Noted: June 19 - June 27, 2014 Deaths - Barry Goldberg

Barry Goldberg played organ with Bob Dylan at the 1965 Newport Folk Festival and was a member of The Electric Flag with fellow Chicago blues aficionado Mike Bloomfield when he was introduced to Gerry Goffin in 1972 as a potential songwriting partner. The sessions produced a pair of hits. Goldberg paid tribute to Goffin, who passed away June 18 at the age of 75.

I had never written with a professional lyricist before. I was always considered more of a musician. I took Gerry home to my West End Avenue apartment in New York City, where my wife, Gail, cooked him a brisket dinner, which won him over. It was a big deal for me, because I had only seen his name on the back of records as Goffin/King with Greenwich/Barry and Mann/Weil. Lester Sill at Screen Gems gave us a $75-per-song advance, but Gerry only wanted to write anti-war protest songs about impeaching Nixon, none of which Sill would take. I finally made a deal with him - for every 10 political songs, Gerry would give me a commercial lyric. Sitting on my living room couch, he took out his pad, scribbled something, ripped it out and threw it to me. "Is this what you want?" It was the lyrics to "I've Got to Use My Imagination." I wrote the blues melody with Albert King in mind. We collaborated on four more, which we demoed in Muscle Shoals [Ala.], with $25,000 that Lester Sill gave us on a gut reaction. Two of those songs turned into hit records: Gladys Knight & the Pips' "Imagination" and Rod Stewart's "It's Not the Spotlight" from "Atlantic Crossing." A year later, I received a bottle of Champagne from Screen Gems acknowledging that maybe I was a songwriter after all. He was my soul brother … a wonderful, kind man with a sweet heart.

-As told to Roy Trakin


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