So, we definitely don’t have a 4th punk rock album in a row today. Some people might think I was threatened in order to include this album, and while that is in fact true, Barry Manilow has been an important part of my life in many ways. I had to include at least one Manilow album, and I chose this one as I also had it growing up, and “Live” not only sets up one of the best stories of my life, it also is pretty much a Manilow’s greatest hits collection.
The year was 1977, I believe. I was ten years old, and my parents decided the whole family was going with our friends (another family of four) to see Barry himself at Red Rocks, pictured on my blog and my favorite concert venue in the world. Back then, Red Rocks did NOT sell alcohol, so if you wanted a beer, you had to sneak them in. My parents wanted to sit on one of the “picnic” open seating areas on the side, so they brought sleeping bags and blankets to lay out for all of us. Taking one of the sleeping bags, they packed it full of Busch beer cans, and gave it to me to sneak in on their behalf. Yes… their ten-year-old son. I looked at this overstocked bag that looked like it had the mumps, and knew this wasn’t going to fly. Not surprisingly, I was stopped by security quickly and the beers were dumped out, or probably consumed by the staff who had to actually work the Manilow show. If you know me… and you wonder why I have so many issues, this helps to explain a lot.
Turning to the album itself, it is Barry playing live in front of his home-town fans in New York City. As I said, you pretty much get all of the hits here, including his collection of commercial jingles he had written, “A Very Strange Medley”. “Why Don’t We Live Together”, “Looks Like We’ve Made It”, “This One’s For You”, “Weekend In New England”, “It’s a Miracle”, “I Write the Songs”, and an interesting combination of “Could It Be Magic” and “Mandy”. “Mandy” will always be my favorite Barry song for two reasons. One, it is a really nicely written song, making full use of the key change momentum build. Secondly, our second Alaskan Malamute was named Mandy after this song, and she was truly a precious angel of a dog, I loved her so.
So, yes… I may have been STRONGLY encouraged by an amazing person who I love dearly, who also happens to be a Manilow maniac, to include this album on my list. Listening to this album again was a great walk down memory lane, with many more fun moments to anticipate. So, Christie… as Barry would say, “This One’s For You”.