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Veteran pop and rock songwriter Mark Barkan dies at age 85

M_MarkBarkan630_cropped_CreditRobPreuss_051120
Credit: Rob Preuss

Credit: Rob PreussSongwriter Mark Barkan, who wrote or co-wrote songs recorded by Lesley Gore, Manfred Mann, Elvis Presley, Rod Stewart, Connie Francis, Dusty Springfield and many more famous artists over the course of his long career, died Friday at his home in New York City. He was 85.

Among Barkan’s most famous compositions was “Pretty Flamingo,” a #1 U.K. hit for Manfred Mann in 1966 that was covered by dozens of other artists, including Stewart, The Everly Brothers, Bruce Springsteen and Elvis Costello. Mark also co-wrote “The Tra La La Song,” the theme to the popular late-1960s children’s show The Banana Splits Adventure Hour, as well as many songs for The Archies.

Other hits that Barkan had a hand in writing include Gore’s “She’s a Fool” and “That’s the Way Boys Are,” Francis’ “I’m Gonna Be Warm This Winter” and BT Express‘ “Peace Pipe.”

Barkan also produced and wrote songs for Psychedelic Moods, a 1966 album by The Deep that is considered one of the earliest psychedelic records.

In addition, he wrote and co-produced songs for the 1970 U.K. sci-fi film Toomorrow, which featured Olivia Newton-John.

Later in his career, Barkan frequently worked with founding Blue Oyster Cult drummer Albert Bouchard, including on a 2018 collaborative concept album titled Fidelis ad Mortem. He also co-wrote a song with Bouchard titled “Hey Sheriff” that appeared on Eleven Eleven, the new album by Albert’s current band Blue Coupe, which also features ex-Blue Oyster Cult guitarist Joe Bouchard and original Alice Cooper group bassist Dennis Dunaway.

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