1977 was a whirlwind year for Melissa Manchester. The singer-songwriter toured North America's arenas and amphitheaters that summer with Leo Sayer before launching a solo tour in the fall that attracted the attention of none other than Bob Dylan, who attended the Minneapolis date. Melissa played Carnegie Hall, appeared on network television specials, taped a memorable commercial with Ella Fitzgerald, and released her sixth studio album, Singin'. But that wasn't all.
On October 30, 1977 at Gainesville, Florida's Great Southern Music Hall, Melissa recorded her first (and only!) live album. The electrifying double album for Arista Records captured her in front of an audibly appreciative college audience, leading a smoking-hot seven-piece band of rock, R&B, and jazz veterans including two KISS collaborators - saxophonist/keyboardist/musical director Tom Saviano (Dolly Parton, Earth Wind & Fire) and bassist Bill Bodine (Van Morrison, Cher) - plus drummer Art Rodriguez (Rickie Lee Jones, Manhattan Transfer) and Melissa's discovery Lenny Castro, now one of the most-recorded percussionists of all time. Yet Arista shockingly consigned the Gainesville recordings to the shelf, where they've remained completely unheard...until now. On May 6, Melissa Manchester's Live '77 makes its long-overdue debut from Second Disc Records and Real Gone Music as a deluxe 2-CD set.
The 21 songs on Live '77 - joyful, sensual, romantic, optimistic, spellbinding, and ultimately empowering - spoke directly to the thoughts and emotions of the young audience in 1977. Moreover, they have proven timeless over the ensuing decades. These include Manchester's hits "Midnight Blue," "Better Days," and the song Bob Dylan admired, "Just You and I," as well as the now-standard "Come in from the Rain," fan favorites "We've Got Time," "Happy Endings," and "Caravan," and spirited covers of such beloved tunes as "I Wanna Be Where You Are," "Rescue Me," and "Monkey See, Monkey Do." In addition to deep cuts such as "O Heaven (How You've Changed Me)" and "Party Music," Live '77 debuts Melissa's only recording anywhere of the blues classic "Hi-Heel Sneakers." With absolutely no overdubbing or studio wizardry, Live '77 represents the artist at her most searingly raw, emotional, soulful, and rocking. From ravishing ballads to danceable grooves and vibrant jams, Manchester and her band commanded the stage - and that powerful connection between artist and audience is palpable on this recording.
This world premiere release has been mastered from the original stereo tapes by Mike Milchner at SonicVision. The 24-page, full-color booklet designed by John Sellards evokes the era and contains in-depth liner notes by TSD's Joe Marchese based on new interviews with Melissa Manchester and Arista founder and music industry legend Clive Davis. The booklet also features a host of rare and previously unpublished photos by David LeShay and Sherry Rayn Barnett.
Melissa's newest studio album, RE:VIEW, is due for release later this year. A number of singles from RE:VIEW are currently streaming on her YouTube channel. She triumphantly closed the joyous Gainesville concert with a showstopping encore of "No One's Ever Seen This Side of Me." Now, in time for its 45th anniversary, you can finally hear this thrilling side of Melissa Manchester. Live '77 arrives from Second Disc Records and Real Gone Music on Friday, May 6, and you'll find pre-order links and the full track listing below. The first 200 copies ordered directly through Real Gone Music will receive an exclusive autographed booklet!
- Let Me Serenade You
- Party Music
- Happy Endings
- Midnight Blue
- Be Somebody
- This Lady's Not Home
- We've Got Time
- Good News
- I Wanna Be Where You Are
- Monkey See, Monkey Do
- Rescue Me
- Hi-Heel Sneakers
- Be Happy Now
- Better Days/Come In from the Rain
- O Heaven (How You've Changed Me)
- A Love of Your Own
- If It Feels Good (Let It Ride)
- Just You and I
- No One's Ever Seen This Side of Me
All tracks previously unreleased