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Songwriter Jeff Barry Talks Discovering Neil Diamond & Working With The Wrecking Crew

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Credit: Mark Davis/Getty Images

Credit: Mark Davis/Getty Images

Britt Bickel
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The name Jeff Barry may not be as widely known as the catalog of music he’s behind, but this songwriter/producer has had his hands in many of the biggest hits of the ’60s and beyond.

Jeff is the songwriter behind many No.1 hits like “Chapel Of Love,” “Leader Of The Pack,” “Do Ron Ron,” “Do Wah Diddy,” and “Be My Baby,” which also happens to be Brian Wilson’s favorite song.

“[Brian] has said that and he said it to me, and once did a TV special and he was good enough to come down and sing it,”  Jeff said in an interview with Gary Bryan.

He also helped discover Neil Diamond while he was recording demos in the studio one day, and was later the producer behind Neil’s first hits including “Solitary Man” and “Cherry, Cherry.”

“We brought Neil to our partners and wanted to sign him, and quite frankly they just didn’t get it,” Jeff said about discovering Neil. “So I took him over to one of my best friends Bert Berns who had Bang Records, so he ended up over there.”

Jeff also told us about co-writing the hit “Sugar Sugar” for the animated band The Archies.

“I also produced that record and it turned out to be Record Of The Year by a group that didn’t exist,” he laughed.

Jeff’s incredible career goes far beyond than what we covered on air this morning. He played a part in sending The Monkees to No.1 by producing the group’s second record, “I’m A Believer,” which was first a Neil Diamond song.

“I played it and everyone was duly polite and they seemed to like it, except for Mike Nesmith,” said Jeff. “Mike said, ‘I’m a producer too, and that ain’t no hit.’ That’s a verbal quote.”

He also spent years working with the iconic studio band, The Wrecking Crew, heard on some of the biggest records of the day, including Pet Sounds and were even part of Phil Spector’s Wall of Sound.

This Saturday, Jeff will be appearing at a special screening of the documentary on The Wrecking Crew at Saban Theater in Beverly Hills at 6 p.m. Music lovers are invited to attend the screening, which will be in honor of 6-time Grammy Award winner Hal Blaine and feature special guests like Nancy Sinatra.

We cover much, much more about Jeff Barry’s storied music career in our extended interview clips below. Take a listen

Part 1: Jeff explains his songwriting process and working with Phil Spector.

Part 2: Jeff tells the story behind “Chapel Of Love,” discovering Neil Diamond and co-writing “Sugar Sugar.”

Part 3: Jeff talks about working with The Monkees and The Wrecking Crew.

Part 4: Jeff talks about The Wrecking Crew documentary this Saturday.

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