"I was always cool,"
March 5, 2002 3:57 PM   Subscribe

"I was always cool," Mr. Manilow said with a laugh. "Everyone else is just catching up now." [NYT link]
posted by swell (30 comments total)
so. who is going to break it to him.
posted by quonsar at 4:05 PM on March 5, 2002

Manilow rocks -- it does. not. get. any. better. than "Copacabana." Seriously. Sing it with me: "Her name was Lola...she was a showgirl...!" You know you want to sing it.
posted by davidmsc at 4:14 PM on March 5, 2002

davidmsc, even your typed rendition makes me want to smack you, real hard, across the face.
posted by argybarg at 4:34 PM on March 5, 2002

"There was blood and a single gunshot, but just who slapped who?"
posted by mr_crash_davis at 4:37 PM on March 5, 2002

I suppose one should have expected to be subjected to such a brain dart as was thrown by davidmsc, but damn, now I'll have to hum "Girl from Ipanema" to get that cursed ManilowStrosity out of my skull. "Abandon all hope ye who enter here" should be on the fp.
posted by gnz2001 at 4:41 PM on March 5, 2002

Now I'm thinking of my sisters' pantomime rendition of Copcabana. My middle sister's acting out of Rico was something to behold, coming from a 10-yr-old.

Btw, there's a real Copacabana in NYC; I went one night with 7 guys to dance to the live salsa/merengue bands. And no, they didn't play any Manilow.
posted by meep at 4:42 PM on March 5, 2002

But Meep, was there a Rico? Did he wear a diamond? Oh, you sons of bitches are on my list now. Even Girl from Ipanema can't fix this.
posted by headspace at 4:59 PM on March 5, 2002

I used to work for Manilow. He really does put on one hell of a show, and he's a really nice guy. He's not cool, and never really was, but the guy can totally bring down the house and he really does make all the young girls middle aged women cry.

Actually, he was probably pretty cool in the baths with Bette. It was way before my time, but it sounds like it was hipper than hell if you swung that way.

I do know he seemed to be highly motivated when Tony Bennett was popular again for like a minute, and it sounds like he's trying to say it enough to capture that magic for himself. I'm sure he thinks if he can just get over the yeah right factor, he could be there again. Maybe he can. I don't know about you guys, but I'm ready for a little kitsch in my music.
posted by willnot at 4:59 PM on March 5, 2002

Manilow rocks... that's right; I said it. You know you know the songs, you know you know the words, so don't even try to pretend you don't.

Maybe it was that 8-track your parents had, perhaps it was even on the radio when you were a kid, but you not only remember the music but you know you tap your feet when you hear him singin'...

And even if you do hate him, which I'm sure you don't, you certainly like Barry more than country music!
posted by crankydoodle at 5:24 PM on March 5, 2002

*holding self tightly and shuddering, head cocked to one side and eyes staring straight into space*
"talll...and tan.....and dark and lovely...the girl...from ipanema...goes"

Seriously though, him saying that does make him cool. I mean, come on. That's hilarious.
posted by Settle at 5:27 PM on March 5, 2002

posted by Settle at 5:29 PM on March 5, 2002

I got to see Barry Manilow in back in 1975. I'll never forget 8th row center, I cried my eyes out...
posted by redhead at 5:45 PM on March 5, 2002


I like quite a bit of country music and, although I know Barry Manilow's music, I really, truly dislike it. Long before the urge to "tap my feet" ever shows up, I act on my urge to either turn off his music or leave the area if I cannot turn it off.

It is possible to simply dislike something, as opposed to refusing to admit you like it.
posted by argybarg at 5:45 PM on March 5, 2002

Btw, there's a real Copacabana in NYC

Yeah, like one of the most famous nightclubs there ever was, the one the song was about? And the subject of 1947's "Copacabana," starring Groucho Marx and Carmen Miranda?
posted by rodii at 6:04 PM on March 5, 2002

What most people don't know is that Barry really DOES write the songs that make the whole world sing: He's personally responsible for a terrifyingly large percentage of the advertising jingles we've all grown up humming. Open up your favorite "illegal" P2P file-trading program and download a copy of the track entitled "A Very Strange Medley (V.S.M.)", from the album Barry Manilow Live. Then sit back, listen and be amazed. Then be even more amazed that the track only covers his moonlighting career up to 1976.
posted by aaron at 7:00 PM on March 5, 2002

Okay, did anyone else here do cotillion? You know, ballroom dancing lessons for 7th and 8th grade geeky kids? It doesn't get any weirder, let me tell you, than doing the walking foxtrot to "Daybreak." Wearing white gloves!!
posted by JanetLand at 7:01 PM on March 5, 2002

JanetLand: Yes, I did cotillion. Only, I was doing it in the days when they taught you the Jitterbug. The music was just as bad, but in a 1940's-1950's kind of way.

