In The Number Ones, I’m reviewing eexceptionally single #1 single in the background of the Billboard Hot 100, founding via the chart’s beginning, in 1958, and working my means up right into the current.
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Your ex is through somebody else, doing fine currently. You’re with somebody else, and also you’re also doing fine now. And yet everytime you watch this perboy, you plunge yourself right into a memory-haze, feeling the tug of old feelings, wondering what might’ve been if one or both of you hadn’t messed whatever up. That’s a pretty prevalent feeling. It’s probably a more prevalent feeling now than it was in 1977, given that there’s a good possibility you’re Facebook friends with your ex. But in 1977, when human being still had actually to run into their exes at parties or whatever, that feeling still acquired a drippy Barry Manilow ballad dedicated to it.
Around the moment that Barry Manilow gained to #1 with 1976’s “I Write The Songs,” he supposedly determined what the world wanted from him. He could sing silly, frisky, jazzy numbers, yet those songs weren’t what the human being wanted from him. They wanted huge, grand, feelings-on-display screen adult-contempo ballads full of pianos and also woodwinds and also showy Broadway notes.
Manilow was self-aware around this. He hadn’t written “I Write The Songs,” but shortly afterwards, he composed a song referred to as “I Really Do Write The Songs,” a meta-parody of the ballads that had actually made him famous: “Love that chorus! / Shove that chorus! / Never overlook offering it a hook!” On the demo of that song, Manilow belts all that cynical stuff out via the exact same hammy sincerity that he offered for his actual ballads. Manilow didn’t release “I Really Do Write The Songs” until decades later on, as soon as it came out as a reissue bonus track. While he was on height, he wasn’t going to break kayfabe.
In any type of case, you can hear that formula at job-related on “Looks Like We Made It,” Manilow’s 3rd and also last #1. Just like Manilow’s two previous #1 hits, Manilow didn’t compose “Looks Like We Made It.” Instead, the song’s music came from Ricdifficult Kerr, the pianist who’d already co-wrote the 1975 #1 “Mandy.” (No surprise that it sounds a entirety lot favor “Mandy.”) The lyrics, meanwhile, were composed by Will Jennings, a ballad specialist who will certainly show up in this column a bunch of times over the decades.
The one real great trick of “Looks Like We Made It” is that it sounds choose a love song — a pair celebrating their resilience after making it through some stuff — while it’s really around the truth that they’re no much longer a pair anymore: “Do you love him as a lot as I love her? / And will that love be strong when old feelings begin to stir?” But that ex-factor feeling is a facility one, and “Looks Like We Made It” is not an especially complex song. Instead, Jennings’ lyrics spell those feelings out pretty clumsily: “Oh no, we made it / Left each other on the method to an additional love / Looks favor we made it / Or I thought so till now.”
Barry Manilow has actually never been an especially subtle singer, and on “Looks Like We Made It,” he takes a bittersweet idea and also almost entirely drowns out the bitter through the sweet. That’s most likely why so many civilization hear “Looks Like We Made It” as a love song: Manilow never before tries to sing it as anything else. He piles on the precise histrionics, belting out that title via a dopey and unconflicted force.
Like “Mandy” and “I Write The Songs” prior to it, “Looks Like We Made It” is a pleasant and professional item of music. Manilow’s obtained an exceptional voice, and also he’s not shy about mirroring it off. He and also producer Ron Dante pile on the strings, which provides for a totality lot of significant, crashing moments. And yet Manilow never before seems emotionally linked to the song in any type of actual means, and also the whole point just progressively wafts off into the air like a fart on a heat day.
Barry Manilow would proceed to be a reputable hit-machine for the next few years. He’s a quintvital ’70s artist, and also he pretty much stopped making crossover hits as quickly as the decade ended. (Manilow’s last top-10 single, 1980’s “I Made It Through The Rain,” peaked at #10. It’s a 4.) And long after that run of singles, Manilow stayed a huge album seller and live attract. Adult-contemporary radio has constantly been his kingdom, and also he kept scoring massive hits on the AC chart right into this decade.
As much as the pop charts are concerned, Manilow just really branched out of his ballad zone when. The irresistible and deeply silly story-song “Copacabana (At The Copa)” wasn’t Manilow’s biggest hit. (It peaked at #8 in 1978, and also it’s an 8.) But it’s conveniently the ideal of Manilow’s huge songs, and I’d argue that it’s the best-remembered, too. In any case, I’m pretty sure it’s the just among Manilow’s songs that has actually been adjusted into a movie. In 1985, Manilow starred in a made-for-TV function adaptation referred to as Copacabana. Outside of the odd winky cameo wbelow he plays himself, it’s Manilow’s just acting duty.
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Barry Manilow is fine. His keeps placing out greatest-hits albums, and they save selling. He’s got a Las Vegas display best now, and also he’s obtained a musical going right into manufacturing in New York next year. He’s incredibly well-off. I don’t have actually any kind of genuine usage for his drippy ballads, but someone plainly does, so excellent for him. He made it.
BONUS BEATS: Here’s the little bit from a 1996 Friends episode where Ross and also his monvital get a goodbye montage set to “Looks Like We Made It”: