This week, Ira Sternberg spoke with songwriter-producer and lecturer Steve Barri. In this 30-minute episode of Talk About Las Vegas, Barri talks about growing up loving music; coming out west and meeting Lou Adler; writing and producing hits (including for many solo and musical group acts who have performed in Las Vegas); finding music for artists as an A&R man; why songs are not disposable; his most valuable copyright; revitalizing Motown; and the challenge of working with a particular singer who didn’t think her voice was up to par (and it was!)
For five decades (and counting), Barri has been a major force in popular music spanning the decades as a successful producer and songwriter and being one of the more enduring music makers of the 1960’s. His name is associated with some of the most beloved and heavily played records of that decade, though his credits and successes trail out to the new century: Barry McGuire, Johnny Rivers, Three Dog Night, The Grass Roots, The James Gang, Steppenwolf, Jim Croce, Rufus, Steely Dan, Tommy Roe, and The Four Tops are just a few of the performers for whom Barri’s abilities as a judge of talent or his own talent as a producer or songwriter has proved essential at various times; and many of these artists and groups continue to perform in Las Vegas.
He continues to create and is presently enjoying sharing his extensive knowledge of music and the music industry by giving lectures for UCLA’s Osher Program, The Skirball Cultural Center and other venues across Southern California.