Monday, June 30, 2008

"But Clive didn't like it, so...."

If you haven't yet, check out the new "Vault" on the new I can only imagine how much stuff got left off the records when the final track list was compiled. Not everyone is going to like every track that gets posted up there but even if that's the case, it's an insight into not only Barry's creative process but into the nuts-and-bolts of how the crew decides which songs end up on which album.

The songs are formatted so that they cannot be imported to iTunes or burned on a CD, etc. That's called a hint, kids, take it. There are two songs up there now, playing in sequence. If TPTB wanted to, there's a way to still encode the songs and have them play separately or on demand. They're smart people, they'll figure it out. >;-)

Fans have been clambering for more new music for - what, months? Years? Well all of these songs recorded years ago are new to us, so it counts. And Barry/TPTB can balance what the fans want to hear and what Clive wants on a record. (We fans all have a little fun at Clive's expense but we know he's part of the brains behind the outfit and if it weren't for his business sense, we wouldn't have Barry's career to enjoy at all.) But to me he's still Mr. Mole.

So - when's the next vault song coming out?

(Addendum 7/1/2008 - I was right! They did figure out how to split up the songs so they each play separately on demand! Nice job, Stiletto. Now, how about floating Barry's notes and the jukebox over your ImageReady slices using >div< tags so that the size can be expanded without screwing up your graphics?)

Friday, June 27, 2008

I'm All Yours For A Song

Are you the kind of person who:
  • Loves Barry Manilow's music, but hates, Hates, HATES being called a fan?
  • Hate the term "Fanilow" unless it applies to children under 10?
  • Not into merchandising?
  • May not be in love with every little thing the man has written/produced/recorded/arranged but can appreciate it nonetheless?
  • Loves cutting lose and getting a little emotional and crazy at a concert - but keeps that emotional overflow in the venue where it belongs?
  • Not into fan clubs but enjoys in-depth discussions about the music and performanes with other fans? (Yeah, see point #1 above, but what other word is there?)
  • Doesn't give a rat's behind where Barry lives?
  • Doesn't give another rat's behind about aspects of his personal life that he doesn't choose to reveal?
Me too!

In fact, there's a lot of us.

Where are they?

Some of them landed at the new Manilow Network that Stiletto set up a couple of months ago.

Back when the Network was launched I blogged about questions of how heavily moderated the site would be, what opinions would be allowed, etc. (Changing the Taste of Love) The reason didn't have to do with Barry, per se. Over the years I've both watched first-hand and heard war stories about "artists" flipping out at their fans if anyone dared not adore their latest effort. These people weren't interested in making music as they were in getting their asses kissed unconditionally. One is a creative drive. The other is a psychological pathology.

So those of us who love to delve into the music - what we love, what we're not sure about, what we really can't stand, why we think or feel a certain way about each piece, our hopes for what's coming next, analysis of shows or records - can coexist peacefully with fans who get excited about different things. And also with TPTB. As far as discussions go, everyone can bring whatever they want or feel to the table. When music and a personality who wants to understand and experience it come together, something new is created, and Stiletto seems to be letting that go where it will. (There's moderation - videos and music were pulled unexpectedly and the prevailing assumption is it had to do with copyright issues.) But creativity and inspiration - positive as well as negative - are allowed to grow.

It's a great feeling!

So even if you're just a "casual fan" and the whole OCD-type of fandom turns you off, you can probably find a place on that Network if you give it a fair shake. It's worth it to find something new in music that we have in common.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

See the Show Again

Q: How can you tell that you are married to the best man on the planet?

A: When he offers to watch the baby for a few days while he sends you to Vegas to see Barry in honor of your birthday in October.


No guarantees, we'll see if it works out.

Any suggestions from the Vegas Veterans out there?

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

In Another World

Looks like one of my wishes came true last night - Barry's show was a blast and he looked like he was having a great time.

Like most people I'm living vicariously through others' experiences so below are links to reviews and pictures.

Why I wish I was there: Adults need adult humor once in a while. Especially when they're cooped up with small children. I love my daughter more than life and I'm glad that we can share music and other times together, but if I don't get a break from having to censor myself, watch out for everything she sees or listens to, and otherwise break down everything I want to say to an almost-3-year-old mentality, I won't be that good a mother for long. After The Littlest Fanilow went to bed we celebrated 6/17 with a private screening of "First & Farewell". This one's off limits to TLF. She's at that age where she repeats everything. If she watched this video I would get a phone call in about a week from the director of her Catholic preschool informing me that she's telling her little friends about "Feel Me Up Elmo." That kind of drama I don't need.

This is why I would give nearly anything to see Barry do a 21+ show, his favorite music to perform (hits or not) and lots of stories from the road and the business over the years. And no self-censoring.

Maybe I really should start putting a plan together for Vegas.................
(mental wheels turning)

Reviews and Photos from June 17:

By Dana on Manilow Network

By Suzanne from Manilow Musings

By Suzanne from Manilow Network (with replies, et al)

From Blogilow: Music and Passion Report

By Lana on Manilow Network

I'll add more as they appear. To all who post, thank you for sharing with the rest of us!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Happy Birthday Barry

Dear Barry,

Hope your upcoming birthday is the best ever. My husband and I got to see you in concert for the first time when you came to Atlanta in March. You can’t imagine how glad we were that you got out of Vegas for that show, especially having to reschedule it. I was going on 6 when “Mandy” was released and it’s one of the first songs I remember. My entire life is full of memories and fun and comforts, whatever was needed, associated with your music – and I just realized that this probably sounds like every last one of millions of letters that you’ve already gotten. It’s just as true for me too.

