Friday, August 7, 2015

"Some Kind of Friend" by Barry Manilow

Song#:  1355
Date:  02/26/1983
Debut:  79
Peak:  26
Weeks:  16
Genre:  Pop, Adult Contemporary



Pop Bits:  Manilow's first single from his "Here Comes the Night" album was the #8 AC hit "Memory" (#39 pop), a song from the Broadway musical "Cats." For his follow-up single, Manilow issued this rock-leaning tune that again found a home at AC (#4), yet faltered at pop. The two minor Top 40 entries didn't do much for the album and it ended up being his lowest peaking studio album up to that point fizzling at #32. However, his loyal fans helped make the LP another platinum seller.

ReduxReview:  I consider this album Manilow's desperation shot. He was one of Arista's biggest artists and I'm sure there was pressure on him to produce more hits. That could be felt on this album with its chaotic mish-mash of styles that made it seem like Manilow was just throwing songs at a wall and seeing what might stick. His core audience was getting older and remaining loyal, yet the kids were not coming on board and they were basically treating his music like a joke. In fact, I remember having to be a secret Fanilow around this time because it was definitely not cool to like his music. This song, co-written by Manilow, seemed like his stab to be current. It didn't really work. Rock does not fit Manilow well and he sounds uncomfortable and unconvincing. The song itself sounds like Manilow was trying to retro-fit one of his 70s songs into a modern rock track and it's all a bit odd. I also get the feeling that this album was not a favorite of Manilow's as I believe it is the only full album in his Arista catalog that has not been reissued on CD in the US. I wouldn't consider this song a favorite, but I don't mind if it spins up. It's kind of an interesting curiosity from his hits catalog.

ReduxRating:  5/10

Trivia:  Double Shot!  1) After years of being ignored on the charts in the UK, Manilow's career suddenly surged when his 1980 single "Bermuda Triangle" reached #15. He ended up scoring more hits over the next three years than he did the entire first seven years of his career. It continued when the track "I Wanna Do It with You" from the "Here Comes the Night" album was issued as a single in the UK. The song peaked at #8 and became Manilow's biggest hit on that chart.  2) "Here Comes the Night" also included the album track "Some Girls," written by Nicky Chinn and Mike Chapman. The song was originally a #2 UK hit for the British band Racey. That band was also making some news in the US thanks another remake. Racey's album track "Kitty" got turned into the #1 smash hit "Mickey" by Toni Basil. That song was also a Chinn/Chapman composition.

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3 comments:

  1. A catchy song, and I never forgot the chorus. Maybe it could have used a longer keyboard solo to break it up a bit.

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    1. You are right - it is a catchy song. I've wondered what would have happened if another artist did the song. It might have been a bigger hit if paired with the right artist.

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  2. Or how about a fuller arrangement like It's a Miracle?

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