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StefanL, 22.12.17 14:18
Authors: Bert Berns and Jerry Ragovoy
Born in the Bronx, New York City, in November of 1929 to Russian Jewish immigrants, when Bert Berns was a child rheumatic fever damaged his heart and would mark the rest of his life, resulting in an early death.
Turning to music, he found consolance in the sounds of his African American and Latino neighbors. As a young man, Berns danced in mambo nightclubs, and made his way to Havana before the Cuban Revolution.
Jerry Ragovoy on the other hand was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, less than one year later, in September of 1930, the son of a Hungarian-born Jewish optometrist. He entered the music industry at age 23 in 1953 with "My Girl Awaits Me" by the Castelles, the fabulous creators of the so called "Philadelphia Sound" (high tenor lead, one bass, many tenors in close harmony and minimal instrumentation).
Another well-known song by Ragovoy is "Piece of My Heart", also co-written with Berns and recorded originally by Erma Franklin, the elder sister of guess who, and later famously also covered by Janis Joplin. Between 1966 and 1968, Ragovoy was employed as a producer and songwriter for the Warner Bros subsidiary Loma Records. He went on to co-write several more songs that played a role in Joplin's career, including "Try (Just a Little Bit Harder)", "Get it While You Can" and "My Baby". Prior to Joplin's early death, Ragovoy wrote a song especially for her album to come, titled "I'm Gonna Rock My Way to Heaven". The song was never recorded or performed until shortly before Ragovoy's death in July 2011.
In 1963 Berns and Ragovoy wrote "Cry Baby" which was originally recorded by Garnet Mimms and the Enchanters for United Artists. It topped the R&B chart and went to #4 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in 1963 and is believed to have paved the way for soul hits by Aretha Franklin and Otis Redding later in the decade. The third verse was spoken by Mimms until the repeated refrain of the repeated song title.
Joplin recorded the song over the course of September and October 1970 for her album Pearl, posthumously released in 1971. It became a staple in her repertoire for the short rest of her life. Its producer was Paul A. Rothchild. On the single, the B-side was "Mercedes Benz".
Berns, who, as we already have said, had a history of cardiac trouble, died in his New York apartment of heart failure on December 30, 1967, aged 38. Bad universe.
Ragovoy on the other hand soldiered on by himself and died, following a stroke, on July 13, 2011, at the age of 80.
Cry baby, cry baby, cry baby
Honey, welcome back home
Come on and cry, cry baby, cry baby, cry baby
Oh honey, welcome back home
Come on and cry, cry baby, cry baby, cry baby
Oh Daddy, like you always saying to do
All you ever gotta do is be a good man one time to one woman
last updated: 08.04.18 18:48
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