|January 10, 2002 ||Columbus Dispatch||"Weekend work is plenty for Manilow" by Aaron Beck, interview with Barry in promotion of his concerts at the Palace Theatre in Columbus, OH (Jan 10, 11, 12)|
|"As I get older, I don't like to work more than weekends," said Barry Manilow, 55. "I get into a plane, and I head toward wherever I'm going, and I come home. It's the way to tour for me ... There are those who love being out there with their buddies, with their band and their wives and their families and their kids. That is a way of living. Not me: I get into a plane, I do shows, and I go home. And when I'm home I'm always creating the next thing. For me, it's always the next thing."|
His latest "thing" is the pop-jazz concept album Here at the Mayflower... "It's a different kind of album for me," Manilow said from Los Angeles, "because I got to play what I was hearing and I did all my vocals in my studio in the house. I was my own engineer, and I picked my best vocals. I made this album single-handedly. If you don't like this album, you really don't like me."
The "clear idea" for the album struck him one morning in 1982 when he was touring in England. "I've always liked to write about situation and character more so than I've liked to write just a come-back-to-me love song. Writing a pop love song is the hardest thing you can do. There are people who can do it, the Diane Warrens of the world, who crank 'em out, and they're fantastic... To put a blank piece of sheet music on the piano and write a love song really about nothing and hope that the love song is so catchy, whether it's catchy lyrically or melodically, the world will connect with it -- I just find that to be the hardest thing to do. The more fun for me is to come up with an idea for a situation that somebody finds himself in and write about that..."
"I thought Here At The Mayflower might be a little too pop for [Concord executives],'' Manilow said. "I thought they might hear a song like Turn the Radio Up and go, 'What the hell is that?' But they didn't. They loved the songwriting... They loved the work that went into it. They were very encouraging. I'm having a wonderful time with them. I think my instinct to go someplace else was probably right because [Arista] would never have known what to do with me. I'm sure there are these kids over there going: 'Now who the hell is that guy? Now what did he do?' It's a new beginning for me. This album is not your expected album. Neil (Diamond) did make a beautiful-sounding album. Barbra (Streisand) did make a beautiful-sounding Christmas album. But I think they sounded like Neil and Barbra. I like the idea that I kind of shook it up a bit on a brand-new label and a brand-new tour."
Whether the public embraces the album and tour doesn't depend on critics, journalists or publicists, he said. The publicity folk "just sent me a beautiful review from People magazine, who usually kills me." Reviews in which he is "killed" used to make him cringe... Not anymore. "Even the good reviews don't seem to matter. The public usually makes up its own mind. The songs and projects that I've released, they do what they're going to do... When I figured that out, I just wound up wincing at the mean-spiritedness of some of the reviews. You just move on and do what you got to do."
"I always have a new product out there. I don't think I've ever gone out on tour without a new product, something that keeps this thing current to go on the road. I always feel that if I'm going to work hard I'm going to have a current album or book out there that makes it all worthwhile."
|January 8, 2002 ||Entertainment Online and Variety.com||"Ailing Manilow Charms Fans, Converts Skeptics" by Phil Gallo|
|Demonstrating that showmanship can elevate a limited musical spectrum and make familiar tunes work on levels beyond nostalgia, Barry Manilow (Saturday, January 5th) delivered a crisp and humorous evening in which he sincerely broke down the wall between performer and audience, a rarity in staged pop entertainment. Still suffering from the bronchitis that caused the postponement of three shows from last weekend, Manilow hit the vast majority of his notes and even playfully winced when he knew he wasn't up to snuff. He gets bonus points for being such a trouper.|
Manilow neatly divides his show into two hour-long sets, the first dedicated to hits and two numbers from his upcoming Broadway tuner "Harmony," the second featuring numbers from his concept disc "Here at the Mayflower," his first for Concord Jazz after making 28 albums for Arista and two for Bell. First set magnified the Manilow-isms - the raised octave for dramatic effect in the final third of a song, the somber intros, the reflection on relationships gone awry and the desire to restore love - and his polished performance brightened each number even within arrangements that hewed exactly to the recordings. Significantly, he brings the audience into his world by having an audience member join him for a duet on ["Can't Smile Without You"] and having another patron choose a ballad for him to sing. On this night, the repertoire decider insisted on "Weekend in New England" even though it wasn't one of the 12 choices. It ended up as one of the best performances of the night.
The touch he brings to the performance is subtle: "Daybreak," performed early on within a three-song medley, teeters between Frank Sinatra-worthy and Partridge Family outtake; Manilow, sharply attired in several suits, renders it wholly his in a manner that few other performers could. That's what attracted Clive Davis to Manilow - revisionists like to forget he was Arista's first hitmaker - and when Manilow is busy re-creating 1970s radio, rather than positing himself as pre-rock 'n' roll crooner or big band singer, he makes his hits ring with more integrity that others in his class, such Neil Diamond or Billy Joel.
