Jump to content

Manilow #1


Tom

Recommended Posts

Except that he's pulling a lame Rod Stewart and singing a bunch of oldies that he has no connection whatsoever to. I don't get this genre of music lovers. Who wants to hear Barry Manilow sing "Love Is A Many Splendored Thing?" Blech!

Bernie

PS: Does anyone else thing Barry looks like he's made on wax on the CD cover shot?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'd be shocked if BM hasn't had at least 4-5 plastic surgeries/face lifts, etc., over the years.

My guess regarding who wants to hear cheesy oldies regurgitated.....I'm guessing it's the crowd that watches "American Idol" religiously and enjoys it.....those who continue to watch it past the early rounds (when it's still possible to get one's kicks watching the really, really atrocious "singers").....

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've never been defensive about liking Manilow-though I know the rock press thinks he's uncool.Remember that same press always preferred Raspberries music to Eric music and could be really cynical about Eric's post-Raspberries stuff.Having said that-the new Manilow album features a REALLY heinous rock and roll critic's taboo.Many white artists in the 50's covered singles by black artists-usually in an inferior manner- and had the big hit.("Little Darlin'"-by the Diamonds-anyone?) Barry does "Sincerely" with Phyllis McGuire ,girlfriend of mobster Sam Giancana,and lead singer of the McGuire Sisters, whose version of the Moonglows' vastly superior "Sincerely"-was a prime example of the "whitewashing" of early rock.So for all of you who hate the concept of this album-here's another reason to hate it.I refuse to register my opinion of this cd for fear of being banished by Bernie.-Ira.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Okay, Ira. I'll play the "Manilow" game. He's had his share of hits but I find most of his songs have a bit too much "ick" factor, although I'll be the first to admit that "Mandy" is a great ballad. I also always thought it funny that he *didn't* write his #1 hit, "I Write The Songs."

Bernie

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I saw Manilow on "The Tony Danza Show" this week --- I was struck by how much he worships Clive Davis (attributing his career success to Davis). The way Manilow described it (going back to the recording of "Mandy"), Davis would bring him songs and then, without knowing how to describe how he wanted Manilow to play the tunes (but knowing "in his head how he wanted them to sound"), he would have Manilow play the tune different ways until he heard it the way he (Davis) heard it in his head.

If you read Bernie and Ken's "Eric Carmen: Marathon Man" book (available on this site), you can see that Davis tried to do the same thing with Eric's career and get Eric to record other people's songs. It must have been tough to refuse to record tunes chosen by Davis (considering that Davis had 18 consecutive Top 40 singles with Manilow in 1974-1980), but I'm glad Eric stood his ground on that issue.

If you want to hear a good power pop recording, the original version of "Can't Smile Without You" by the act Vance Or Towers (I admit, not much of a name for an act) was great. Unfortunately, their A&M single (which got airplay but didn't chart) and self-titled album on A&M Records in 1975 both bombed and the group disappeared.

The Carpenters (another A&M Records act) covered the tune on an album in 1976 and in 1978 Manilow covered the tune for a million-selling Top 10 Pop single --- such is fate... but if you can hear the original version of "Can't Smile Without You," it's worth seeking out.

Don smile

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Rod Stewart's take on the oldies isn't bad - it seems the songs were chosen wisely. Having seen little of Barry on the tv circuit, I'm not sure I can say the same for him.

In defense of Barry - he has always been very gracious to his fans (e.g., going to the nosebleed seats to thank people). I saw him at Radio City Music Hall too many years ago (we went out of respect for our freshman yr at college where you couldn't escape his tunes).

He selected a young fan from the audience, and serenaded her. Her reaction was priceless: enthused, giddy, and screaming in a non-offending way. A short time later after she sat down, Barry handed to her a videotape - without anyone knowing, he had the serenade taped for her to keep. I thought that was a wonderful, thoughtful touch - and I often remember that thankless act when I see him resurfacing.

Anne

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Manilow rocks! :-)

Though not a prolific writer, he is still the King of piano based pop ballads,..all of the following are GREAT songs IMHO:

Mandy, Even Now, Tryin To Get The Feelin, Ships, When I Wanted You, Weekend In New England, Somewhere In The Night, Looks Like We Made It.

Jeepers,.. I LOVE Rush AND like Manilow..what's wrong with me? confused

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think he put out that press release that he severely broke his nose a couple years back, so he could get some private time off to do the other plastic surgery work.

