Tag Archives: When a Man Loves a Woman (song)

Thursday, January 31, 2019

Audio: Ain’t No Love In The Heart Of The City – Bette Midler – Clams On The Half Shell Revue – 1975

Photo: Bette Midler in Clams On The Half Shell Revue - 1975

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Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Video: When A Man Loves A Woman – Bette Midler – Jay Leno

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Thursday, July 19, 2018



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Thursday, November 23, 2017

BetteBack June 30, 1975: People Magazine Interview Regarding “Clams”

People Magazine Bette Midler Returns In Tacky Triumph June 30, 1975 By Patricia Burstein In a blue-and-white smock with red sandals coordinating her Bicentennial look, the star shimmied along New York’s 42nd Street on a recent afternoon. Some of the drifters and drunks recognized and swooped down on her, and she fluttered her fingers in self-­defense. She slunk past a peep show window, then nipped into an alley. A second later her bright red head popped out – the hand clutching the throat is her own, in the classic strangulation bit of vaudeville. “I wouldn’t say I invented tack,” Bette Midler observed, nasally, “but I definitely brought it to its present high popularity.” Though meant as a self-effacing remark, it is true. Her virtual one-woman Broadway show this season has been the biggest hit by a solo artist since she herself last brightened the Great White Way in 1973. It was getting late, and Bette sped three blocks to the Minskoff Theatre. In just a few hours she and The Divine Miss M, her adopted alter ego, were due on stage. After a 15-month separation, which allowed Bette time to sort out her personal life, the two personas had come together again in the blockbuster Clams on the Half Shell Revue. The Lilliputian (5’1″) lady of song describes herself: “Bette Midler is a nice girl, but The Divine Miss M is hell-on-wheels. She runs around the room, breathes heavy and puffs me up. She changed me from a pauper to a princess. Yet I was glad not to see her, to be quiet for awhile.” When Miss M was first and last on Broadway, at the Palace in 1973, she set that theater’s box-office record for advance ticket sales in a single day – $160,000. Before that her national concert tour grossed over $3 million. Her full-throttle delivery of nostalgia cum schlock and her raunchy campy flair for parody were catapulting her toward massive stardom. Two albums had gone gold to confirm it. When Bette abruptly dropped out for more than a year, show business minds boggled. Was she going to blow it all – the record deals, the TV specials, Las Vegas, the movies? At 29, Midler has confounded the industry again, coming back to triumph. Clams’ run was extended from four to 10 weeks. The Minskoff’s box office set a new one-day record of over $200,000: the show overall will have grossed some $1.8 million. Most critics hurrahed. Packed audiences rolled over and begged. In the past Midler’s devotees were largely the gaily liberated; this time they were as broad as her repertoire, spanning four decades. Directed by Joe Layton in vast goofy sets by Tony Walton, she was a showpiece of exhausting versatility, singing, dancing, bringing an SRO house to its feet night after night. She tackled Elton John’s The Bitch Is Back in trampish rapport with The Harlettes, her backup group; tenderized When a Man Loves a Woman; and belted out favorites from her albums like Friends and Delta Dawn. The act, which she styles “trash with flash” and “sleaze with ease,” included adlibbed asides – “I digress” – a rekindling of risqué Sophie Tucker jokes and a collection of shrewd impersonations. In the second act she was joined by big-band vibraphonist Lionel Hampton in a guest spot, inspiring nostalgiacs as much as Bette’s Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy. Hurrying into the Minskoff that afternoon, Bette changed into pink cushioned slippers and clambered into the orchestra pit to shine up her act. At the piano, her musical director, Don York, banged out frantic chords as she deliberately gasped her way through “here it comes. . . here it comes. . . here it comes. . . my 19th nervous breakdown.” York started to hum along, and she eyed him curiously. “Don’t sing, honey,” she jabbed. “You play. I’ll sing.” York chain-smoked cigarettes, Bette nibbled on sliced steak from Sardi’s. The rehearsal ended at 6 p.m. York, who signed on with Midler last December, says, “Bette knows how to put a ballad over. The first time she did If Love Were All in rehearsal, she broke down and couldn’t get through it. She is open to a lot of pain as well as a lot of joy.” One factor in Midler’s taking her sabbatical, York says, was the decision by her previous musical director, Barry Manilow, to strike out on a solo performing career (PEOPLE, Aug. 26, 1974). “They had a strong communication worked out,” York explains. “It was hard for Bette to accept someone else’s presence.” (Manilow broke in York as his successor.) Betty and Barry met five years ago at Manhattan’s Continental Baths, where she performed for $50 a night for 16 weeks before an all-male and heavily homosexual audience. Overnight she became a cult figure. Manilow co-produced Bette’s first album, The Divine Miss M, and its successful follow-up, Bette Midler. He says of her simply, “She is the best entertainer I’ve seen in my life.” Bette Midler was born in Honolulu. She does not speak of her childhood there with affection. “My father was a bellower,” she recalls. “To get a word in you had to bellow back. He loved a good