Manilow says "Harmony," his musical about the Comedian Harmonists singing group of 1930s Germany, has its budget nearly secured and he expects a January 2003 Broadway opening. It's interesting to hear those numbers against the songs from "Here at the Mayflower," which are conceived as vignettes about the residents of a New York apartment house. In both cases Manilow expands his musical vocabulary - only "Mayflower's" "Apartment 2H: Turn the Radio Up" truly sounds Manilow-esque...
Broadway, though, is a good venue for Manilow to move into. He has always had strong story-telling instincts and partnered with lyricists who share that ambition. "Copacabana (At the Copa)," a cheesy disco tune in its day that closed the show, is now a breezy reminder of a simpler time and held up against the bestsellers of 1978; it's a forebear of the lively contemporary Broadway show closer. Manilow spoke of his love for the Broadway stage, as well as the fortitude of New Yorkers and his health, and even managed to poke fun at himself when thanking the crowd. "I know it's not easy being a Barry Manilow fan," he said, his honesty making everyone who was dragged to the show see him in a new light.
He's only the third musical performer to hit the Kodak Theater stage. Manilow's voice was amplified with remarkable clarity, as was his piano and the keyboards of musical director Steve Welch, who has this band playing at peak level... The Kodak run was the start of a 30-city, 60-concert U.S. tour that includes five shows, Feb. 5-9, at New York's Radio City Music Hall.
Presented by Concerts West. Band: Steve Welch, Mike Lent, Mike Faue, Stan Sargeant, Russ McKinnon, Ron Pedley, Dick Mitchell, John Yoakum, Mike Vacarro, Rick Baptist, Stan Martin, Larry Hall, Andy Martin, Alex Iles, Nathan Campbell.
|January 7, 2002 ||Orange County Register||"Looks like he made it: A re-energized Barry Manilow surprises with an exceptional show" by Ben Wener|
|Friday night, in the first of three shows this past weekend at the new Kodak Theatre in Hollywood, Manilow was more entertaining than he's been in years... I've sat through stops on his last two tours and found myself mere moments away from driving my trusty PaperMate through my eardrums to keep from hearing another second of "Can't Smile Without You." This time, I not only caught myself smiling like a goober during "Daybreak" and nearing a wistful sigh at the climax of "Weekend in New England," but when sweet ol' Barry finished with an impromptu a cappella version of "One Voice," I was genuinely sorry to see the show end.|
Couldn't tell you precisely why this particular performance was so memorable... Best guess would be the mood of the evening. See, Manilow was supposed to play these gigs a week earlier but came down with a nasty case of bronchitis. He managed to make it through New Year's Eve, but the aftermath of his illness still lingers. So consider the scene: You've got 3,600 people - of every age, mind you - hungry for comfort tunes (his forte), elegantly tucked into the shiny new home of the Oscars (what a beauty) and cheering on the smiling showman through sniffles and scratchy notes. "Hacking up the hits," he called it. Rather than try to hide his sickness, Manilow made the most of it - pausing to blow his honker to humorous effect...
Another factor in the night's success: Manilow seems re-energized. Perhaps that can be attributed to his move from Arista Records, the only label he ever knew, to jazzier Concord Records, which recently issued his latest, "Here at the Mayflower," a concept album structured around the secret lives of occupants at a New York apartment building. It's Manilow's first collection of new material in more than a decade, and though it isn't likely to win converts, it's certainly his most accomplished pop in a long while... And here, "Mayflower's" dramatic structure adapted ideally to his scaffold-girded set, as did [tunes] from his Broadway-bound musical "Harmony." Surprisingly, those numbers earned as much rapturous applause as his standbys, suggesting that finally Manilow is reconnecting with an audience that for a time wanted only oldies ... When this guy is on and the crowd adores him, he's a lot more amusing than, say, Neil Diamond - and he sings better than virtually all his contemporaries. For once, he won me over.
|January 7, 2002 ||Los Angeles Times||"Looks Like He Made It: Barry Manilow rebounds from bronchitis with an energetic show at the Kodak" by Don Heckman, Pop Music Review|
|"Hack a hit" was Barry Manilow's apt introductory description to his concert at the Kodak Theatre on Friday. And to some extent he was right. Still coughing and snorting with symptoms of the bronchitis that forced him to cancel his bookings the previous week at the Kodak (with the exception of an appearance on New Year's Eve), he nonetheless delivered a characteristically high-spirited presentation, repeatedly generating impassioned shouts and cheers from an adulatory, packed-house crowd.|
Manilow, 55, springs from a generation of songwriters who came to maturity during an era when songs had a life of their own, not necessarily associated solely with their composers, pliable enough to suit the styles of a variety of singers. And one of the most meaningful aspects of his craft as a singer is his ability to bring songs vividly to life.
The current Manilow tour [supports] a new album Here at the Mayflower. [Barry] spent a good portion of the program touring through his remarkable collection of hit songs... Sounding in fine vocal form and striding the stage confidently, Manilow displayed his capacity to bring style and drama to his interpretations... The balance of the performance revealed a creative duality that has long been present in Manilow's art.
