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The Essential Barry Manilow

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Album Review

With the surplus of recent Barry Manilow greatest-hits compilations and previously issued anthologies, the choice to find the definitive survey of Manilow's works can be a chore for those with only a mild interest in the pop star's career. The recent success of 2002's outstanding Ultimate Manilow compilation warranted Arista to expand and reissue the anthology on two discs, providing a more definitive and thorough look at the crooner's catalog. Presented here in chronological order are 34 tracks, many of which were major chart-topping hits, with over half of them reaching the upper echelon of the pop charts during their heyday. The inclusion of various songs left off Ultimate Manilow ("Jump Shout Boogie" and "New York City Rhythm" being the two most obvious) will appease die-hard fans who felt slighted by their omission. Most loyalists will already have these hits either via the three greatest-hits compilations issued in the late '80s and '90s or Ultimate Manilow, but casual fans wanting a definitive anthology of his works will be well served by this, as it's most likely the only Manilow anthology they'll ever need.


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 Essential Barry Manilow, Barry Manilow
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