argument; he loved the adrenalin rush.” Being Jewish in a community that had no particular regard for Jews further chafed her. (Bette’s father – a house painter for the Navy in Honolulu – has yet to catch her act, vaguely appalled by what he has read of it. But she recalls her mother, who would not let her wear a bra until age 13 despite an ample cleavage, showing up at a 1973 performance and screaming, “Fabulous… I didn’t know she was so witty.”) The young Bette developed an interior life, escaping into trashy southern novels. One day she would draw on these inner reserves to bring a certain tenderness to her life and her art. In her junior year of high school Bette met a friend who “was hysterically loud and loved noise and a good time. I fell in love with her,” Bette remembers. “She was the most adorable thing. She made me feel okay to be who I was, enjoyable, good to have around. My family never made me feel this way. She drew me out of myself.” At the end of Bette’s freshman year at the University of Hawaii, her friend died in an auto accident; five years ago Bette’s sister Judith, to whom she dedicated her first album, was killed in a car crash in New York’s theater district. “She was studying to become a moviemaker,” Bette says, her head drooping. “She was the most brilliant, perceptive, sensitive…” Another sister, Susan, age 30, teaches the mentally retarded in Honolulu; a brother, Daniel, age 24, is himself mentally retarded. Bette left home for Los Angeles after a bit part in the film Hawaii in 1965, then on to New York, supporting herself by random jobs – file clerk at Columbia University, go-go dancer in Union City, N.J. She became an unsalaried singer in Village coffee houses. After a few bleak years, she landed a chorus spot in Fiddler on the Roof, soon graduating to the role of Tevye’s eldest daughter. Then one day she learned the Continental Baths was starting entertainment. From there she sprang, on gaudy platform heels, to both a Grammy and a Tony in 1973, and a gold mine. This was a girl who “couldn’t imagine parents tighter than mine.” Bette met Aaron Russo, her manager, while working small clubs in Chicago. His career was at low ebb, hers beginning to catch fire. “We met,” she says, “and it was instant love and devotion. Ours is a long and interesting tale… ah, Aaron and Bette. There’s a great deal of love and terrible rows. He’s a lot like my father. He’s a bellower and in that way he intimidates people, but he’s a real softie underneath. But that’s what my mother says about my father, and I don’t believe it.” Coming off a Russo-directed four month concert tour in 1973, Bette recalls, “I was so battered emotionally and physically that I thought I would break down. I’d been in four or five cities a week with the same people who would always come to me with their problems. I had no one to talk to. Aaron and I had one of our famous battles, and he didn’t go on tour.” She decided she had to split. After luxuriating on the Caribbean island of Grenada (“I caught the first plane out after the revolution”) and visiting her family in Honolulu, Bette toured France for several months. “I had a mad, torrid love affair with a Frenchman,” she recalls casually. “I really liked him for about two days, and then he held me captive. I want to go back to Paris. I loved the food. The people are awful. Next time I want to tell ’em so.” Russo – who is legally separated from his wife of seven years – remains in firm control of Midler’s career, if not her entire life any longer. (Bette’s liaisons, averaging one a year, have been mostly with musicians and men on the staff of her shows.) Russo’s present plans for his star include cutting an album this summer, a cross-coun­try tour this fall and a “movie deal for a feature starring Bette Midler that is close.” A television special is scheduled for March. Gypsy-like in jeans, a blouse tied at the midriff and a faded scarf covering hair curlers, Bette lives contentedly in a modest Village house. Her living room is wall-to-wall books and records, including every album made by her idol Aretha Franklin. A professional hair dryer decorates the small study, and there is a single, tiny bedroom. She is attended by a male live-in secretary. “I think I’m a millionaire,” she haphazardly responds to a question about finances. “I’m learning to have a good time with money. You have to learn to spend it when you come from none. Or else I give it away to Channel 13 or Ramsey Clark.” With Clams on the Half Shell now a memory, Midler and Russo are especially intrigued by TV. Michael Eisner, ABC vice-president for primetime series, says, “We’re in discussion right now with Bette Midler. In my opinion she has tremendous television potential.” Perhaps thinking of Bette’s uninhibited ways, he adds, “You can­not judge her performance in one situation and automatically assume she would do the same thing in a different medium.” Recently, however, Bette, appearing on a United Jewish Appeal telethon in New York, sang four songs and announced she would drop her black sequin dress for a pledge of $5,000. A caller offered the sum immediately. The Divine Miss M stripped down to a chemise slip and shrieked “Kiss my tuches!” Bette is happily eyeing her television prospects, “but not a series,” she told one reporter. “I couldn’t cut that Mary Tyler-Rhoda crap.” What about a film autobiography of Bette Midler? “Not me,” she says, recoiling from the suggestion. The Divine Miss M? “No. Well,” says Bette Midler, “maybe something like The Perils of the Divine Miss M.”
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Wednesday, September 9, 2015

BetteBack U.S. Circuit Court of appeals has upheld a $400,000 award granted Bette Midler

New Castle News September 23, 1991 377155_221721764568135_221327031274275_535546_797708670_n The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of appeals has upheld a $400,000 award granted Bette Midler after the singer sued an advertising agency that used a “ soundalike” singer for a television commercial. “ We’re very pleased that the Court of Appeals has upheld the property rights which performers have in their voices,” Peter Laird, Midler’s attorney, said Friday. A federal jury in Los Angeles found in 1988 that Young & Rubicam violated Midler’s exclusive right to her vocal style by having another singer, Ula Hedwig, mimic Midler’s version of the song “ Do You Wanna Dance?”
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Thursday, September 3, 2015

BetteBack May 30, 1991: Joan Rivers Waiting For Bette Midler To Retire

Cedar Rapids Gazette May 30, 1991 BetteRivers Joan Rivers, who’s been trying to snare a big-screen project for years, says. “I’m now’ waiting for Bette Midler to retire and then I’ll get all her parts.” To hear the comedienne/talk show hostess tell it. “I get all the scripts with Bette’s fingerprints on them. She was right to rejectthem — I did. too.” Rivers has given up on ever getting “Star Ladies” off the ground. She wrote the comedy/mystery — about four old-time movie queens vying for the same role — as a feature film vehicle for herself, Angie Dickinson, Kim Novak and Debbie Reynolds, but failed to sell it to a big screen studio. She finally got it into development as an ABC Movie of the Week, but now says. “They couldn’t get the four of us together at the same time.”
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Thursday, August 6, 2015

BetteBack November 23, 1990: Midler album, ‘Some People’s Lives’ offers diversity