Enormously successful as a pop act, he is clearly drawn to the musical theater's richer potential for artistic subtleties. Two of the evening's selections were from a Manilow musical-in-progress based upon the pre-World War II story of Germany's Comedian Harmonists, a popular vocal ensemble destroyed by the Nazi regime. "Harmony," the title song, was Manilow at his creative best, reaching into layers of musicality rarely present in his pop items.
The songs from "Here at the Mayflower", [a] collection of numbers describing people and events in the units of an urban apartment building, [allowed] Manilow's imagination to rove freely. "Not What You See," a lovely description of an elderly couple, was typical, performed in touching, eminently believable fashion.
With dozens of tour dates lined up for 2002, it's likely that Manilow's creative duality will continue to remain unresolved. But the brief taste of "Harmony" and portions of "Mayflower" suggest that, despite his many pop music successes, Manilow still possesses a great deal of unfulfilled creative potential.
|January 2002 ||Jazz USA||"Barry Manilow - Here at the Mayflower" by Matthew S. Robinson: ...Barry Manilow opens his latest career leg with a square block of interestingly varied yet impressively interconnected stories. Playing like Jimmy Stewart's journal from "Rear Window," Mayflower tells the tales of the all too real residents of a mythical hotel. From the smooth jazz loving lonelyheart to the long-time couple recalling their younger days, Manilow peeps through "so many windows,; so many locks" and reveals sides of his characters and of himself that are both familiar and novel. From the uptempo beats of the "Stairway to Paradise"-themed "Come Monday" and the gangster swing of "Freddie Said" to the "get up and dance" lilt of "Turn the Radio Up" and the dramatic diction of "Talk to Me," Manilow manifests manifold mannerisms. Which one is Manilow's true voice is debatable. But in laying bare an entire brick and stone edifice, Manilow allows us to look into ourselves while hearing a variety of voices which fall gently and comfortably on the ears...|
|January 3, 2002 |
(Jan. 14 issue)
|People Magazine||"Review: Here at the Mayflower - Barry Manilow (Concord)": "Irony is sweet: Manilow's greatest 'weakness' (emotional songs) has become an asset in his second incarnation as a light-jazz and interpretive singer. After successfully summoning the specter of Frank Sinatra on his previous disc (Manilow Sings Sinatra), Manilow has released his first collection or original tunes in more than 10 years, a concept album about the tenants of a Manhattan apartment building (Here At The Mayflower). [Barry] has learned to blend his earnest emotions with musical subtlety and even occasional wit ... Manilow has a willingness to experiment that would be admirable for any 58-year-old, let alone one who has made the whole world sing. Bottom Line: Smooth sailing."|
|December 31, 2001 ||Ananova.com||"Manilow hit by bronchitis": Barry Manilow has promised to go ahead with a New Year's Eve concert despite being ill. Severe bronchitis forced him to postpone three shows at the weekend. But tonight's performance in Los Angeles will take place as scheduled. "He's had bronchitis all week long and had hoped it would get better, but it didn't," said Manilow's spokeswoman, Carol Stone Marshall said. "All tickets will be honoured next week." She said Manilow's doctor had ordered "mandatory silence" for a few days. All 3,500 tickets for shows Friday, Saturday and Sunday had been sold, said Marshall.|
|December 28, 2001 ||The Daily News||"CD REVIEW: Manilow's 'Here At The Mayflower': Manilow Explores New Seas Aboard Mayflower" by Elisha Witt|
|With "Here at the Mayflower," Barry Manilow releases his first original music in 10 years - and it's well worth the wait. After taking time off to explore other creative avenues including Broadway musicals "Copacabana" and "Harmony," the songster has returned to center stage with a vengeance. His latest venture may strike a different chord with long-time fans. From the moment you pick up "Here at the Mayflower," it's unlike any other Manilow album. Manilow has created a concept album with several interconnected stories. Taking a page from his Broadway resume, Manilow has created a concept album with several interconnected stories. Each song is descriptive of a resident at the Mayflower. While there are song titles like "Border Train," it is accompanied by Apartment 3E. With a little work this album itself could be Manilow's next Broadway hit. The foundation has been laid; all he'd have to do is develop a thread to link the stage production together.|
Another difference die-hard Manilow fans will note is the sound. From the opening notes, we hear something we've never heard in a Manilow ditty: a tenor saxophone. Not even "Copacabana," with its cornucopia of instruments, featured a sax. Instrumental star Dave Koz lends his abilities to two of "Mayflower's" songs and the effect is excellent. The wailing horn adds a timbre of longing and whimsy that's something new for Manilow.
One of the things I was most struck by in listening to the new album is the maturity and complexity of the work. I've been a Manilow fan since for as long as I can remember and even I was a little leery when I first saw the CD jacket. I thought it was a gamble for Manilow to branch out and try a concept album, especially after not recording original work for a decade. Any risks he may have taken to make "Here at the Mayflower" were overcome. The album represents the most complete Manilow CD in my collection.
