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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.

Customer Reviews

Very good compilation for the casual to moderate "Fanilow"

This includes the single version of "Daybreak" as well as the single edit of "Could It Be Magic" which are great, and it's fairly comprehensive. I wish this included "All The Time" and "Run To Me", the latter of which was a big hit on Adult Contemporary radio in 1985 and is a simply exquisite cover of the Bee Gees original (Barry duets with Dionne Warwick and their voices soar to the listener's delight and amazement) and the single edit of "Copacabana" instead of the extended version. Otherwise, a very good set and an added bonus that the tracks are in chronological order.

The Essential Barry

Everything one would want vintage Barry is here, this two disc set is jammed with hits and to make things interesting instead of another hit rehash, live versions of hits along with long forgotton single edits are in place of the well-known releases. "Read 'em And Weep" is an alternate take and "I'm Your Man" from Barry's one-off R.C.A. "Manilow" is the rare 12" club version which in my opinion is the better version, the album itself is now available here, it predates "Swing Street" by two years but the techno-pop style the permeated "Manilow" would remain but renamed "Techno-Swing." This cd is presented chronologically, this might date the overall sound a bit but presented this way you can hear the growth. This set concludes with Barry's "Summer of '78" cd with the single version of "I'd Really Love To See You Tonight," the single version is upbeat while the cd (album) version is slower. Overall this set is a nice index of Barry's hits.

A great love song for your special someone.

"Can't Smile Without You" was sung during Hellboy II. That alone is an reason to download this song. Enjoy.


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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