The Greatest Songs of the Seventies (Deluxe Edition) – Barry Manilow (2007)

February 28, 2008


I became aware of Barry Manilow’s cover sets late in the game after seeing his Sixties compilation being advertised on TV. Then when I saw this particular Seventies CD being advertised late last year I made a mental note to check out the series, which also includes a disc of cover tunes of the Fifties.

Once I got in the store, after looking at all three set lists, I decided on the most recent collection of Seventies music – basically because it contained many of Barry’s own songs as part of the CD and on a second bonus disc as well. I did not have much of any Manilow in my extensive music collection so I made the purchase. This set, with the extra Bonus Disc, was called the “Deluxe Set”.

I apparently based my selection on the right criteria, because the covers were pretty blah to me. All of the songs selected were great but, as Simon Cowell might say, “they almost bordered on karaoke!” ;-).

What makes the purchase worth while is the acoustic versions Barry did of his own songs from the Seventies. I find them, far better then the pop originals. (Guess you can tell I was never a big Manilow fan). Anyway, the acoustic versions are pretty laid back — almost smooth jazzy and far from the, sometimes corny, pop versions Mr. Manilow released “back in the day”. In fact it might have been better if the entire project for the Seventies was all “Acoustic Manilow”. Mr. Clive Davis is on the verge of becoming a “one-trick pony” having his mature artists constantly doing GAS and/or Oldies covers. Change is good for the soul and for sales Mr. Davis.

Disc 1 – Track Listing

1. The Way We Were – 1974 original performance by Barbara Streisand

2. My Eyes Adored You – 1975 original performance by Frankie Valli

3. Bridge Over Troubled Water – 1970 original performance by Simon & Garfunkel

4. How Can You Mend a Broken Heart – 1971 original performance by the Bee-Gees. IMHO the best cover of this song is by Al Green! No one has ever performed it better!

5. It Never Rains in Southern California – 1972 original performance by Albert Hammond

6. You’ve Got A Friend (duet with Melissa Manchester) – 1971 original performance by Carole King

7. He Ain’t Heavy He’s My Brother – 1970 original performance by The Hollies. Liner notes say 1970 but this song was released in 1969. Hmm.

8. Sailing -1979 original performance by Christopher Cross. Another great award winning song. I actually like Barry’s voice doing this almost better than Christopher Cross.

Sailing – Barry Manilow (2007)

9. The Long and Winding Road – 1970 original performance by The Beatles

10. (They Long To Be) Close to You – 1970 original performance by The Carpenters. But my all-time favorite cover of this song is by Bobby Womack. If you haven’t heard it – it is the funkiest and most soulful version ever! But here’s Barry’s cover. It is about the best cover of the 12 songs selected IMHO.

(They Long To Be) Close To You – Barry Manilow (2007)

11. If – 1971 original performance by Bread

12. Sorry Seems to be the Hardest Word – 1976 original performance by Sir Elton John

Acoustic Manilow

13. Mandy – Manilow’s original performance was in 1974.

14. Weekend in New England – Manilow’s original performance was in 1977.

15. Copacabana(At The Copa) – Manilow’s original performance was in 1978. I think that this is the best track of the entire project! The arrangement is fierce! The Spanish guitar playing is exquisite!

Copacabana (At The Copa) Acoustic – Barry Manilow (2007)

16. Even Now – Manilow’s original performance was in 1978

17. Looks Like We Made It – Manilow’s original performance was in 1977

18. I Write the Songs – Manilow’s original performance was in 1975

150-px-more-acoustic-manilow.jpgDual Disc 2 – CD Audio Side Bonus Tracks

1. Somewhere In The Night – Manilow’s original performance was in 1978

2. Can’t Smile Without You – Manilow’s original performance was 1978. There is no way to listen to this without singing along and tapping your feet and swaying along to the music. It is such a great feel-good song.

Can’t Smile Without You Acoustic – Barry Manilow (2007)

3. This One’s For You – Manilow’s original performance was in 1976. Nice arrangement on this one and excellent piano and horn parts.

This One’s For You Acoustic – Barry Manilow (2007)

4. Could It Be Magic (1993 Trevor Horn Dance Mix). Very nice mix.

Dual Disc 2 – DVD Side

1. “Greatest Songs of the Seventies” – Video. Manilow, born Barry Alan Pincus, talks about the making of this project. Pretty interesting stuff.

Apparently Barry Manilow has legions of fans and his official internet presence bears it out. Just some of the links you can check out include:

I am so honored that you stopped by to visit. Hope you return soon.



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