No longer content with the fun pop sounds and sweeping ballads of yore, this album represents an older, wiser and (in my opinion) better Manilow ... It took Manilow a long time to find his niche in the music world, which may have been why he took a hiatus from original work. While the singer-songwriter hasn't been watching the tide ebb and flow over the past 10 years, he has been singing previously recorded works. Keeping up with a record every other year, Manilow released a tribute to Frank Sinatra, his "Summer of '78" ode and a variety of "Showstoppers" and "Singing with the Big Bands." Though Manilow has infused his infectious blend of humor, seriousness and warm, raspy tones into each album it seemed as though he was searching for his own voice. Perhaps taking time to write Broadway musicals showed the songster another way of visualizing his pop albums. Whatever the case, "Here at the Mayflower" is a mature, fully realized album. It isn't filled with fluff or corny lyrics, but tells stories in brutal honesty while still having a good time.
To produce a high-quality product, Manilow became a ubiquitous presence. Not only does he perform lead vocals and play piano, he wrote all the music and composed many of the lyrics. With vocal pipes in good order, Manilow imbues each song with warmth, sincerity. Corresponding with the different personalities of the Mayflower's residents, Manilow adapts his singing style to showcase their emotions. Whether he's the 83-year-old Joe singing of his beloved wife in "I Miss You," or swaying to the Latin beat in his ode to musician Tito Puente, Manilow makes you believe the tale. When he's singing, he isn't Barry Manilow, performer; he truly embodies the Mayflower's populace.
A handful of the new melodies rank among the best of Manilow's career. "Not What You See" and "I Miss You" are honest, sweet and wonderfully performed songs, that tug at the heart strings with beautiful lyrics and soaring melodies. "Some Bar by the Harbor" isn't to be overlooked. With strong Chopin-esque piano chords and rich, sonorous vocals, the tale of a one-night war-era love affair is one of the great achievements of the album.
|December 21, 2001 ||Radio & Records|
|"Ready To Take A Chance Again: Hey, turn up the radio -- Barry's back!" by Mike Kinosian (article includes a chart history of Barry's 39 R&R Adult Contemporary hits)|
|If you looked up consummate professional in the dictionary, enigmatic, Brooklyn-born Barry Manilow's picture would be staring back at you ... His fan base runs the gamut from grandmothers to swimsuit models, from baby boomer execs to sports stars. Going to a Manilow concert is similar to taking a snapshot of America...|
It's been exactly 27 years (and eight days) since Manilow's first single, "Mandy," peaked at No. 1 on R&R's Adult Contemporary chart. What followed over the next eight years was as impressive a string of AC hits as we've ever seen. Twenty-one consecutive Manilow songs marched into the top 10, and none finished lower than No. 7. He, Neil Diamond and Barbra Streisand defined AC and became format icons.
The 1990s, however, weren't quite so kind to Streisand or Diamond or to the man who was born Barry Alan Pincus ... Some would have been content to chuck it all and count their money, but the real pros labor over how they can reinvent themselves. And that's what Manilow is doing with his just-released, 16-track album, Here at the Mayflower.
"I woke up with an idea 20 years ago for an original album based in an apartment building, " says Manilow, who grew up in a building called the Mayflower. "I didn't want to write about those people, because I didn't think it would be fair. I thought it would be an interesting way to hang songs on a pop album. Even 20 years ago, I was bored hearing 32-bar love songs over and over. When I buy albums these days, it sounds like they were done in one afternoon in the same studio."
Working with collaborators on concepts about what goes on behind closed apartment doors, Manilow spent years jotting down melodies, lyrics and titles. "I decided this year to put it all together and see if all those ideas hung together. I don't think you can make an album like The Mayflower in one year. It takes a long time to figure out which songs work. There were 30 songs, but I picked the 16 that I thought best gave a sense of who lived there."
"I wrote ["Turn The Radio Up"] because it felt good for me. I don't get it that radio is playing a Barry Manilow record, and Concord's the company that's getting it played, but I'm so grateful it's happening. I don't know where the song will go. It would even be fine if it stops now. Perhaps I've been away from Pop radio long enough to sound fresh. The fact that I was able to make the CD and was given Concord's incredible support is fantastic. I've never worked with a company that's so enthusiastic. They're really into the music, and I couldn't ask for more. The lesson here is to follow your gut - it's the only way to do it."
"My manager and agent put [a six-month tour] together in a way that I just couldn't turn down. The shows are only on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, so it doesn't grind me too much. I get to stay at home and have a normal life on weekdays. I really love singing and being with the band. What I don't like about touring is being away for months at a time. I'll never do that again at this point in my life."
|December 21, 2001 ||Seattle Times||"Barry Manilow writes the songs that are fueling a pop comeback" by Patrick MacDonald, Concert Preview|
|Barry Manilow [just] hit the jackpot in Las Vegas (Mandalay Bay), musically speaking. "I was nervous going in," he confessed in a phone interview, "but when we got to the place in the show where we played the new songs, they liked them. They stood up and cheered." The tour features songs from his new album Here at the Mayflower his first on the Concord label ... Manilow picked Concord, the classy jazz label, for one reason. "They were talking about music... They were so encouraging. It felt right. Sometimes you gotta go with your gut." Part of the deal is that Manilow gets to produce albums for other artists on the label. His first project is with Seattle jazz great Diane Schuur. "I love producing other people. We're going to write an album of originals for her. She's the Ella Fitzgerald of our generation."|
Manilow's Here at the Mayflower is a concept album ... He wrote all the songs, with help from his collaborators. And, thanks to synthesizers, he did almost all the music, too. The resulting sound has a contemporary R&B edge. "It's the Average White Barry!" he quipped. "This was a labor of love for the last 10 years or so. Once the idea hit, the kind of songs you can write, given this situation, is limitless."
