Apr 5, 2017

I Spent My High School Years with Barry Manilow

Speaking of singers that you couldn't avoid hearing during the 1970s, I spent my entire three years at Rocky High and most of my four years at Augustana College  running in the other direction while Barry Manilow's syrupy love! love! love! love! crooning spewed forth from transistor radios, car radios, the p.a. at school, record stores, tv...but there was no escape.

Ninth Grade:
"Mandy": I remember all my life, raining down as cold as ice, sending Mandy away.

Well, he got that right -- all my life, I've remembered that song, no matter how much I don't want to.

"It's a Miracle": It's a miracle, a true-blue spectacle, that he is in love.

At least he's over his relationship with Mandy.

"Could it be Magic": baby take me, high upon a hillside, high up where the stallion meets the sun...come, come, come into my... 

This is the first song I heard that I knew was about having sex, although I wouldn't be asking anyone to come, come, come into my....for a few years.


Tenth Grade:
"I Write the Songs": I write the songs that make the young girl cry...I am music, and I write the songs...

Barry Manilow is music?  Rather full of himself, isn't he?

"Trying to Get That Feeling Again": he sees a doctor to get a pill, because he's gone up, down,all around,  trying to get that feeling again. 

You just need to relax, Barry.  It can be tiring going...um....up, down all around.

"This One's for You": This one will never sell, they'll never understand, I don't even sing it well.

He's got that right.  The song won't sell, he doesn't sing it well.




Eleventh Grade:
"Weekend in New England." Last night I waved goodbye, now it seems years -- I'm back in the city, where nothing is clear.  

I'd rather be in the city than stuck in a small factory town in the Midwest.

"Looks Like We Made It": Do you love him as much as I love her, and will that love be strong when the old feelings stir?  

Barry is talking to someone in love with a man about how much he loves a woman.  I can't figure out what's going on.




Twelfth Grade: 
"Daybreak" It's daybreak if you want to believe, it's daybreak, no time to grieve. 

Repeat 38 times. Don't try to figure out what it means. I hav no idea.

"Can't Smile without You": can't laugh, can't sing, finding it hard to do anything.  

So that's why his singing is so bad -- he's broken up with someone!   Quick, get back together!

"Even Now": Even now I think about you when I'm climbing the stairs, and I wonder what to do so she won't see.  

You still thinking about Mandy?  It's been four years!



"Copacabana": this one has a plot, about a showgirl with two boyfriends who shoot each other, so she goes crazy, and continues to come to the Copa, even though thirty years have passed and it's now a disco.  Sort of a Miss Haversham thing.  Cool.

When I was in college, his new songs started moving down the Top 40 charts.






Freshman:
"Somewhere in the Night": You're my song, music too magic to end.  

Wait, I thought Barry was music, and wrote the songs? So how can somebody else be music?

"Ships": We're just out of sight, like two ships that pass in the night. 

He's saying this to his father as they walk along the beach?  Seems weirdly romantic.

Sophomore:
"I Don't Want to Walk Without You."

We already know that Barry can't smile, laugh, or sing without you, so walking is a logical extension.

"Bermuda Triangle."  It's a region where planes disappear and weird things happen.  So Barry sings about losing his girlfriend in the Bermuda Triangle, except he means she got stolen away by another guy.



Junior:

"I Made it through the Rain." And I found myself respected by others who -- got rained on, too.  

At Augustana, we didn't say "I got rained on" to refer to people taking advantage of you.  We had an earthier expression.

I don't remember hearing any more Barry Manilow songs after that, but apparently he's been releasing an album every couple of years: Greatest Hits, Greatest Hits of All Time, A Swinging Christmas, Barry Manilow Sings Sinatra, Night Songs, Duets, The Essential Barry Manilow.  And performing live.  And not using the word "gay."




Oh, didn't I mention it?  He sang about ladies, but he never was seen on the arm of a lady. Everyone assumed that he was gay, but he never said anything, for fear that his fans were homophobic.

He finally came out in April 2017 at the age of 73, having been with his partner, Gary Keif, for 39 years, and married to him since 2014 (not pictured; this is just a random muscle hunk walking along the beach with him).

See also 12 Songs I Hated.


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