Barry Manilow will mark the 50th anniversary of his solo career with an exciting vinyl reissue of his debut album - pressed in a way that's not been heard and seen together since it first came out.
The beloved singer/songwriter has been on a hot streak lately that most artists his age would sell their souls for. Already a celebrated draw at the Westgate Las Vegas (his 14th year as a concert act in Sin City, and fast closing in on as many performances at the venue as Elvis Presley), Manilow also saw his long-gestating historical musical Harmony make its New York stage debut in 2022, and is prepping a five-night run at Radio City Music Hall at the end of May and beginning of June - just weeks shy of his 80th birthday.
It was anyone's guess how, if at all, he'd celebrate the release of his self-titled debut album. Barry Manilow was the culmination of several years of hard work behind the scenes in the music business, doing everything from writing still-famous advertising jingles to serving as the musical director for an up-and-coming singer named Bette Midler. Having signed to Bell Records under the auspices of Tony Orlando and releasing a pair of fluffy pop singles under the name "Featherbed," Manilow took a more serious but no less spirited approach for his Bell debut. Working alongside legendary producer Ron Dante and longtime songwriting collaborators like Marty Panzer and Adrienne Anderson, Manilow's first long-player found him commanding the piano on songs like "Sweet Life," the aching "I Am Your Child," and a dramatic Chopin-inspired version of "Could It Be Magic," one of the songs he'd released as Featherbed.
Despite a promising pop pedigree, Barry Manilow was released to little commercial fanfare. But fate has a funny way of working: a year later, Bell was taken over by former Columbia Records exec Clive Davis, who consolidated the roster into his new Arista label. Manilow was one of the few to survive the transition; Davis saw his potential and promoted follow-up Barry Manilow II (1974) with gusto. "Mandy," a reworked version of the Scott English tune "Brandy," was one of Bell's final singles before the changeover, topping both the Billboard Hot 100 and adult contemporary charts. A year later, Barry Manilow was reissued with several songs remixed and reworked; a reissued "Could It Be Magic" became a Top 10 pop and AC hit. The success of that version kept it in print in place of the original for decades; even when Legacy Recordings remastered the album in 2006, only the original cover art was used on the remixed album.
That all changes with this special numbered release, pressed on gold swirl vinyl: both the original artwork and mixes have been restored for the first time since 1973! Fans can experience it again the way it was first heard - certainly an encouraging sign for fans who hope for a version of the original album on CD at some point - and celebrate the flashpoint of Manilow's extraordinary work, brimming with music and passion.