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Articles Home » 1974 Articles » Manilow, Barry - 1974 II
Manilow, Barry - 1974 II

ARTIST: Barry Manilow
ALBUM: Barry Manilow II
LABEL: Arista Records
SERIAL: 4016
YEAR: 1974
CD REISSUE: 2006, Arista, 82876-81237-2


LINEUP: Barry Manilow - vocals, piano * Stuart Scharf, Dickie Frank, Charlie Brown, John Barranco, Bob Mann, Sam Brown - guitars * Jon Stroll - electric piano, clavinet * Will Lee, Russell George - bass * Jimmy Young, Bill Lavorgna, Christopher Parker - drums * Norman Pride - congas * Lee Gurst - percussion * Artie Kaplan, Stan Schwartz - saxophone * Charlotte Crossley, Robin Grean, Sharon Red, Ron Dante - background vocals

TRACK LISTING: 01 I Want To Be Somebody's Baby * 02 Early Morning Strangers * 03 Mandy * 04 The Two Of Us * 05 Something's Comin' Up * 06 It's A Miracle * 07 Avenue C * 08 My Baby Loves Me * 09 Sandra * 10 Home Again


There was a time when admitting you liked Barry Manilow was certain death for anyone's musical credibility. After all, in the 1970's he was a supreme balladeer loved by housewives from coast to coast that rarely left the top of the charts, the anti-Christ in most hard rockers minds, and oh yeah there was that gay bath house past.. Ok, lets try to be clear historically. Manilow cut his teeth live as keyboard player for the up and coming Bette Midler, even producing her second album. Dating one of the New York Dolls who were the cats meow in the Gay underground, Midler decided with Manilow in tow, to tour the same establishments that created such a buzz for the Dolls. A gig is a gig and an audience is an audience I guess. End of story, but it's something that has continued to stick with Manilow which is unfortunate and short-sighted to be honest. Talented to the max and with Clive Davis shadowing his career, no one could touch Barry in the 70's and we can all hum at least one Manilow tune right?

The Songs
Produced by Ron Dante best known as the vocalist behind 'Sugar, Sugar' and other hits for The Archies, Manilow's second album is a tour-de-force of singer/songwriter pop 70's style. I have always loved Barry's vocal style and his arrangements are without fault. The opening three tracks, in particular the sultry 'Early Morning Strangers' and the smash single 'Mandy'. One of the most beautiful ballads of the decade, it was presented to Manilow by Clive Davis as 'Brandy' with the title changed due to the Looking Glass hit of the same name. This song can still bring tears to my eyes I am not afraid to say. Simply gorgeous and this was Manilow's gift - bringing passion and emotion to songs that would be mere pap on anyone else's records. The other tune worthy of mention, although they are all varied and good, is the second single 'It's A Miracle'. A driving rock song and a killer hook, thirty four years later it still sounds fresh and vibrant as the day it was recorded.

In Summary
Manilow's best album (I think) would follow with 1975's 'Tryin' To Get The Feelin', but this album is a fine place to start as well his debut which contained the hit 'Could It Be Magic'. Yeah, Manilow's music will not do the same for you as an AOR favourite or hard rock classic, but it has its place and when it comes to soft rock, few do it better than Barry Manilow.

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#1 | jeffduran on April 02 2008 18:28:34
Great review Eric! Glad to see ole wide eyes himself gets some respect here at the great Glory-Daze. There actually is an AOR favorite Manilow release and it's 1982's 'Here Comes The Night' (Review Coming!)
#2 | Eric on April 02 2008 18:31:24
Thanks Jeff and looking forward to your coverage too.Thumbs Up
#3 | jeffrey343 on September 09 2016 17:55:04
I have to admit that Manilow is a guilty pleasure of mine too. I mainly listen to a couple of his greatest hits albums, usually when I'm at work and need something on the mellow side, but I'll occasionally stream one of his other albums. 'Tryin' To Get The Feeling' is the first of his albums I bought (actually my parents got it for me, as I was 9). And one of my metalhead fraternity brothers in college was a huge fan. He got a lot of grief, but I admired how he was cool with it. Interesting seeing Manilow next to Metallica in his collection...
#4 | gdazegod on September 11 2016 03:40:18
Usually if I want to listen something bit laid back, I'll go for Pablo Cruise or Steely Dan. Reminds me of my junior High School years.
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