BetteBack 1975: Midler Took A Break; Manilow Breaks A Single

Hit single on Manilow LP
February 7, 1975

Over a year ago Barry Manilow was producing Bette Midler, while singing a few numbers and playing piano in her successful stage shows. He was known in the TV world for writing jingles for commercials.

He had a solo album out in 1973 for Bell Records that did not make it. Although back East the LP made people aware of who Barry Manilow is.

Since Bette did not do much work in 1974, Barry started working hard on his next solo
effort that was going to be entitled “Barry Manilow II”.

The LP was released at the fall end of 74 and a hit single came from that disc called “Mandy.” The tune was a number one hit across the nation. The LP is headed in the same direction. Another single will be released from the LP in a couple weeks entitled “It’s A Miracle.”

He will bring his show which sold out Carnegie Hall in New York and Mr. Kelly’s in Chicago to the Boarding House next Tuesday night through Sunday Feb. 16.

“The first album I did. ‘Barry Manilow’ was not a huge, success, but the people who dug it really liked it.” he said.

“It was the first time 1 ever tried a solo thing, and 1 wasn’t trying to do it perfect – I was trying to just do it.

“So-after the first one I said to myself. ‘So this is how it’s done’. Ron Dante is my coproducer) and I worked hard on the second shot, and I m pleased with the way it came out.”

Clive Davis made Columbia Records the powerhouse in the music business. He is now in charge of what used to be Bell Records, now called Arista Records. He changed around the roster of artists they had and added a few to the list. He only kept eight acts that were on the label when he took over. One was Manilow.

“I really didn’t think Clive would connect with what I was doing and I thought he might drop me from the label,” Manilow said.

“I was in the middle of the second album when he stepped in and he said let’s do it for real. He liked the second album but he didn’t want to release it until he was sure there was a hit single on it.

“Someone sent him a song called Brandy. None of us liked the title so we hunted around and came up with Mandy. Ron and I went into the studio and did the number the way we wanted. We did a slow ballad, it was meant for an up-tempo rocker.

Clive came in to hear the song. He came up with a couple of ideas which were to bring out the strings and make it a single.

“He was right and we had a number one hit single. He was right on the money. He wanted to release it as a single and 1 frankly didn’t want it as a single. As a new artist 1 thought a ballad might be a bad idea.

“He insisted that we release Mandy and he was right.”

It looks like Barry Manilow has a good future ahead. He has not done too bad. with a hit album going up the charts, a number one hit single, two gold records for Bette Midler and now out on his own.

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