[Dixielandjazz] When October Goes
Mon, 19 Aug 2002 11:40:55 EDT
Mercer's widow gave the found lyrics to Manilow because she felt that his
melodic skills as a songwriter were uniquely equal to the task. Apparently
she noticed, as have I, that Barry Manilow is a great writer, drawing on
influences of OKOM that few other contemporary POP writers have. A careful
listen to Manilow's library of compositions will reveal a depth of emotion
and musical knowledge that you may have missed when he was pumping out
chart-toppers in the late 70's.
Of course, even mentioning Barry Manilow's name in any other context other
than HATE seems to be a ticket to public stoning...and I don't really get it.
But count me as a real APPRECIATOR of his talents. He began as a jingle
writer and has written some of the greatest 'hooks' for commecials ever...
more than most folks realize. He went on to be Bette Midler's musical
director and has to be given a lot of credit for Bette's successful dip into
swing music with her hit of Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy and others in the 70's.
His composition of the theme song for "American Bandstand" is a great blend
of rock and SWING (how many people have done that?) and his songs standout
from his contemporary's as MELODIC. When's the last time you heard a POP
musician known for his MELODIES?
Almost all of his music can be traced back to swing influences. He writes
with complex harmonies most POP tunes haven't been graced with since Henry
Manciini and Burt Bacharach(sp). Although I have no problems with "feel" or
"beat" driven pop tunes, Manilow seems to have been the ONLY guy around
writing tunes that are LIKE the popular music of the 30's 40's and 50's...
yet he was topping the charts with those songs in his heyday (70's and 80's).
Recently, I read that a Greatest Hits CD of his was outselling all other
Adult Contemporary artists only a month or so ago!
If you are not familiar with Barry Manilow's work... give it a listen. (And
particularly from the perspective of OKOM)... you may be pleasantly surprised.