Medicine Hat News November 23, 1990 maxresdefault Bette Midler Some People’s Lives (Atlantic) Bette Midler may have been tempted to chum out an album ballads after the success of—her Grammy-winning single Wind Beneath My Wings, but fortunately she stays true to her more diverse nature on Some People’s Lives. Fans of Wind Beneath My Wings need not cast dole fiil looks: Midler has some bittersweet songs to keep them happily melancholy — namely The Girl Is on to You, From a Distance, He Was Too Good to Me/Since You Stayed Here, and the title track. Plus there’s the extra-syrupy, but more grandiose Spring Can Really Hang You Up the Most, a full orchestra ballad that Midler handles appropriately. Yet the opening song. One More Rotmd, a minimalistic dance track, is a self-motivating pep rally for an album of mixed moods. After dispatching the title track, Midler delivers a boisterous cover of Cole Porter’s Miss Otis Regrets. She Isn’t the greatest vocalist around, limited by nasality and an average range, but this track shows Midler is one of the most distinctive and charismatic singers out there.
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Thursday, July 16, 2015

BetteBack March 31, 1990: Rumor Has It That Bette Midler Will Bring ‘Legends’ To The Big Screen

Elyria Chronicle Telegram March 31, 1990 images And rumor has it Disney Studios/Touchstone Pictures has optioned Kirkwood’s play “Legends” which toured the countryside co-starring Mary Martin and Carol Channing, and his book about the show’s development, “Diary of a Mad Playwright” (published last fall). The rumor continues that Bette Midler is interested in bringing the show, or a combination of the show and book, to the big screen. My guess is she’d be cast in the Mary Martin role, the witchier of the two has been screen characters in the show.

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    Saturday, July 4, 2015

    BetteBack February 8, 1990: ‘Stella’ Review – Midler Gives A Performance That Rivals Those Of ‘The Rose’ And ‘Beaches’

    Anderson Herald Bulletin February 8, 1990 378070_221794387894206_221327031274275_536341_1251596074_n It’s 1989. Life isn’t the greatest for Stella, but It lsnt too bad She has a job and a place of her own, and she is happy most of the time. Bartending may not be the most glamorous of jobs, but it pays the bills. Then one day she finds herself pregnant by a medical student who has been frequenting the bar. They love each other, but oil and water just dont mix Stella raises the child herself. She gives the child love, but can she give her happiness, success…? This Is the age old dilemma of parents who will always struggle to give their children the best The parents who may doubt their own abilities, who may feel that they have failed, and yet they continue to sacrifice their own happiness for that of their children. It is In that sacrificial giving that they find their true reward. The script for this film Is frequently very weak. Bette Midler does an excellent job of covering many of these weaknesses, but there’s only so much that she can do. She has managed to give us a performance that rivals those in “THE ROSE” and “BEACHES.” Trinl Alvarado, who plays her daughter Jenny for the majority of the film, does an excellent job too. She works well with Midler And serves as a counterpoint to Midler’s struggles as a mother toy showing us a few of the struggles of a daughter. The focus, however, remains on Stella. It is her story. It is her struggle. She has tried to live her life the best way she knows how. She has tried to show her daughter love. And in her struggle to give her daughter happiness and to help her achieve success, she shows us just how much can be accomplished when you give your love so completely to another. PG-13 for language. (Dont forget your kleenex!)
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    Saturday, June 20, 2015

    BetteBack February 1, 1990: Remake Of ‘Stella Dallas’ Addresses Problems Of Single Moms

