Friday, June 17, 2011

Barry Manilow--Could It Be Magic (1975)

     Barry Manilow is 68 today!!

    It's amazing how time changes perspective. In the rock community, Barry Manilow was ridiculed and mocked. I personally liked him, but made sure that my friends didn't know that he took up space in my collection. My personal favorites were the first two albums, but at one time owned the first five (right next to John Denver and The Carpenters...but that's another blog...or two!). Thirty-five years later, I realize that he was not attempting to compete with rock artists, but was carrying on a tradition blazed by artist like Paul Anka, Liberace, and Tony Bennett.

    Before the 80's and the splitting up of sub genres, anything from Manilow to Melissa Manchester (who supposedly was the 'Melissa' in our  song subject today) to Aerosmith to Earth, Wind, and Fire, was all lumped together on the charts. As prone in Classical, Jazz and Folk, this led to a rock music "snobbery" and a constant ridicule of Barry's music. Even today a residual still remains from those who grew up in the era of total “let’s worship at the altar of FM rock.” However a look (and listen) to the Adult Contemporary charts today would suggest that artists like Michael Buble and Clay Aiken carry on the tradition that was kept a flame during the 70's by Manilow.

     As I mentioned before, my favorite albums were the first two before his propensity to modulate keys into swelling choruses got a bit out of hand. "Could It Be Magic" began and ended with an excerpt from  Fredric Chopin's Prelude in C Minor. In fact, the entire song revolved around the piece. Listen to the two albums and then listen to any of the Adult Contemporary artist today and you will see that stylistically it holds up well.


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