-John was on an inspired episode of “Glee” playing herself and performing a duet with Jane Lynch on “Let’s Get Physical”, which was Olivia’s biggest hit back in the ‘70s! HERE’S THE ENTIRE EPISODE http://www.hulu.com/watch/144901/glee-bad-reputation

In 1974, on the day of my taking over as head of Irving-Almo music, A&M records publishing arm, Olivia Newton-John called me from London looking for material. I knew very little about the catalog, so I held a song casting meeting to take suggestions from everyone on the publishing staff. After listening to quite a few songs, one caught my attention, “I Honestly Love You” by Jeff Barry and the Late Peter Allen. I was late for an appointment so I had only a chance to hear one verse and barely scan the lyric. We shipped it to London as quickly as we could along with an idea I had, Brian Wilson’s “God Only Knows”.

About a month later, Olivia calls me from Beverly Hills, to say she’s in town and she wants to come over and play me her recording of the two songs I sent, “God Only Knows” and “I Honestly Love You”. I put her on hold and ran through the office yelling, ” What’s “I Honestly Love You”? Things at the publishing company had been moving so quickly, that I didn’t remember the song! When Olivia came over to my office with her producer John Farrar and played a dub for me…I was almost in tears. The first thing I said to them was, “This should the Record of the Year!” You can imagine my surprise when MCA records didn’t even want to put it out as a single because, “It was too slow!” That’s when Jerry Moss (the M in A&M) let me use his top record promotion staff to break it out of the album. BTW, I Honestly Love You” written by Jeff Barry and Peter Allen, did become the Record of the Year in 1974!

Copyright 2010 by Artie Wayne https://artiewayne.wordpress.com/about-artie-wayne/

Photo at top l-r  “Olivia tries to squeeze one more hit out of Jeff Barry and Artie”

BACK TO ARTIE WAYNE ON THE WEB https://artiewayne.wordpress.com

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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