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Barry Manilow
"Even Now<"

© Arista

October 04 - 10, 2020

Year of Release: 1978
Rating:
  • Copacabana (At The Copa)
  • Somewhere In The Night0
  • A Linda Song
  • Can't Smile Without You
  • Leavin' In The Morning
  • Where Do I Go From Here
  • Even Now
  • I Was A Fool (To Let You Go)
  • Losing Touch
  • I Just Want To Be The One
    RIn Your Life
  • Starting Again
  • Sunrise
  • I'm Comin' Home Again (Unfinished Track)
  • No Love For Jenny

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    A B C D E F G H I J K L M
    N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
    Barry Manilow makes his debut this week on WSVNRadio, with his 1978 release, Even Now. I have always enjoyed his music when he was most popular in the mid-1970s. Being a fellow keyboard player myself, Manilow started out with Bette Midler, playing in her (gay) bathclub performances. Previously, Manilow wrote many jingles for TV ads: Stae Farm ("Like a good neighbor, State Farm is there."), Band-Aid ("I am stuck on Band-Aid, 'cause Band-Aid's stuck on me."). Kentucky Fried Chicken, Pepsi, McDonald's, Dr. Pepper were others. He would record a medley of many jingles he wrote, as it appears on his Live album. (I remember his performing this medley on TV talk show host, Phil Donahue's show.) He released his first album in 1973 (Barry Manilow I, and he has been popular ever since.

    Even Now achieved 4 hits: "Can't Smile Without You," "Even Now," "Copacabana (At The Copa)", "Somewhere In The Night.". I had the 45 of "Copacabana," and it is a great song. Not only a great song, but the storyline of the song is an amazing tale. (Think of the song "Bad Bad Leroy Brown" by Jim Croce, updated in the Disco age. It still has the fight Croce told us about. I'm surprised this song wasn't made into a movie. Or was it?)

    The long version is on this album, as we all experience that "This is not what I heard!" (Actually, "Copacabana" was the ONLY 45 I had of Manilow's when growing up.) The flip side was the instrumental, and surprisingly, it was not included when reissued on CD. When this album was reissued on CD in 2006, the disco version appeared. This is the "long version," and I had heard the disco version on the radio back in the day. It would have been better, if the 45 version was included, likewise the instrumental. All four hits from Even Now got heavy radio airplay on Top 40 radio, and all remembered, for those who were listening. The other album tracks represents soft-rock, and they all have that Barry Manilow style, being that of soft-rock, lite rock.

    Those soft/lite rock tracks are: "A Linda Song," "Leavin' In The Morning," "Where Do I Go From Here." "Losing Touch" is another one, but can be considered the least to mention. "I Just Want To Be The One In Your Life" has a soulful touch to it. "I Was A Fool (To Let You Go)" has a jazz lounge style, and stands out as a better track than that of the soft/lite rock tracks. Definitely jazz, with its piano, and horns. "Starting Again" is another soft style, yet there are other better soft styled songs better than this one. "Sunrise" is good; it can be added to the good list, of the three songs mentioned at the beginning of this paragraph, as song #4. "I'm Comin' Home Again" is better, and is titled as an "unfinished track." "No Love For Jenny" closes the album, another good soft-rock track. (Both I'm Comin' Home Again" and "No Love For Jenny" are bonus tracks, being the 2006 reissue on CD.

    My wife Norma was a huge fan of Barry Manilow. She had mentioned having Barry Manilow posters on her wall when she was younger, when Manilow was popular. And as I was going through her belongings after she passed away last year, I found a Barry Manilow keychain. I had to include that, with other decorations, by her urn in my home. And when I hear "Can't Smile Without You," I can't help but feel sad, as the lyrics And now you know I can't smile without you, I can't smile without you, I can't laugh and I can't sing, I'm finding it hard to do anything. These lyrics now hits home as they reflect on how I can't smile, laugh, sing without Norma.

    Barry Manilow's Even Now is a good soft/lite-rock album. The four hit singles are the standouts. The remaining tracks sets the mood for a quiet atmosphere, good music for a nice quiet night, a romantic dinner. The jazz-styled "I Was A Fool (To Let You Go)" is another standout. Barry Manilow's music has always been entertaining, and enjoyed by those who remember him in his popular years. As mentioned, being a fellow keyboardist, both Barry Manilow and another well-known keyboard piano player, Elton John, have been two of my favorite musicians while growing up. Also to mention, Billy Joel. And another keyboardist I would enjoy in my later years, Rick Wakeman.

    For anyone who remembered Barry Manilow, and his many hits from his studio albums, it is often wondered how the album tracks from his studio albums are heard. "I was A Fool (To Let You Go)" is one of those lost gems. Barry Manilow will be reviewed again in the future here at WSNRadio, with more of his original studio releases. I'm sure we will encounter more "discovered gems" album tracks as well.

    Music & Passion: Even Now More Than Ever
    A Fan's Notes by David Wild


    By the time that Barry Manilow recorded the Even Now album, he was not just a bona fide pop superstar on the roll of a lifetime, but also a man ready to take a chance. Right from the start, there had been a strong Broadway bent to some of Barry Manilow's music. So it was both lifting and impressive that Manilow chose kick off his fifth studio album, 1978's Even Now, with "Copacabana (At The Copa)," a stunnigly ambitious and infectious number written by Manilow with Jack Feldman and Bruce Sussman that somehow managed to pack in more music and passion and storyline into five minutes than any number of much longer musicals that have hit the Great White Way. The soon to become omnipresent "Copacabana (At The Copa)" -- arguably Manilow's best-loved recording ever -- really had it going on: crime and punishment, Latin percussion, sexy showgirls, disco beats, and yes, even, a welcome dose of world-class cowbell. As Manilow has said, "I remember 'Copacabana' was irresistable from the start but became addictive after Alan Estes, our percussionist, contributed that signature cowbell." If you still think of Barry Manilow as just a balladeer, listen to "Copacabana (At The Copa)" and then think again.

    And that, ladies and gentlemen, was only the very first song on an album that Manilow has called "one of the happiest memories I have." Manilow is by no means the only one with pleasant memories regarding Even Now. This is clearly one of Manilow's best-loved pieces of work, thanks in part to the inclusion of a few of the man's greatest and most enduring hits. In addition to the dazzling musical trip that is "Copacabana (At The Copa)," Even Now featured "Can't Smile Without You" -- a song written by Chris Arnold, David Martin and Geoff Morrow that had a considerable portion of the planet whistling, humming and smiling along.

    "Somewhere In The Night" -- written by Will Jennings and Richard Kerr, the same team that penned Manilow's "Looks Like We Made It" from 1976's This One's For You album -- is an elegantly romantic gem that features a perfectly shaded vocal from Manilow, as well as some electric piano from ma up-and-coming player named Paul Shaffer. Even more deeply felt is Manilow's performance on "Even Now," a particularly pretty and affecting song that he wrote with frequent collaborator Marty Panzer about a man unable or unwilling to move past a lost love. Manilow and Panzer alo contributed the heartbreaking "I Was A Fool (To Let You Go)," which features an outstanding orchestral arrangement that Manilow would later call "brilliant."

    Manilow loved recording Even Now, which he and Ron Dante once again produced, with Michael Delugg engineering. Years later, Manilow would fondly recall the sessions and the excitement of "each song exploding as soon as we began recording." Even now, Even Now remains an impressive explosion of both music and passion.



    Recording the Even Now album is one of the happiest memories I have. Ron Dante and I, joined by the talented engineer Michael Delugg, seemed to be on a roll, each song exploding as soon as we began recording. I remember "Copacabana" was irresistable from the start but became addictive after Alan Estes, our percussionist, contributed that signature cowbell. I remember what a great thrill it was singing "I Was A Fool (To Let You Go)" with Artie Butler's brilliant orchestra.

    And I remember beautiful Karen Carpenter stopping by the A&M control room to say hello. We played her "Can't Smile Without You" and she nodded and said, "That's going to be a number one record. I wish it were mine!"
    -- Barry Manilow




    NOTE: "Can't Smile without You" by Barry Manilow did reach #1 -- on Billboard's Adult Contemporary chart, in March, 1977. It spent a total of two weeks (non-consecutiely).




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