Brooklyn-born Jeff Barry enjoyed his first major hit song with "Tell Laura I Love Her," with a number one recording by Ray Peterson. At the time, Barry, who graduated from Erasmus Hall High School, had just completed his second year at the New York School of Industrial Design. He left college to accept a long-hoped-for job in the music business that of staff songwriter for the EB Marks Music publishing firm, under the supervision of publishing magnate and book author, Arnold Shaw.
His activities in the New York music scene eventually led to a meeting with the songwriter, Ellie Greenwich, who soon thereafter became his wife and partner in Red Bird Records, a company in which they shared ownership with record man George Goldner, and the high-flying songwriters, Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller. Red Bird became a veritable home of the hits for Barry and his colleagues with the hot vocal group, The Dixie Cups, leading the way with such single smashes as "Chapel Of Love," "Iko Iko" and "People Say." One of their all-time classics of that era, The Shangri-Las' "Leader of the Pack," also was on the Red Bird label.
Following a decision by the couple to divorce in 1966, Barry continued writing independently and the following year initiated a new label, Steed Records. The Steed operation became the pathway to stardom for the singer, Andy Kim, who came up with a series of hits including "How'd We Ever Get This Way," "Baby, I Love You," "Shoot 'Em Up, Baby," "Rainbow Ride" and "So Good Together."
As a writer, co-writer and/or producer, Jeff Barry's credits are to be found on many songs indeed, and in differing genres as well. For example, in the country field, Barry's song, "Out of Hand," by Gary Stewart, was the longest charted country record of its year. But Barry also wrote and co-wrote a host of other country hits, including "Saying Hello, Saying I Love You, Saying Goodbye," (Jim Ed Brown and Helen Cornelius); "He Ain't You," (Lyn Anderson); "If It Ain't Love by Now," (Jim Ed Brown and Helen Cornelius, which helped the couple win the Country Music Association Best Country Duo award) and one of the most successful of all, Olivia Newton-John's "I Honestly Love You," later named "Song of the Year" in the American Music Awards of that year.
Among other highlight credits for Barry are such songs as "So Deep in Love," by Johnny Mathis and Deneice Williams, "I Wanna Love Him So Bad" and "Baby Be Mine," by the Jellybeans and "Sugar Sugar," by TV's the Archies, named "Record of the Year," by the Record Industry Association of America (RIAA).
For a number of years, Barry has also been an active contributor to the television world. He composed the theme music for such soaps, as "One Day at a Time" and "The Jeffersons," both of which ran for over a dozen years, and "Family Ties," which ran for nine years.
By his second marriage to Nancy CalCagno in 1967, Barry became the father of two children. According to Billboard, Barry also owns the third highest number of number one chart hits of any modem songwriter (Lionel Richie and Carole King are listed in first and second place respectively.)
More recently, while Barry has continued his output in terms of Broadway, film and television music, as well as commercials, he has also turned his attention to the children's entertainment market, by establishing, with partner Richard Goldsmith, a new firm known as Big Kids Entertainment Inc., which has plans to produce audio and video product aimed at the kiddie and teen markets, to be distributed worldwide by Warner Bros. Records.
(AND) THEN HE KISSED ME
Phil Spector, Ellie Greenwich, Jeff Barry
Abkco Music, Inc./Mother Bertha Music, Inc./Trio Music Co., Inc./Universal Songs of Polygram
MOVIN’ ON UP
Jeannette Du Bois, Jeff Barry
EMI Belfast Music, Inc./Steeplechase Music