It’s funny that Barry Manilow is known as a singer/songwriter. Because his most of his hits have been written by other people, including his 3 #1 hits. I Write The Songs? No, Bruce Johnston of the Beach Boys wrote that. Barry only sang the songs that made most of the world, at least in the late 70s, sing. In fact in took a while for even that to happen.
Barry had recorded and released his first LP in 1973 with not much fanfare. Then in 1974 he released Barry Manilow II and still not much happened until the record company released Barry’s cover of an obscure Scott English tune called Brandy. Not wanting to confuse folks and think he covered the former Looking Glass #1, he changed it to Mandy and had his own #1. And millions of expecting parents had a new name for their daughter.
Barry definitely had a knack for finding the odd song or unknown songwriter and helping them with a royalty check or two. But he also did write some good ones himself. My favorite has always been It’s A Miracle . (for the record, 9 years later, Culture Club did not change their song to It’s a Biracle. That was a Barry thing.) It’s a not a ballad, so that’s a good start. (Personally I think we all got tired of those over the top, key change, reverb-to-the-max snare hit slow songs he started to churn out.) It’s a about as rocking as he would get but it also has a nice Philly Soul vibe to it. In fact I could totally see The Spinners doing it in concert. And it’s a great tune to do live, cause he can name check your specific town, as the town between Boston & Denver. Of course the song is about life on the road playing to folks like yourselves sucks. But hey don’t let that spoil your evening. The miracle is you!
Dig that sparkly purple sweater and how much Lady Flash is getting into it…
Here’s a version Barry did with Ray Charles on his second TV special in 1977: