In The Number Ones, I’m reviewing every single #1 single in the history of the Billboard Hot 100, founding with the chart’s start, in 1958, and working my means up into the current.
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Your ex is via somebody else, doing fine currently. You’re via somebody else, and also you’re additionally doing fine currently. And yet everytime you view this perboy, you plunge yourself 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 more than likely a more prevalent feeling now than it remained in 1977, since there’s a good opportunity you’re Facebook friends through your ex. But in 1977, as soon as human being still had to run right into their exes at parties or whatever before, that feeling still obtained a drippy Barry Manilow ballad dedicated to it.
Around the moment that Barry Manilow got to #1 via 1976’s “I Write The Songs,” he supposedly determined what the civilization wanted from him. He could sing silly, friskies, jazzy numbers, yet those songs weren’t what the world wanted from him. They wanted massive, grand also, feelings-on-screen adult-contempo ballads complete of pianos and also woodwinds and showy Broadmeans notes.
Manilow was self-mindful about this. He hadn’t written “I Write The Songs,” yet soon after that, he wrote a song dubbed “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 before overlook offering it a hook!” On the demo of that song, Manilow belts all that cynical stuff out via the very same hammy sincerity that he offered for his actual ballads. Manilow didn’t release “I Really Do Write The Songs” until decades later on, once it came out as a reproblem bonus track. While he was on height, he wasn’t going to break kayfabe.
In any situation, you deserve to hear that formula at work-related on “Looks Like We Made It,” Manilow’s 3rd and last #1. Just like Manilow’s 2 previous #1 hits, Manilow didn’t compose “Looks Like We Made It.” Instead, the song’s music came from Rictough Kerr, the pianist who’d already co-created the 1975 #1 “Mandy.” (No surpincrease that it sounds a whole lot like “Mandy.”) The lyrics, meanwhile, were created by Will Jennings, a ballad specialist who will certainly appear in this column a bunch of times over the decades.
The one actual great trick of “Looks Like We Made It” is that it sounds like a love song — a couple celebrating their resilience after surviving some stuff — while it’s really about the reality that they’re no much longer a pair anymore: “Do you love him as a lot as I love her? / And will certainly that love be strong as soon as old feelings start to stir?” But that ex-element feeling is a complex one, and “Looks Like We Made It” is not a specifically complicated song. Instead, Jennings’ lyrics spell those feelings out pretty clumsily: “Oh no, we made it / Left each other on the method to another love / Looks prefer we made it / Or I believed so till this particular day.”
Barry Manilow has actually never before been a specifically subtle singer, and on “Looks Like We Made It,” he takes a bittersweet principle and also practically totally drowns out the bitter via the sweet. That’s more than likely why so many kind of human being hear “Looks Like We Made It” as a love song: Manilow never tries to sing it as anything else. He piles on the precise histrionics, belting out that title with a dopey and also unconflicted pressure.
Like “Mandy” and “I Write The Songs” before it, “Looks Like We Made It” is a pleasant and also skilled piece of music. Manilow’s gained an superior voice, and also he’s not shy around showing it off. He and producer Ron Dante pile on the strings, which renders for a whole lot of substantial, crashing moments. And yet Manilow never before appears emotionally associated to the song in any kind of real means, and the whole point simply slowly wafts off right into the air like a fart on a warmth day.
Barry Manilow would proceed to be a trustworthy hit-machine for the following few years. He’s a quintessential ’70s artist, and also he pretty a lot stopped making crossover hits as soon as the decade ended. (Manilow’s last top-10 single, 1980’s “I Made It Thunstable The Rain,” peaked at #10. It’s a 4.) And long after that run of singles, Manilow stayed a huge album seller and live draw. Adult-modern radio has actually always been his kingdom, and also he kept scoring massive hits on the AC chart into this decade.
As far as the pop charts are came to, Manilow only really branched out of his ballad zone once. The irresistible and deeply silly story-song “Copacabana (At The Copa)” wasn’t Manilow’s best hit. (It peaked at #8 in 1978, and it’s an 8.) But it’s easily the ideal of Manilow’s substantial songs, and I’d argue that it’s the best-remembered, also. In any kind of instance, I’m pretty certain it’s the only among Manilow’s songs that has been adapted right into a movie. In 1985, Manilow starred in a made-for-TV attribute adaptation referred to as Copacabana. Outside of the odd winky cameo where he plays himself, it’s Manilow’s just acting duty.
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Barry Manilow is fine. His keeps putting out greatest-hits albums, and they store marketing. He’s got a Las Vegas present ideal currently, and also he’s obtained a musical going right into manufacturing in New York following year. He’s incredibly wealthy. I don’t have actually any kind of actual usage for his drippy ballads, however someone plainly does, so good for him. He made it.
BONUS BEATS: Here’s the little from a 1996 Friends episode wbelow Ross and his monvital obtain a goodbye montage collection to “Looks Like We Made It”: