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Thread: Barry Manilow - 15 Minutes

  1. #1
    Grumpy Old Man Music Head's Avatar
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    Aug 2009
    Lancaster, Kentucky, United States

    Default Barry Manilow - 15 Minutes

    and I actually had high hopes
    Barry proving you can't go home again
    first album of new material in 10 years
    note to Barry: housewifes didn't love you for guitars and rock.
    piano, strings and ballads Barry
    I guess I was wrong. Barry should be redoing the old standards
    I did like 3 songs, the rest are throw aways

    Grade 1.4

    released June 14th, 2011

    from the album - Bring On Tomorrow - 2.0

    from all music


    In terms of both record sales and career longevity, Barry Manilow is one of the most successful adult contemporary singers ever. That success hasn't necessarily translated to respect (or even ironic hipster appreciation) in most quarters; Manilow's music has been much maligned by critics and listeners alike, particularly the romantic ballads that made his career, which were derided as maudlin schlock even during his heyday. It's true that Manilow's taste for swelling choruses and lush arrangements often bordered on bombastic, but unlike many of his MOR peers, Manilow wasn't aiming to make smooth, restrained background music -- he conceived of himself as a pop entertainer and all-around showman in the classic mold, and his performances and stage shows were accordingly theatrical.

    Manilow dominated pop music during the latter half of the '70s like few other performers, spinning off a long series of hit singles (including 13 number one hits on the adult contemporary charts) and platinum albums that essentially made the Arista label. The well began to run dry by the early '80s; no longer a superstar expected to deliver blockbuster hits, Manilow was free to explore his long-held taste for swing, pop standards, and Broadway show tunes, which dominated his albums from the mid-'80s on. He has continued to record steadily, and his popularity never completely eroded, as evidenced by the number three chart debut of his 2002 greatest-hits package, Ultimate Manilow, and the number one peak of his 2006 covers album, Greatest Songs of the Fifties.

    Barry Manilow was born Barry Alan Pincus on June 17, 1943, in Brooklyn, and grew up in its low-income Williamsburg section. His father left the family when Barry was two, and he eventually adopted his mother's maiden name of Manilow. He began playing piano and accordion at age seven, and following high school, he was accepted to the prestigious Juilliard School of Music, which he paid for by working in the CBS mail room. From there, he became musical director of the CBS show Callback, and supported himself for the next few years by writing, producing, and performing advertising jingles (including high-profile campaigns for State Farm, Dr. Pepper, McDonald's, Kentucky Fried Chicken, and more).

    In 1971, he met Bette Midler, who hired him as her pianist, arranger, and musical director; he served as her accompanist on her legendary pre-fame tour of New York City's gay bathhouses, masterminded her first two albums (1972's The Divine Miss M and its self-titled follow-up), and debuted some of his original material at her Carnegie Hall show in the summer of 1972. Thanks to his gig with Midler, Manilow was able to land a record deal of his own with the fledgling Bell label, and his debut album, Barry Manilow I, was released in 1973. It didn't sell very well, and when Bell became Arista, label head Clive Davis asked Manilow to record a pop tune called "Brandy," which had been a U.K. hit for its co-writer, Scott English. Manilow changed the song into a ballad and changed the title to "Mandy" (to avoid confusion with the Looking Glass hit "Brandy [You're a Fine Girl]"); released on 1974's Barry Manilow II, "Mandy" became a number one hit early the next year. The Broadway-esque follow-up, "It's a Miracle," hit the Top 20, and a re-release of the Chopin-adapted ballad "Could It Be Magic" (from the first album) hit the Top Ten.

    With his career thus established, Manilow recorded an even stronger follow-up album in 1975's Tryin' to Get the Feeling. "I Write the Songs" (ironically, written by Beach Boys sideman Bruce Johnston) became his second number one pop hit in early 1976, and with the title track also hitting the Top Ten, the album went triple platinum. Manilow consolidated his emerging stardom with This One's for You, released toward the end of the year; it produced hits in the title track, the Top Ten "Weekend in New England," and the number one "Looks Like We Made It." In 1977, Manilow released the concert double-LP Live, which became his first and only number one album, as well as his biggest hit with sales of over four million copies. The same year, he won an Emmy for his first prime-time special on ABC (aptly titled The Barry Manilow Special); the network would air Manilow specials for the next several years. Even Now was another triple-platinum success in 1978; "Can't Smile Without You," the disco-tinged "Copacabana," and "Somewhere in the Night" all hit the Top Ten, with the first two marking a departure from Manilow's typical reliance on ballads for his hits.

