For years Barry was one of the most respected "behind the scenes" individuals in the promotion end of the music business. But recently tens of thousands of people were also getting to know him as a solid entertainer who worked closely with J.T. Carter, the founder of the legendary Crests. Sadly Barry's story ended with so much yet to be written. The countless people who knew and loved him so well were devastated by his totally unexpected passing which occurred just days after a smashing success as part of Cousin Bruce Morrow's Palisades Park Reunion 3 at the New Jersey State Fair held at the Meadowlands in East Rutherford, NJ, performing as part of J.T. Carter's Crests along with Tony Orlando, Tommy James, Gary "US" Bonds and the Capris.
Barry was the president of 2b Productions, which represented a veritable Who's Who of the top oldies acts of all time. Barry's company descibed themselves this way: "We are NOT a Talent Agency! We are a Cooperative of Original National Recording Artists of the 50's, 60's and 70's. Together we can insure legitimacy, quality and a more cost effective performance for your venue or corporation. All you have to do is sit back and enjoy the show!" Under Barry's expert guidance, the prestigious company expanded into locations that included New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Chicago, Florda and Las Vegas.
Not content to merely work in the background, Barry began his career as an entertainer, singing lead with a very popular N.Y.C. accapella rock and roll band and was discovered by Fred Balin of Decca Records. He introduced Barry to J.T. Carter, the founder of the Crests, who is the only surviving member of the classic group featuring Johnny Maestro that had so many memorable recordings including "16 Candles," "Step By Step" and "The Angels Listened In." Those Angels must have been listening because this was truly a match made in heaven. Barry and J.T. joined forces in business ventures and began performing together in major venues and casinos throuhout the United States, Europe and Scandinavia. The addition of Barry's unique vocal quality added a whole new dimension to the act, which also included J.T.'s wife Leona. They performed both as J.T. Carter's Crests , recreating the original Crests' stage show and they also did shows under a different name, STARZ, which consisted of tributes to the Four Tops, the Temptations, the Drifters, Barry White, Al Green, Nat King Cole and Dion.
A few years ago Barry promoted and participated as an entertainer in a Johnny Maestro tribute show in Florida which has been hailed as one of the greatest shows of that kind ever. [Please see Denise Ferri's message below.]
Barry performed at the aforementioned Meadowlands State Fair on June 27th. On July 9th, just 12 days later, he suffered a massive heart attack and passed away on July 11th. You can see him at that event in the first video below.
He was truly a giant among men and loved by everyone who were lucky to know him.
Denise Ferri was one of those people and she knew him for several years
Barry Newman left us way too soon. I met Barry five years ago when he invited me to participate in the Johnny Maestro Tribute Show. We instantly connected.
Barry was a real and true friend to everyone who knew him. He was always available when ever you needed him with advice and encouragement.
Extremely talented, kind and very funny.
Barry, we will miss you my friend and I will never forget you or our talks. Our music family will never be the same without you. I have been blessed to know you.
[his segment starts at 2:25]
[14-minute multi-act tribute set!]
["Memories of Gold" show]