"I kind of walked away from pop radio after 10 blazing years on the charts," he said. "I was starting to repeat myself. Around 1985, about the time of the Paradise Cafe album, from then on it was a matter of playing around with styles I liked. This year, The Mayflower got me back into the pop thing. And radio, they have embraced the record. I'm so grateful, and so stunned, that they have." He said that part of the reason "Turn the Radio Up" has been so warmly received is because of its uplifting message. Turn the radio up, turn the negative down. Turn the radio up, everything will be fine. "You know, it's strange," Manilow said, "we were mixing that song on Sept. 11. And it turned out to be a song people needed." [Barry's] been invited to play at halftime at the Superbowl next month. He'll be performing his own composition "Let Freedom Ring" with an orchestra and chorus. "All of this makes me think," he mused, 'that maybe what I do is not so trivial after all."
|December 20, 2001 ||CNN.com||"Barry Manilow performs (2:01)": Barry Manilow performs an old favorite, "One Voice (December 20)."|
|December 19, 2001 ||Creators.com - Creators Syndicate||"Manilow Making Broadway Musical Bid with 'Harmonists'" by Marilyn Beck and Stacy Jenel Smith: Barry Manilow expects to have "Harmony" -- his musical production about the Comedian Harmonists -- on Broadway by this time next year. "They were The Backstreet Boys of Europe in the 1930s," says the veteran singer/songwriter about the group that were recording and film superstars of worldwide renown -- till they were forced to disband by the Gestapo. Manilow and longtime collaborator Bruce Sussman are leaning toward new faces for the show. "It would be good for box office to use famous people, but the story is really about six unknowns. My wish list would be six young, talented singer/actors who look and sound like The Backstreet Boys." Manilow, who just released "Here at the Mayflower," his debut album on Concord Records, says he'll be "hands on" with "Harmony" as it makes its way to Broadway. "It's my baby, and I wouldn't be able to just leave it to be mounted by someone else ... if I could, I'd paint the scenery." The singer, who just found out he'll be inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame next year, is excited that the first song from his "Mayflower" disc has become "the No. 1 added single. Here I am this old fart next to Britney and Whitney ... I'm amazed the radio stations have embraced the record like they have ... I wanted to write songs that were more interesting than your typical 32 bar love songs."|
|December 16, 2001 ||Chicago Sun Times||"Here at the Mayflower" Review by Miriam Di Nunzio: After spending his entire music career on Arista, Manilow jumped to the California-based Concord jazz label for his 31st outing, his first album of completely original material in more than a decade. Joining forces with longtime collaborators Marty Panzer, Bruce Sussman, Adrienne Anderson and Enoch Anderson, Manilow has created an eclectic concept album about the various inhabitants of a fictional New York apartment building called the Mayflower. Envisioning what goes on behind all the closed doors, Manilow explores house rhythms on "Come Monday" (in Apartments 3B and 6N). He's singing the blues in the piano-fueled "Border Town" (Apt. 3E). He returns to his pop roots (and the most mainstream cut) in the sprightly "Turn the Radio On" (Apt. 2H); think "Daydream" and "Can't Smile Without You." The tender "Not What You See," (Apt. 6C), about "the oldest couple at the Mayflower," Esther and Joe, tells the album's most powerful story about the elderly couple who used to dance the nights away. Their lives are revisited later on the poignant "I Miss You," where Joe has lost his beloved bride of so many years. On the classically Manilow "She Should Have Been Mine," he caresses a beautiful ballad as he watches the love of his life go off with someone else. And so the stories are told as Manilow navigates a veritable sea of musical genres (there's even a sizzling Tito Puentes tribute on one cut). His longtime fans may not easily embrace the finished product, but it's nice to see an artist so willing to follow his heart, regardless of what the world expects.|
|December 14, 2001 ||Las Vegas Review-Journal||"Maturing Process: Barry Manilow gets away from show tunes and standards for a new collection of low-key originals" by Mike Weatherford, interview with Barry Manilow in promotion of his Las Vegas shows at the Mandalay Bay (December 13-15)|
|[Barry's] back with a new set of originals, "Here at the Mayflower," the album "all the old fans have been waiting for, I think." "I was advised by Clive [Davis of Arista Records at the time] that since the radio had changed, had I released my own songs there wouldn't be a market for them," Manilow recalls. "He kept advising me to think of events that he could more easily sell (Singin' With The Big Bands, Showstoppers, Summer Of '78, Manilow Sings Sinatra). They worked. ... But I did miss writing my own material." Instead, Manilow spent his creative energy on two theatrical projects, "Harmony" and "Barry Manilow's Copacabana -- The Musical." But when Davis was ousted from the label last year, it was time for Manilow to reassess his career.|
"Here at the Mayflower" [is] a concept album rooted in show-tune and Brill Building tradition, with each song exploring the life of a resident of a fictitious apartment building. Those expecting the big, cheesy verse-chorus orchestral swells of '70s Manilow may be disappointed with the low-key arrangements. But most fans seem more likely to think it sounds like just what the 55-year-old tunesmith ought to be doing.