    The first signs that Manilow's run of success was in jeopardy came on 1979's One Voice, which -- although it sold well and produced a Top Ten hit in an unlikely cover of former Mott the Hoople frontman Ian Hunter's "Ships" -- didn't have the same consistency of craftsmanship as its predecessors. Released in 1980, Barry spawned Manilow's last Top Ten hit, "I Made It Through the Rain"; though he remained a massively popular international touring act, and continued to place hits on the adult contemporary charts for a few more years, the prime of his pop success was over. In 1984, Manilow officially changed direction, recording an album of swinging, jazzy originals called 2:00 A.M. Paradise Café; it featured jazz greats like Mel Tormé, Sarah Vaughan, Shelly Manne, and Gerry Mulligan. Subsequent ventures like 1987's Swing Street, 1991's Showstoppers, 1994's Singin' with the Big Bands, and 1998's Manilow Sings Sinatra all explored various facets of swing, vocal jazz, and traditional pop. In addition, Manilow's stage musical Barry Manilow's Copacabana: The Musical premiered in 1994, and continued to tour the U.S. and U.K.; another musical, Harmony, was premiered in 1999.

    Manilow's long relationship with Arista ended when he signed to the jazz-oriented Concord label, for which he debuted in late 2001 with the concept album Here at the Mayflower, which continued his evolution into a pre-rock pop stylist. Manilow began to reenter the wider public eye in 2002, performing "Let Freedom Ring" at the Super Bowl pre-game show; aided by television advertising, Ultimate Manilow entered the album charts at a stunning number three position that March. A DVD release of the collection followed, as well as a two-disc set of live music called 2 Nights Live that had been culled from a weekend in New Jersey. Manilow went back to the studio in 2005 to record a diverse collection of tracks from the 1950s with producer and music mogul Clive Davis. The resulting Greatest Songs of the Fifties, a labor of love, became a surprise hit and topped the charts in early 2006. A sequel, The Greatest Songs of the Sixties, arrived at the end of that year and reached number two, which paved the inevitable way for The Greatest Songs of the Seventies in 2007 and The Greatest Songs of the Eighties in 2008. A holiday album, In the Swing of Christmas, appeared in 2007, and updated with a pair of bonus tracks, was re-released under the same title in 2009. Manilow next teamed with producer Michael Lloyd for 2010's The Greatest Love Songs of All Time.

    Album Review

    Like Here at the Mayflower before it, 15 Minutes -- Barry Manilow’s first collection of original pop tunes since that 2001 record -- is a concept album, this time chronicling the ups and downs of fleeting fame in the 21st century. The concept is modern and, appropriately, so is some of the music on this 16-track collection. Most notably, Manilow not only rides a tightly wound drum loop on “Work the Room,” he also raps, a development nearly as disconcerting as the cuss he slips into its chorus. So, don’t let it be said that Manilow shies away from risks on 15 Minutes, but he’s still Barry, and he still favors sharp songcraft and melodies so ingratiating they unwittingly worm their way into the subconscious. Nevertheless, ballads take a back seat to sprightly pop throughout 15 Minutes and he comes up with some of his liveliest numbers in years here, highlighted by the Sedaka-esque bounce of “Who Needs You” and the slowly escalating “Winner Go Down.” These may be the snappiest songs here, but 15 Minutes offers something unexpected: here, Barry Manilow is trying hard to deliver serious, sharply crafted pop, and even if the album doesn’t entirely work, it’s hard not to give him considerable credit for his ambition, not to mention the couple of cuts where it all clicks.

    Track Listing

    1 15 Minutes
    2 Work the Room
    3 Bring on Tomorrow
    4 Now It's for Real
    5 Wine Song
    6 He's a Star
    7 Written in Stone
    8 Letter from a Fan/So Heavy, So High
    9 Everybody's Leavin'
    10 Who Needs You
    11 Winner Go Down
    12 Slept Through the End of theWorld
    13 Reflection
    14 Trainwreck
    15 15 Minutes (Reprise)
    16 Everything's Gonna Be All Right
    “A man only learns in two ways, one by reading, and the other by association with smarter people.”
    Will Rogers

  2. #2


    i had the displeasure of listening to this album today....think i'll stick with what ive got by Barry

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