Aired on Treasure Island Oldies – Apr 30, 2023
One of the greatest hit making juggernauts to grace the Brill Building at 1650 Broadway in New York was the husband and wife songwriting team of Barry Mann & Cynthia Weil.
Mann and Weil made a name for themselves with hits like “On Broadway” and “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’,” recorded by the Drifters and the Righteous Brothers respectively.
In 1965, they wrote another song with the intention of having it also recorded by The Righteous Brothers. However, fate had other plans. A British rock band, known for their gritty sound and powerful vocals, heard the song and decided to record it themselves …
But where did the inspiration for the song’s lyrics come from? Some say that Mann and Weil wrote the song with a specific location in mind: New York’s Brill Building, a hub of music industry activity at the time. The Brill Building was home to numerous recording studios, songwriters, and music publishers, and many young musicians dreamed of making it big there. But for Mann and Weil, the Brill Building represented a kind of creative prison, where they were forced to churn out hit after hit without the freedom to explore their own artistic desires.
Others believe that the lyrics were inspired by the broader social and political climate of the time with many young people feeling trapped in a system that they didn’t believe in. The song became a rallying cry for those who were looking for a way out.
Whatever the inspiration behind the song’s lyrics, there is no denying its impact. The British group’s version was an instant hit. Its driving beat, soulful vocals, and powerful lyrics resonated with young people. The song also became an anthem for soldiers fighting in Vietnam, who would sing it to each other as a way of coping with the horrors of war.
A song of defiance and determination, it epitomized the bluesy sound of the Animals who proclaimed that “We Gotta Get Out Of This Place,” this week’s Tom Locke moment in time.
YouTube video of this song:
This “Moments In Time” story is yet another example of a “golden oldie” or forgotten favorite that earned its place in the evolution of Rock & Roll.