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The Ultimate: Barry Manilow

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Album Review

Sony’s three-disc 2010 set The Music of Barry Manilow is a generous budget-line overview of Manilow’s prime. It is anchored upon Barry’s biggest hits — almost all of which are here, including “Mandy,” “I Write the Songs,” “Copacabana,” “Ships,” “It’s a Miracle,” and “Can’t Smile Without You” — but it digs deeper, offering album tracks and some oddities, including the Showstoppers outtake “Let Freedom Ring” and a duet with Reba McEntire on “Islands in the Stream.” Perhaps this isn’t assembled with the exactitude of a bigger, more expensive box, but at 45 tracks this offers a lot of prime Manilow at a good price.


Born: 17 June 1943 in Brooklyn, NY

Genre: Pop

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

In terms of record sales and career longevity, Barry Manilow is one of the most successful adult contemporary singers ever. That success hasn't necessarily translated to respect (or even ironic hipster appreciation) in most quarters; instead, Manilow's music has been much maligned by critics and listeners alike, particularly the romantic ballads that defined his career, which were derided as maudlin schlock even during his heyday. It's true that Manilow's taste for swelling choruses and lush arrangements...
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The Ultimate: Barry Manilow, Barry Manilow
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