"I've had people tell me it sounds like a mature version of what I started off doing, which is, I feel, a good description of it," he says. While "Turn the Radio Up" sounds like a vintage Manilow single, others are more in the cabaret tradition. "I Hear Her Playing Music" finds a neighbor brooding about the mystery woman next door. "Not What You See" is the declaration of an 83-year-old resident to his young neighbor, "I'll bet you think that what you're lookin' at is all we are."
The apartment idea was "a simple idea to hang a pop album on," Manilow says. "It enabled myself and my collaborators to write songs that were deeper than just 32-bar love songs. We could write about situations and characters in a fictitious apartment building. These ideas just kept coming to all of us."
"I was raised with one foot in the classic songwriting arrangements of the '30s and '40s and then one foot in the rock 'n' roll of the days when I was a teen-ager," he says. "I love the muscle of the contemporary stuff, but I love the craft of the '30s and '40s. Maybe that's what's reflected in this album, which is just a hodgepodge of everything I love." The album came out in mid-November, and Manilow began a tour in Las Vegas.
"I have not got the feeling that these audiences who come to see me really want me to put the old `Copacabana' jacket back on," he says. "They are along for the ride." If the hits are all they want, he adds, "they'll certainly get them. I do as many as I can. But I have matured. I'm older now. They seem to really enjoy what I give them. I don't get the feeling they're walking out disappointed that I didn't give them the younger version."
Old singalongs such as "Somewhere in the Night," "Looks Like We Made It" and "Copacabana" are still part of the set, but with new arrangements "so subtle the people who have come to relive their past will love it, and the people who are brand new will think they are brand new records," Manilow says. "It will sound like these songs were written and recorded yesterday."
|December 14, 2001 ||Las Vegas Sun||"Manilow: Precise, with just enough hits at Mandalay" by Kirk Baird, Review of Barry's concert on December 13: Opening his Live 2002! tour at the Storm Theatre at Mandalay Bay, [Manilow] was in good voice and spirits as he gave a sold-out crowd of around 1,600 exactly what it wanted: the hits. Well, at least some of them: "Daybreak," "Mandy," "Weekend in New England," "Copacabana (At the Copa)," "I Made it Through the Rain" and "Somewhere in the Night" all managed to make the set list ... Of course it's not reasonable to expect the singer-songwriter to play all of his hits. And since Manilow, touring in support of his latest album Here at the Mayflower, it's a foregone conclusion Manilow is going to feature some new material: In this case, five songs, including the album's first single, "Apartment 2H: Turn the Radio Up," which compares favorably with the performer's biggest songs from the '70s ... When Manilow [belted] out the tunes, it was always with great deal of energy and enthusiasm, especially on "I Made It Through the Rain" and "Mandy," which also benefited from a more muscular musical approach...|
|December 13, 2001 ||Vancouver Sun|
(The Queue, Dec. 13-19 - cover story)
|"Manilow Stays In Tune: With a hot new album of original material and strutting his legendary pop sensibility, Barry Manilow is on the road again, pleasing fans and confounding critics" by Kerry Gold, interview promoting Barry's appearance at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre in Vancouver, British Columbia (Dec. 20, 2001)|
|Perhaps no artist has been more maligned than Barry Manilow. In his heyday, his capacity to inspire scorn and ridicule was in direct opposition to his formidable bankability. With the release of a new album and a flashy North American tour called Manilow Live 2002!, the days of Manilow bashing could be over. "If you ever read those reviews, you would think that I had hurt their family or something," says Manilow, on the phone from his home in California. "In the beginning, I was always so surprised at how mean-spirited they felt towards someone they'd never even met," he adds. "I couldn't figure out what on earth I had done to offend so many of them so badly ... All I was doing was trying to make the most beautiful music I could make, given what Clive [Davis] was encouraging me to record, and what the tone of the music of the day was."|
Manilow recalls radio transforming from pop-oriented music to an R&B strain some time in the mid '80s. So he returned to his roots, embarked on a series of smaller albums that showcased his eclectic talents and his jazz, Broadway, and classical music training at the prestigious Julliard music school. Pop, says Manilow, had never been in the cards, anyway. It was more of a happy accident. "There came a point where there was a blockade against the kind of music that I did," he says. "I had a fantastic ride in the pop world, and frankly, I kind of walked away from it myself. I said, 'I think I've used every trick I can think of,' and so I started to make jazz albums and show-tune albums. But this year, I thought it would be refreshing, at least to me, to go back and see what pop music sounded like again."
