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One Voice

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Album Review

One Voice, Barry Manilow's sixth studio album of new material, marked a decline in his commercial fortunes despite being a considerable hit. It reached the Top Ten and went platinum, while his previous five releases (including a live album and a greatest-hits collection) had all gone multi-platinum. But this commercial disappointment (which would not be reversed) did not reflect any fall-off in musical quality; One Voice was another well-constructed collection that balanced songs composed by Manilow and his various regular lyric partners (Bruce Sussman and Jack Feldman, Adrienne Anderson, Marty Panzer, and Enoch Anderson) with outside material suggested by Arista Records President Clive Davis in a two-for-one ratio. (If you include "They Gave in to the Blues," the non-LP B-side added to the 1998 reissue of the album, there were 12 songs, eight written by Manilow & co., four brought in by Davis.) As usual, Davis' selections held sway when it came to singles. All three of the 45's issued from the album — "Ships," "When I Wanted You," and "I Don't Want to Walk Without You" — were covers. (And if there had been a fourth, no doubt it would have been the melancholy ballad "Where Are They Now," co-written by Richard Kerr, author of the Manilow hits "Mandy" and "Looks Like We Made It," and John Bettis, Richard Carpenter's lyricist.) The most successful of these on the Hot 100 was "Ships," a song Davis found on ex-Mott the Hoople leader Ian Hunter's solo album You're Never Alone With a Schizophrenic. This ballad about the distance between fathers and sons did not resonate with Manilow, who had lost his father as an infant. (When he put the song on his box set The Complete Collection and Then Some..., he used a live take, confessing that he only got into the song after performing it in concert.) But he gave it the kind of arrangement meant to make it the "Mandy" of the collection, and so it became, more or less. He felt a greater affinity for the 1942 Jule Styne-Frank Loesser standard "I Don't Want to Walk Without You," which he performed frequently despite its relative low placing at number 36, and indeed his original "(Why Don't We Try) A Slow Dance" was his own approximation of the style. That song began with a disco arrangement broken by a piano riff to indicate the composer's true sentiments, but he still bowed to the current fad with "Who's Been Sleeping in My Bed" and the dance-rock paean to a prostitute, "Bobbie Lee (What's the Difference, I Gotta Live)." These indifferently performed numbers were only included to break up the ballads with up-tempo tracks, however. Manilow clearly placed the greatest store by the lead-off title song, a choral work with vaguely anthemic lyrics he wrote himself in a dream. But that kind of overblown fluff wasn't what put the food on his table. The sales drop-off suggested that Manilow's time was passing and he might have been well advised to try something different next time out. He didn't, though. [One Voice was reissued with remastered sound in 2006 and sported four extra tracks including never before released demos for "Learning to Live Without You", "Where I Want to Be" and "I Let Myself Believe".]

Customer Reviews

Why is there a song missing?

The song I wanted to buy (Sunday Father, song 11) is missing from the album!!!!! Why?

This Is A Favorite

I loved this album when it came out despite Barry's decline. Barry was coasting a bit on this album but the songs are amazing and this remastered version is the best, this was one of the 1996 24-bit remasters but like "Tryin' To Get The Feeling Again" the overall sound was muted, this cd was again released in 2006 with added bonus tracks and corrected sonic levels, the song "Sunday Father And Son" is missing from iTunes song lineup. This album as a whole really became more of a fan favorite than a commercial success but that doesn't deter this collection from being an overall great album. "One Voice" came to Barry in a dream, in a daze from r.e.m. stage sleep he scribbled down the melody in the middle of the night and awoke to the composition wondering how it came to be and wrote the lyric later. This song features Barry doing his stacked vocal, "Why Don't We Try A Slow Dance" starts with a disco coda then fades to a doo-wop type of arrangement again with Barry overdubbing the background vocals, "Rain" is a rather introspective song with a disco backbeat, "Ships" is an amazing song featuring a huge climax and was a hit, Barry again pays tribute to the Big Band era with the World War II standard "I Don't Want To Walk Without You" and is a fan favorite, "Who's Been Sleeping In My Bed" is straight-up disco questioning fidelity, "Where Are They Now" is reflection of people and friends gone by, "When I Wanted You" is a huge, huge ballad where Barry is in full voice all the way through and displays his amazing vocal strength, "They Gave In To The Blues" is a bonus track first issued in 1996. Barry may have been slipping a bit and he may have been aware of it but that did nothing from making this album a great release.

Well now i know...

well now i know where daft punk got the sample for their song Superheroes from their album Discovery. They sampled the song Who's Been Sleeping In My Bed? .i like this song now. pretty catchy.


Born: June 17, 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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