But when did Barry EVER score points or record sales with his looks? It's the voice and the sappy romantic ballad!...except maybe with Darlene, who thinks even Ringo is sexy...

What's Darlene's all time sexiest movie scene ever?

The bar scene in the original "Star Wars" wink

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My name is Susana and I revel in my Manilow geekiness.

There - now that we've established that fact, on to the rest of my post.

I have been a fan of his since early on his recording career and saw him for the first of many times at about the time "It's a Miracle" was a hit. While he has appeared to be rather reserved in comparison to what he projects on stage, he also appeared to try and be responsive to people, even when the legion of fans was growing so large, it seemed impossible for someone with that demeanor to cope with it. Anne, you hit the nail on the head about him being thoughtful towards his fans. The first time I saw him I took with me both the white cover (original) version of "Barry Manilow" (the reissue was titled "Barry Manilow I") and "Barry Manilow II". As it turned out I was staying at the same hotel he was and I ran into him going back inside after the shows. He was gracious enough to speak with me for a few minutes and sign both album covers - this after flying into town following a gig the night before, doing a full sound check and then performing two shows at an amphitheatre.

While there is much to be said for performers who stick to certain principles of musicality, there is also something to be said for knowing what one's strengths are and endeavoring to maximize what is done with them. Manilow's success can largely be attributed to a gift for knowing what is strong commercially, and thus, will sell. Look at the jingles he has been involved with and we still know instantly today when we hear them: "I Am Stuck on Band-Aids", "Like a Good Neighbor State Farm is There", "You Deserve a Break Today..." and many more. That part of his resume reads like a "Who's Who".

As for the music aside from that, the man does have talent enough to be an accompanist, band leader and record producer. (Can anyone say "Bette Midler"?) You can't fake your way through those type of gigs for as long as he played them.

Yes, he played songs written by others, but he also wrote or co-wrote many of his memorable songs. In addition to knowing the sounds that sell, he also does a heck of a job pouring himself into the deeper songs. Good examples of the latter are "Sandra" and "Lay Me Down". A live version of "Trying to Get the Feeling" runs circles around the recorded version and once again, the audience is left feeling as drained as he looked while performing it.

And then we have "Could It Be Magic". Anyone who has had the pleasure of hearing it on the "white cover album" I mentioned earlier knows how beautiful that song can be. The revised version on "Barry Manilow I" and the shortened single version don't do it justice. That song predates "All By Myself" and they follow a similar path: pianist takes a favorite classical piece and crafts an extended pop ballad around it. Hmmm....and Clive Davis was all about signing Eric....hmmm.... Now before anyone has a screaming meemie attack on me, I am not implying in any way, shape or form that a) Clive Davis "told" Eric to write "ABM" or B) that Eric "ripped off" a concept from Manilow. Merely making an observation...but now that I think about it, giving the fact we are sitting here talking about Manilow, there could be someone somewhere on a Manilow message board saying those very things! eek

But that brings us back to the business side of this. The mixing that overemphasized certain things in "Magic" and those darn modulations that seem to happen in almost every ballad are what made them popular to the masses. And I bet chances are we would rather have that type of "music" in the "music business" rather than the schlock (trying to keep the language clean!) we have today in the form of Britney Spears, Jessica Simpson and those ever-present boy bands. At least there was some true music in Manilow's biggest hits.

Bob, good point about the "guilty pleasure". I think that's how I look at a lot of the Manilow songs I like. Will I buy this latest album? Doubtful. Does the idea of it even appeal to me? No. But he does have a fan base who will like it very much and my money's on the fact that it hit the right nerve with a considerable number of other people or it wouldn't have debuted at #1.

Stepping off of my soapbox now, for a breather.

susana

P.S. Bernie - did you ever hear Captain and Tennille's version of "I Write the Songs"? Was released prior to Manilow's (on their first album) and for the life of me, I never knew why they didn't release it...then it was plucked for Barry and the rest is history, for what it's worth. smile

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Susana,

Thanks for the info. I remember loving Could It Be Magic in its long form but can't remember if I heard the white version you are refering to.I'd love to hear it. I loved most of his hits (except Copacabana and I Write the Songs). I saw him at an Arista concert that Eric was supposed to perform in also but didn't. They announced at the show that the truck carrying his equipment never arrived. ahem. I was disappointed big time. On that same bill was Mellissa Manchester, Patti Smith and some other early Arista artists.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Restore formatting

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

×
×
  • Create New...