Manilow returns this month with Here At the Mayflower, his first album of original material since 2:00 A.M. Paradise Cafe in 1984. He plays songs from the new album as well as old favourites at Dec. 20 at the Queen Elizabeth theatre, one of the pre-run shows to his Manilow Live 2002! New Year's Eve launch at L.A.'s Kodak Theatre. Although he's a touring veteran and has earned a reputation for a high-calibre performance, Manilow isn't beyond the occasional insecurity. "There's always a thing in the back of one's head," he says. "I wonder whether there'll be anybody out there this time. It doesn't stop me. But there is a little question mark."
Manilow can't recall if he's ever played here before, so if he has, it's been awhile. Two weeks ago, he still hadn't begun rehearsing. "I have no act yet," he says. "I think I should figure something out. I'll tell ya how it goes," he jokes. "I get excited, and I get obsessed about it, and I never stop thinking about it. I think it's what keeps me young." On the subject of aging, Manilow isn't fazed by the inevitable process. "I like it, I like it," he says. "I don't notice any difference yet. Believe me, I'm waiting for the other shoe to drop. I'm waiting for an ulcer to kick in, for something to happen."
After a decade outside of the pop mainstream, Manilow sounds like he's enjoying a sudden spike in the showbiz radar, with Mayflower placing No. 6 on Billboard's indie chart ... His return to the pop fold was a long time coming. Manilow worked on the songs the last 15 years, and insists he never had any intention of releasing them. It was only when he left Arista and went with the small Concord jazz label that he was convinced to head into the studio and record the 16 tracks. Manilow signed with the label after Davis lost his job at Arista.
"Clive was booted out unceremoniously, which I thought was a lousy thing to do because he was at the top of his game," says Manilow. "By the way, the people who fired him got fired, you know. So they're not even there. It didn't have to happen. Isn't that wild?" Manilow went to a Concord record launch party for his friend Monica Mancini (Henry's daughter) and was so impressed with the label executives there that he had his manager make some inquiries. "They were all about music," he says. "They had nothing to do with Britney Spears' next album. They couldn't give a s--- about the Backstreet Boys or who was the top of this or sold the most of that ... so I left Arista and went to Concord and never looked back."
Manilow is pleased with the results -- a concept album that, with each song, offers a glimpse into the lives of people who live in an apartment building called the Mayflower. Some of the songs are definite reminders that Manilow may be responsible for the phrase "soft rock," particularly the sweetly naive and bouncy Turn the Radio Up. He also delves into more mature, emotionally complex subject matter with Talk to Me, surprising Manilow, who has a strong, reedy voice, displays an intense desperation as a man who's about to lose someone. Manilow wrote the song with Marty Panzer, one of the many collaborators from his past whom he called upon to work on the album. "We're very proud of [that song] because it really does feel like the guys who wrote the pop songs of the '70s grown up."
Manilow calls the album's three-week-old chart success mere "gravy." At this stage in his career, he's simply relieved to be warmly received by the critics. "For some reason they've softened up," says Manilow. "Maybe they've just given in. Now they say, 'All right, already. He's been around for so long, let's give him a break.'"
Manilow believes another facet of his renewed pop appeal is the climate for peaceful comforting entertainment in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks. Considering such music just happens to be Manilow's specialty, a comeback would seem to be in order. "I was so bored," he says. "I glaze over these days at my colleagues' pop albums. I wanted to keep the audience interested. Frankly, I wanted to keep myself interested. I was boring the s--- out of myself...every time I thought about making a pop album I would sit down and start to write a pop song, and I would think to myself, 'God, I've done this already.'"
Considering his past, artistically, Manilow has come full circle. He started off with his share of dumb jobs, including delivering coffee and working in the CBS mailroom. He became a CBS administrative assistant, got married, attended music college at night, and played piano for the New York club scene. "And the music took over my life," he recalls. "I left the marriage world, I left the white picket fence and the house in Long Island and made my career in music."
He eventually became CBS's musical director for a TV series and worked for Ed Sullivan productions. Later, when he was co-producing and arranging Bette Midler's Grammy-winning debut, he also wrote jingles for Dr. Pepper and Band-Aids. He sang the McDonald's jingle You Deserve a Break Today, but he did not write it, which is one of the many misapprehensions that haunt ahd irritate Manilow. "And they think I wrote I Write the Songs. And they think I wrote Mandy. And they think I started off at the bathhouses [with Midler]," he adds. "I just roll my eyes and say, 'Could you please do your homework if you're an interviewer?'"
Manilow, who wrote a successful off-Broadway musical adaptation as early as 1967, makes it sound as if he fell into the pop world by accident. "I had one foot in jazz, one foot in Broadway, one foot in classical music. I found myself in pop music, a [genre] I had never really listened to." But as it turned out, he had the music in him. The hits, he says, came intuitively rather than intentionally. "The only time it's hard to write is when I try to write a hit song. I've always made a mistake when I tried to second-guess the public -- I'm always wrong."
