(born Joel Adelberg
, April 3, 1938, Brooklyn
, New York
) is an American pop music songwriter
, and record producer
His parents divorced
when he was seven, and his mother moved him and his sister to Plainfield
, New Jersey
, where they resided for several years before returning to New York.
After graduating from Erasmus Hall High School
, Barry served in the Army
, then returned to New York where he attended City College. Although he leaned toward a degree in engineering, his main aspiration was to become a singer. He left college in the late '50s to sign with RCA Records
, courtesy of music publisher
Arnold Shaw. Around this time, he adopted a new name more in tune with show business, borrowing "Jeff" from actor Jeff Chandler
and "Barry" from family friends.
for RCA label
, including the self-penned "It's Called Rock and Roll", backed with "Hip Couple", released in 1959. The following year, Barry garnered his first significant success as a songwriter with two songs targeting the burgeoning teen market. First, Sam Cooke took Barry's "Teenage Sonata" to No. 22 on the Billboard R&B charts. Later that year, the teen-tragedy ballad "Tell Laura I Love Her
", written with lyricist Ben Raleigh, went to No. 1 on the U.S. pop charts for Ray Peterson
and to No. 1 on the UK Singles Chart
for British singer Ricky Valance.
In the '60s, Barry would partner, both... Read More