    Santa Fe New Mexican February 1, 1990 MV5BNDA5ODYwNDQwNF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwNjM1NDgwMw@@._V1_SX640_SY720_ LOS ANGELES — “Oh, I can’t go on!” Bette Midler exclaimed in mock despair in the middle of an interview. She seemed to be her usual kidding self, but her eyes were misting, and she called for a tissue. What caused the sudden surge, of emotion? It happened when she was asked if her own mother had made sacrifices similar to those of Midler in her new film, Stella, based on the twice-filmed tear-jerker Stella Dallas. •- The co-production of Touchstone Pictures and Samuel Goldwyn has been updated and altered to fit 1990s audiences, but the basic plot is the same: A single mother agrees to send the daughter she loves to live with the girl’s wealthy father. “My mother is the inspiration for my characterization of Stella,” Midler said. “My mother was indomitable; she had great will and great strength. That’s what 1 tried to bring to this character. She has no self-pity; she just gets on with it. My mother was just like that. “I tend to be on the maudlin side. I tend to say, ‘Why is this happening to me? Why? Why? Why?’ To Stella and rny mother thnt never crosses their minds. They don’t sail through life; they get through it, at all costs. “My mother was not at all a stage mother. She raised four children. She never worked in the real world; she was a homemaker who worked really hard. She kept four children pressed and cleaned and ironed. She was a great mom; she taught me to read when I was about 4 years old. “My parents had no money. We all had a sense of humor and a healthy respect for other people. We learned kindness, we learned all the good things: to work hard, to compromise, to get along, to respect other people’s property and other people’s achievements. I couldn’t ask for a better set of parents. “My father was not affectionate. He never praised me too highly so that I would get a swollen head. 1 should thank him for that every day of my life, because I have a certain amount of humility and I take everything with a grain of salt, all success and all failure.” Her assessment of her father has mellowed; she used to remark that he “was one of those poo-poohers — ‘You’ll never amount to a hill of beans.’ ” Both her parents have died. It was on the matter of sacrifices that the actress started to emotionally break up. She quipped her way out of it and switched to other matters. Such as why she chose Sfella, a role the late Barbara Stanwyck made famous in 1937. “Even though people remember it as just this side of melodrama or being a tearjerker, it’s not that to me. It’s a. serious, straightforward examination of a single mother’s life in these times. “In Barbara Stanwyck’s version, Stella was a party gal, a conniver. Even though she did put her daughter first, she was taking the girl’s father to the cleaners. Basically, she didn’t love him, but she set her cap to marry him. It was more of picture about class. “All those aspects of her character were left by the wayside in our picture. She’s not a schemer. She gets pregnant but she doesn’t marry because she knows they would never have a real marriage. She lets him go.” Despite the heavy dramatics of Stella, she considers The Rose her biggest challenge. “The Rose had more bravura scenes,” Midler said. “That remains my favorite picture to this day. That’s no disrespect to my directors and co-stars in later years. I’ve had great directors, and many of them have become good friends. “But The Rose was my first picture. It was a charmed experience, and I had a wonderful crew and co-workers. You never forget the first one.” Midler (named for Bette Davis) grew up on Oahu in Hawaii, where her parents, had relocated from New Jersey. She endured taunts as the only Jew in her school and found refuge in splashy MGM musicals. “Million Dollar Mermaid was my favorite,” she said. “I’m like an Esther Williams fanatic. She was in her own special world at MGM, and it made quite an impression on me.” After studying theater at the University of Hawaii, she assaulted New York but could find work only as a hat check girl, glove seller and go-go dancer. Her luck changed after chorus work in Fiddler on the Roof. and her bombastic personality made her a huge hit in clubs and concerts. Despite her Academy Award nomination for The Rose, Hollywood didn’t seem to know what to do with her. Jinxed was the only film offer, and it lived up to its title. In her own words, her film career “went down the toilet.” The turning point came when she married her husband, promoter Martin von Haselberg. “He brought a kind of stability and grace into my life when I didn’t have them,” she said. “He’s very protective, but he’s also very amusing and he has great kindness. He helps me organize my thoughts in a way that I never did before. “We were not married very long when the Down and Out in Beverly Hills script came in. It was not a starring part and it was a low salary, and it was presented to rne in such a way that it hurt me and made me think 1 wasn’t worth anything. He told me 1 should -do it.” After Down and Out, Ruthless People. Outrageous Fortune and Big Business, she is now treated with great respect by Touchstone Pictures and has her own production company at the Disney studio. Her first production was Beaches. “That was another dream of mine: to be able to work at Disney.” she said, “i/grew up on the Disney cartoon characters, and 1 always wanted to be part of their world.”

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