(In addition to the GRAMMY Awards, The Recording Academy presents Special Merit Awards recognizing contributions of significance to the recording field, including the Lifetime Achievement Award, Trustees Award and Technical GRAMMY Award. In the days leading up to the 55th GRAMMY Awards, GRAMMY.com will present the tributes to the 2013 Special Merit Awards recipients.)
Those who have attempted either would say the two most difficult things to accomplish in life are a successful partnership and a successful marriage. Combine both endeavors and the odds against you rise appreciably, but this year we proudly honor two people who have beaten those very odds and excelled gloriously at both undertakings. The fact that they both write the lyrics and have to debate titles, rhymes and concepts boggles the mind. They have managed to create the soundtrack to our lives in film, theater, TV and on radio, and the fact that they have done this without bloodshed speaks volumes to their personal strength, angelic nature and extraordinary talent.
Wrap your head around some of these achievements. In film they've won Oscars for "The Way We Were" (which also won two GRAMMYs), "The Windmills Of Your Mind" (from The Thomas Crown Affair) and the score for Yentl. On TV we can only say "And Then There's Maude" and the theme to "In The Heat Of The Night": How different yet how right on can two TV themes be? (They also won four Emmys.)
Then there's the stage and their wonderful work for the musical "Ballroom," both touching and literate, in other words very "Bergmanesque." And now for radio: "That Face," "What Are You Doing The Rest Of Your Life?," "Nice 'N' Easy," "How Do You Keep The Music Playing" … how do they do it?
Inquiring couples who also write want to know. How do they continue to produce work that is timeless and outstanding and continue to create with an enthusiasm that never diminishes? The truth is they are so special and so perfect, we'd like to slap them around a little, but then, they are so gracious, kind and elegant that we want to sing their praises and worship at their computer. We are all so lucky to have known them and their work, and to know them personally is a treat all its own.
There are no two people more deserving of the Trustees Award and we salute them with respect, love and admiration.
(Wife-and-husband team Cynthia Weil and Barry Mann are two of the greatest songwriters to emerge from New York's Brill Building. Their song "Somewhere Out There" [written with James Horne] won the Song Of The Year GRAMMY in 1987. The recording of their song "On Broadway" was inducted into the GRAMMY Hall Of Fame this year.)