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Barry Manilow

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Sherrill chills out to two new releases from Barry Manilow. His new CD 'Greatest Songs of the Sixties' and his new DVD 'First and Farewell'

Barry Manilow - Greatest Songs of the Sixties
Arista/2006

From the age of two Grandpa Joe knew he had talent and nurtured that talent. But the young man had his eye on composing, arranging, and remaining in the background. In the end - although he never got to see it - Grandpa's wishes came true. And to prove Grandpa was right he has won Grammys, Emmys, Tonys, 13 number one singles, 38 top 40 hits, and has been given 27 gold, 15 platinum, three double platinum, and four triple platinum awards. Along the way he has massed over 75 million albums sold internationally over the past 30 years.

On October 31 Songwriter Hall of Fame inductee Barry Manilow released his fifty-ninth international album with "Greatest Songs of the Sixties". The album was the second release for Manilow in less than a year. Selling more copies in one week than he ever has in his career, Manilow's "Greatest Songs of the Sixties" debuted at number two on the Billboard charts. Exactly one month later the album was certified gold by the RIAA. Album sales by Nielson that determine placement on the Billboard charts and RIAA certifications are for the US only. International sales are not tracked on an individual basis.

Manilow's Greatest Hits series brings him back to Arista Records and long time friend Clive Davis. It was Davis who made the original suggestion, but Manilow himself - after seeking many suggestions from friends - who made the final decision for the song list based on what matched his vocal style and voice. From a list of over 100 songs Manilow chose 13 for the album. Songs made popular by The Righteous Brothers and Elvis also appear on the new album as does a duet. This time Manilow sings with the Association on "Cherish/Wendy".

Barry utilized his talents as an arranger on the album and simply by changing an arrangement or the phrasing on a son Manilow takes a song that has been performed countless time by numerous singers and makes it sound fresh and like a new song. Manilow also re-records the Frank Sinatra song "Strangers in the Night". Manilow first recorded the song on the album "Manilow Sings Sinatra" which was recorded shortly after the legendary singer's death. Sinatra once pointed a finger in Manilow's chest and said, "you're next." While the critics have never been kind to Manilow, millions of fans and sold out shows would seem to show that Sinatra knew what he was talking about.

Barry Manilow's "Greatest Songs of the Sixties" is a masterful performance of songs that have stood the test of time. Manilow jokingly remarked that perhaps he should have labeled the album "I've Always Loved that Song" after comments made by friends and fans after hearing the album. Maybe so, but after two Greatest Hits albums Barry Manilow fans will be eagerly awaiting to see what happens next when Manilow may attempt an album of songs from the seventies - the decade where Manilow came to fame and never left. Preview and Purchase This CD Online

Barry Manilow - First and Farewell DVD
Rhino/2006

In conjunction with the album "Greatest Songs of the Sixties" international performer Barry Manilow released a thirtieth anniversary two disc DVD titled "First and Farewell". The DVDs span Manilow's career from his first solo performance to his final tour. Manilow can be seen in Las Vegas on a regular basis and he makes the occasional appearance elsewhere but in 2004 he said good-bye - farewell - to a life of touring and always on the road.

Each DVD opens with a short dialogue from Manilow expressing his thoughts about the disc. In each case the DVD's were taken from tapes never intended to be viewed by anyone but Manilow himself. While the DVD's are far from a portrayal of his private life - they are performances - the tapes were intended for Manilow's private use and collection. "First and Farewell" shows how some things change and other stay the same even after 30 years. 

Disc one - First - was taken from a very early commercial video tape of Barry Manilow as he performs what could be termed as a dress rehearsal in front of an audience as he prepares for his first solo tour. A young and nervous Manilow was far from naïve when it came to putting together a show. In those days he hid behind his piano but he knew how to keep an audience. In 1974 Barry Manilow opened the show with "It's a Miracle". In 2004 and even now in Las Vegas he still opens the show with "It's a Miracle" as if its his statement of his success. As the DVDs show miracles had nothing to do with it. It is Manilow's talents as a writer, performer, and showman that have kept him on the charts and selling out performances for over 30 years. Manilow himself admits that it is not easy being a Barry Manilow fan. "They have to put up with a lot of stuff." But "First and Farewell" shows why fans feel that it's worth it.

In recent years Manilow has been passing on some of his musical knowledge to the next generation of musicians in the form of American Idol tutoring and most recently the pop duo Nemesis. The music world can only benefit from such things; "First and Farewell" shows why, and demonstrates how Barry Manilow has earned the title of Greatest Showman in the World.   Purchase This DVD Online


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