I suppose that a number of my contemporaries will be snickering when they read this. After all, in the mid to late 1970's no one was considered less cool and more irrelevant than Barry Manilow. His records were played on the radio ad nauseum and lots of "sophisticated" people dismissed his music as trite. But the fact of the matter is that Barry Manilow and his producer Ron Dante made some of the most enduring pop records of the past 40 years. You might also be surprised to learn that Barry Manilow is a gifted songwriter who had a hand in penning nearly half of the tunes in this fine collection.
Released by Arista Records in 2002, "Ulimate Manilow" is a compilation of Barry Manilow's finest recordings. If you are looking for his biggest hits you will not be disappointed. Every one of Barry's Top Ten hits including "I Write The Songs", "Weekend In New England" "Copacabana" as well as hit #1 debut single "Mandy" can be found in this collection. But there's more including two of my favorites "I Made It Through The Rain" and "Ready To Take A Chance Again" which was the theme song from the 1978 motion picture "Foul Play" that starred Goldie Hawn. It was also fun to hear the bouncy "Bandstand Boogie" once again and "The Old Songs" brought back a lot of happy memories for me as well. Barry Manilow sold lots of albums over the years and as his days as a singles artist began to wane he turned his attention to a number of album projects. Among them was 1984's "2:00 A.M.-Paradise Cafe. Track 19 is taken from that LP. "When October Goes" is a beautiful and haunting song that will send chills up and down your spine. One listen to this track should convince you that Barry Manilow should not be dismissed quite so easily. The truth is that the man is an accomplished singer/songwriter and performer. His recordings and live performances have brought untold joy to countless millions for nearly four decades now. And I am pleased to report that I enjoyed every one of the 20 tunes on this marvelous CD.
"Ultimate Manilow" comes with a nicely done 20 page booklet replete with liner notes and the lyrics to each song. And while the audio quality on the original recordings was quite good, your enjoyment of these tunes is sure to be enhanced by the digital remastering. All in all, this is an excellent collection at an affordable price. Highly recommended.
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Paul Tognetti (drifter51)
I guess I would qualify as a frustrated writer. My work requires very little writing and so since 1999 I have been writing reviews on non-fiction books and anthology CD's on amazon.com. I never could … more
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Recorded between 1973 and 1984. Includes liner notes by David Wild.
Barry Manilow's commercial heyday may have been confined from the mid-'70s to early '80s, but the true testament to his unflagging popularity is the fact that this 2002 ... Full Descriptioncompilation debuted in the Top 5 of Billboard's Top 200 Albums chart. This 20-pack of classic pop features all of the Brooklyn native's big hits starting with the 1974 chart-topper "Mandy" right through to 1982's "Somewhere Down The Road". Anyone who remotely remembers the '70s will feel like they've stepped into a time machine when they hear radio staples like "It's A Miracle", "Looks Like We Made It", "Can't Smile Without You" and "Copacabana (At The Copa)".
Widely recognized for multiple talents that include formidable musical chops, production skills, and song writing, Manilow's genius can be heard in his use of a Chopin prelude in "Could It Be Magic," and in the melancholy "When October Goes," featuring Johnny Mandel lyrics donated by his widow. Manilow's eye for a great song also found him scoring great chart success with songs written by others including Beach Boy Bruce Johnston's "I Write The Songs" and former Mott The Hoople frontman Ian Hunter's "Ships".