And since Mayflower was never even intended for public consumption, it follows, then, that Manilow should be facing a hit record. The question is, can pop songwriter Barry Manilow enjoy popularity and critical laudability simultaneously? He considers the scathing attacks of his past and arrives at a healthy conclusion. "I think, maybe, I was annoyingly popular," he says, stretching out the words for emphasis. "I think that's it. And I forgive the little s---s."Thanks, Michelle, for locating this story!!
|December 13, 2001 ||Yahoo! News||Barry Manilow kicks off his Live 2002! tour during the first of three sold-out shows at the Storm Theatre at the Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino in Las Vegas, December 13, 2001. Manilow is touring to promote his latest album "Here at the Mayflower," his first album of original material in 15 years. [ Photo 1 | Photo 2 | Photo 3 ]|
|December 2001 ||ILoveVegas.com||"Manilow Sets Sail", article in promotion of Barry's appearance at Mandalay Bay's Storm Theatre in Las Vegas (Dec. 13-15, 2001) and his latest album Here At The Mayflower:|
The album weaves tapestries about a fictitious cast of characters dwelling in the Mayflower, a very real, red brick Brooklyn apartment house located not far from where Manilow grew up a half century ago. In a collection of 16 songs, we meet some fascinating people... "I'm so bored with hearing everybody come up with another 10 or 12 love songs that sound like everything we've always heard," Manilow said. "If I was going to do another brand new original album, it better be interesting, I said to myself. This makes me interested. When I listen to it, I'm kind of interested in these people."
The first single released off Here At The Mayflower is an upbeat tune titled "Turn The Radio Up" that Manilow wrote five weeks before the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. In light of events since then, the song takes on a broader meaning, he noted. The lyrics seem to offer a respite from the nonstop news of terror, war, anthrax and anguish: "Turn the radio up, hear the melody, turn the negative down, turn the radio up, everything will be fine." "That's what I wrote and then suddenly [the events of Sept. 11] happened. And now people are saying, 'Can you play that again? It makes me feel better,'" Manilow observed, clearly pleased that his music can make a small impact in lifting the nation's spirit...
|December 11, 2001 ||Las Vegas Sun||"Barry hanging on: Manilow awaiting fan response to latest release" by Kirk Baird, interview with Barry ("'I think all of us artists and actors get typecast if you become very popular for one thing,' [Manilow said]. 'I think that most of the fans, the people who actually came out and checked out the albums and concert tours, understood that there was much more to what I did than those handful of hit singles.' With his latest work, Here at the Mayflower, [Barry] takes it even further ... It's an ambitious project, said Manilow, who performs Thursday through Saturday at Mandalay Bay's Storm Theatre. And all the more proof that the musically driven singer-songwriter is greater than his pop-single parts. 'I decided I would break some rules,' he said. 'The danger for every artist is, like EB White said, We look up and sniff the trend machine. If you look up and sniff the trend machine, you're lost, because all you can do is copy.' ... Over the years, Manilow said he worked with his collaborators, 'battling ideas back and forth (over) what would go on behind closed doors in the apartment building ... I've got all these fantastic computerized instruments here that I know how to work, and this last year I decided to put all of (the demos) together and see if they would hang together, and they did,' Manilow said ... The result is sure to please his diehard fans, who have been anxiously awaiting an album of Manilow's own material since [1984's] Paradise Cafe ... 'Anything that was trendy I stayed away from on this album. I knew that it might turn a lot of people off because just when you think you're being lulled into something normal, I broke it ... I was like, Stop the tempo! Do something different! I just didn't want Mayflower to be a normal album. I wanted it to be interesting.")|
|December 6, 2001 ||PR Newswire||"The #1 Adult Contemporary Artist of All Time Releases His 31st Album" (Press Release)|
Barry Manilow begins a national tour presenting the newest songs and the greatest hits performing "Live2002!"
"Live2002!" features songs from his new Concord Records release "Here At The Mayflower." The album is an original addition to Manilow's catalog of 38 Top-40 hits. Years in the making, Manilow wanted to be sure "Here At The Mayflower" was everything he wanted it to be. Manilow says, "It's enabled my collaborators and me to write songs about people of all ages and walks of life ... This album is about people, and friendships ... and the cycles in life that we all go through."
Acclaimed by Radio & Records magazine as the Number One Adult Contemporary Artist Of All Time, Manilow's November release of "Here At The Mayflower" marks album number 31 on his discography, with the single, "Turn The Radio Up," steadily climbing the charts! In addition, the National Academy of Popular Music has just announced Manilow's induction into the Songwriters Hall of Fame, which will be presented in New York next June...
|December 1, 2001 ||Billboard.com||Billboard Chartbeat column by Fred Bronson reports "Barry's Back: The first Barry Manilow album of the 21st century arrives at No. 90 on the Billboard 200."|
"Here At The Mayflower (Concord) is the first Manilow album to chart since Manilow Sings Sinatra peaked at No. 122 in December 1998 ... Manilow has now charted in four different decades. His album chart span expands to 27 years and one week, dating back to the debut of Barry Manilow II the week of Nov. 23, 1974."
|November 26 - December 9, 2001 ||FM Fan Magazine|
|"Barry Manilow - The BarryNet" is their featured website!|
Thanks to Wataru Semba for reporting this!!