8. Barry Manilow, Open Arms
Readers of Stargayzing know that I am an unabashed “Fanilow”, but for every musical gem Barry has recorded, for instance Mandy or When October Goes, is something regrettable like—well—like anything recorded after, say, 1990. Though I have always given Mr. Manilow tremendous credit for essentially creating the “power ballad,” somehow he gets into trouble when he tries to cover other people’s power ballads: to wit, on his dismal opus The Greatest Songs of the Eighties (not to be confused with his other dismal opus, The Greatest Songs of the Seventies), Barry’s naturally schmaltzy inclinations, which can sometimes be so endearing, turn woefully—memorably—wrong as he applies them to other people’s schmaltzy creations.
The Greatest Songs of the Eighties was recorded during Barry’s brief mid-aughts reunion with erstwhile Arista mentor Clive Davis, and the album just wreaks to the high heavens of Clive Davis “high concept.” On this album Barry serves up such a veritable smorgasbord of unbelievable cover songs that it was almost impossible to choose just one for you: and that’s just the 1980s volume! To tell you what I almost chose would rob future blog posts of their mojo, so let’s just say that when it comes The Greatest Songs of the Eighties, Stargayzing readers can look forward to much more kitsch from this kitchen!
More Barry Manilow in Stargayzing:
12 Holiday Songs You’ve (Probably) Never Heard, Day Two: Barry Manilow’s The First Noel/When the Meadow Was Bloomin’
“Looks Like We Didn’t Make It,” Memories From a Karaoke Party I’d Rather Forget!