Uh. All those adolescent social anxieties just came rushing back, like a hot kiss at the end of a wet fist. I hadn't thought about cotillion in years. It didn't work, BTW. I remained a hopeless socially inept geek.
posted by Slithy_Tove at 9:17 PM on March 5, 2002

I prefer Gordon Lightfoot.
posted by ParisParamus at 9:24 PM on March 5, 2002

like a hot kiss at the end of a wet fist

Ooh, it's Nick Danger!
posted by rodii at 9:33 PM on March 5, 2002

Manilow may be cool. And while I'm not a fan of his by any means, he does have a considerable amount of hits in his belt. But, I downloaded his latest single, "Turn the Radio Up", and all I could think was how 70's it sounded. Of course, I wasn't alive in the 70's, but...it just didn't sound modern...that's all.
posted by jacobw at 9:57 PM on March 5, 2002

Actually, willnot and redhead's posts reminded me of Joe Queenan's account in Red Lobster, White Trash, Blue Lagoon. Queenan's a snarky dude, and sets out to find the worst that American culture has to offer, and then critically tears them apart. Fun reading, if you're into that sort of thing (and yes, he gouges some of my sacred cows, too.) At one point, he goes to a Barry Manilow concert and -- well, he can't do it.

At intermission, I had to step outside to gather my wits. Was I simply pretending to have a good time because I didn't want the plump young woman next to me to feel bad? No, that wouldn't have been like me, for I am, and always have been, a prick. Was I growing nostalgic for the seventies? Unlikely - Nixon, Carter, Andy Gibb. Or was I gradually losing my mind?

Sounds like he was pretty blown away by the connection between Manilow and his fans, and got caught up in it. Which is impressive, considering what Queenan was setting out to do.
posted by swell at 11:17 PM on March 5, 2002

Of course, I wasn't alive in the 70's, but...it just didn't sound modern...that's all.

Zatz zee whole point kiddo.

My babysitter once stole my mom's Manilow LP's. Holy shit, did that turn into a war between her and the babysitter's mother.

I like Barry Manilow.
posted by crasspastor at 11:38 PM on March 5, 2002

Until JanetLand mentioned "Daybreak" I had completely repressed the memory of a session we had during training as teaching assistants when I was in grad school. The basic point of the presentation was that people have different learning styles, and somehow the happy and peppy and extremely bizarre professor ended by playing a tape of "Daybreak".
posted by elgoose at 12:04 AM on March 6, 2002

...and let's not forget the theme to "American Bandstand!" Chock full of aural goodness!
posted by davidmsc at 3:13 AM on March 6, 2002

As a stagehand, i hear lots of Barry Manilow stories.

First, all the stagehands i know have a nickname for him: Barely Manenough.

Then i heard the story about how at his shows, when he's in front of stage hands, he makes them turn their backs to him.

how rude and arrogant.
posted by ewwgene at 3:53 AM on March 6, 2002

He didn't write that Bandstand music, though -- just the lyrics IIRC. The music dates back to the 50s.
posted by litlnemo at 3:54 AM on March 6, 2002

I love Barry Manilow. It's probably a holdover from my childhood (my parents were big "light" radio listeners), but I know all the words to all his hits, and John Denver, and Harry Chapin, and Jim Croce...
posted by eilatan at 6:20 AM on March 6, 2002

"if i could save time in a bottle..."
posted by quonsar at 6:45 AM on March 6, 2002

Three of the top 10 live concerts I've ever attended were Barry Manilow gigs. Seriously. The showmanship and rapport with the audience are remarkable and the enthusiasm is infectious. Never forget that Manilow was Bette Midler's musical director for several years; the good time parallels between their concerts are clear. (Another three of the top 10 were Midler concerts, natch.)
posted by bradlands at 12:13 PM on March 6, 2002

"It is possible to simply dislike something, as opposed to refusing to admit you like it."

I was kidding... kind of. :)

And while I hate most country music with a passion beyond comprehension, I must say I know most of the words to "The Gambler" by Kenny Rogers and do some foot tappin' myself when I hear his music.
posted by crankydoodle at 5:26 PM on March 7, 2002

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