Sunday, May 15, 2016

Kennedy Center Honors and Honoring Our Own

On May 10th, 2016, songwriters extraordinaire, Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil, won the BMI (Broadcast Music Incorporated)Icon Award. BMI is the basic twin of ASCAP when it comes to music publishing, and most recording artists have a contract with one or the other.

I saw this as a news item on Twitter, and said that Barry and Cynthia should win every award every given, and called out the Kennedy Center Honors folks for not having already honored these two amazing songwriters. They are truly deserving but 140 characters allows nothing but a joke and hopefully a coherent statement.

Well I can't do jack in 140 characters so I thought I would sit down at 2:45 AM PST to expound on the subject of them getting the Kennedy Center Honors, and the seriousness of it occurring quickly. Let's talk about this award.

It's normally given as an award for a lifetime of contributions to the performing arts, and their contributions to American culture through the use of these arts. Right there is the biggest opening ever made for mankind, and for Barry and Cynthia.

To say that Barry Mann and Cynthia have contributed to the culture, continuing culture, and future culture of America, is a gross understatement of facts and feelings. I have avoided talking about the songs themselves to this time, because I want everyone to be clear about the rules before we talk about meat and potatoes.

Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil wrote, had a hand in writing, or assisted in some way in all these tunes. They are: "You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling," "On Broadway," "We Gotta Get Outta This Place," "Walking in the Rain""(You're My) Soul and Inspiration," "I Just Can't Help Believing," "Here You Come Again," "Don't Know Much," but to name but a few of their great tunes. There are many, many, many, more.

Any one of the songs I have listed above would be a career for most songwriters but not Barry and Cynthia. They flourished and worked at songwriting, but they also had soul and inspiration, and a great ability to get into your heart with words and music. I don't know how they did it, I am just glad that they did.  

The awards ceremony was in Los Angeles California at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel. BMI honored Barry, Cynthia, and a young woman who was named Taylor Swift. She is also a great songwriter and only needs 480 songs to catch Barry and Cynthia, in terms of hits.
Cynthia Weil, Taylor Swift, and Barry Mann


So I saw they won and I said on Twitter that they deserved every award for music ever given. I also checked and found out they had not been awarded The Kennedy Center Honors. This sort of pissed me off on a few different levels.

I believe that everyone who has received the Kennedy Center Honors has been a worthy recipient. They are all, and in some cases were, very talented and worthy of recognition. But again, I think some clear thinking needs to be applied to the circumstances attendant to these two specific individuals, and their possible receiving of this prestigious award.

These two have lifetime achievement awards from nearly every important music organization on the earth, they have the written the most played song on the planet in "You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling." They are members of the Songwriters Hall of Fame and the list just continues and continues.

So what are we going to do? Are we going to sit by and watch them get passed over again? I personally have no pull, no juice. I don't know anyone I could call, send a message to, or bother about this or I would. So all I can do is write this in the hopes that someone with some juice will feel the same way I do. I guess what I really have is a love for good music. So do Barry and Cynthia.

Also Barry Mann, just for the record knows who put the bomp, in the bomp buh bomp buh bomp. And that's gotta count for something. Please Kennedy Center honor these two real American heroes. I won't mention their work for saving animals, because they don't do it for fame or fortune, they just love animals. How awesome.

Please Kennedy Center Honors, step up and use this coming December to do the deed. These two deserve it while they can enjoy the fun, adulation, and recognition they truly deserve. They are one of the last ties to the Brill Building, Tin Pan Alley, and the great American songwriting tradition in general, and are American right down to their toes.


@mannweil