Atlanta was special because travel has its limits for us – we have a small child at home and a Las Vegas vacation isn’t the best idea for toddlers. But if somehow a way becomes available, we’ll be there. In the mean time we’re having a ball with the DVD from the 100th show.

Our 2-year-old got hooked on your music very suddenly. For a while, even though she was little, she didn’t show any interest in music, even pieces written for children, though her little friends did. I blew it off, thinking she was just a late bloomer in that area. One afternoon I put on your first TV special DVD to enjoy while working around the house. My daughter was engrossed in her toys and I thought she’d ignore it. Instead, about 2 bars into “It’s A Miracle” she drops her toys and just stares at the TV. She watched the entire special, asked to see it again, then asked for other discs in the TV special series. She couldn’t get enough. This went on for weeks. (Weeks? Hell, months later it’s still a routine in our house.) She started picking out favorites, learning lyrics, and dancing to the uptempo numbers. Finally after starting to absorb your music, she started paying attention to children’s’ music. But you’re still the favorite.

It’s hard to describe that moment when a door seemed to open for her and she finally understood how much fun music was. Since then with the use of the concert videos, she’s learned the names of musical instruments, how to learn lyrics, and how to clap along in rhythm to whatever’s playing. Because she made this discovery so young, she’ll never remember a time when she didn’t love music, or know how to play along with her favorites. When the time comes to start learning an instrument, she already has an idea of how they’re played and how they sound. Right now, the cymbals and drum sets are her favorites. But she imitates you playing the piano; I imagine she’ll ask for that some time in the future.

I have no idea how her tastes in music will grow and change as she grows, but I do know that it was your music and specials and concerts that got her love of music started. I was there when it happened. That love will be there as long as she can remember, just like it has been for me.

I hope that you’re not done when it comes to creating new music. Whatever you’ve got in mind I’d love to hear it whenever you can get it out. Hopefully my husband and I will get to see your show again soon. (Of course, you could always come back to Atlanta – we’ll see what we can do about holding off the snow and ice and tornadoes.)

Happy 65th and here’s to many more to come!

With much love now and forever,

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

"Clive Finds the Songs"

The following is what happens when my other half gets a wild hair up his ass and goes into "Comedian Mode". Believe it or not, he was as sober as a judge when he wrote this.

He doesn't know it's getting posted here because...ah, sorta....doesn't know that I have this blog. Or a page on My Manilow Network. So SHHHH!!!

With much love and many apologies to Barry and the crew.
To my friends who work at Sony/BMG - delete now. You didn't see this, you're not involved.

Clive Finds the Songs
(to the tune of I Write the Songs)

Clive's been alive forever
And he sold the very first song
He gave the words and I put the melodies together
I make music
But Clive finds the songs

Clive finds the songs that he wants me to sing
Clive finds the songs that get the Billboard ratings
Clive finds the songs that make the public buy
Clive finds the songs
He finds the songs

My home lies far away from you
And I've got my own place away from crowds
Now when I look out through the bars
I'm glad again, even though I live with two dogs

Clive finds the songs that he wants me to sing
Clive finds the songs that get the Billboard ratings
Clive finds the songs that make the public buy
Clive finds the songs
He finds the songs

Oh I begged that just one time
To make a record that was mine
Paradise Cafe gave me hope I'd write again
But that's not enough
Getting new music out is tough
"Greatest Hits" each ten years
is what he says I should do
"Sing this kid, it's good for you"

Clive finds the songs that he wants me to sing
Clive finds the songs that get the Billboard ratings
Clive finds the songs that make the public buy
Clive finds the songs
He finds the songs

(in the background)
Listen to me Barry
I know the public
Just do what I say

I make music
But Clive finds the songs

Monday, June 9, 2008

Putting Manilow-branded Wines to Good Use

Pete and I work with mentoring college kids in various ways throughout the year. Where you have college kids, you have drinking games. When kids get used to you, they start spilling the details of the more elaborate ones. Pete's favorite when he was in school was "Smurf". (Remember the Smurf cartoons? Where every other word - be it noun, verb, whatever was "Smurf"?) The one rule was drink every time you hear the word "Smurf". Pete's very vague and fuzzy recollection of the game was "You don't realize how much those little fuckers say "smurf" until you play."

So now that the not-quite-adults are out of our hair for the summer we have a bit of time on our hands to reflect. When you watch Barry's concert videos as much as we do (remember The Littlest Fanilow is the boss of our house here...) or if you are fortunate enough to see a bunch of shows in Vegas, you start noticing bits that are show staples and are very frequent.

So - let's make a drinking game out of it! Since Barry has lent his name to a wine brand, the drink of choice should be obvious. This should work for either videos or live shows, so bottoms up!

Please add rules as they cross your mind! And those of you who have stage seats at upcoming shows, I double-dog DARE you to play this during the show!
  • Every time Barry mentions Brooklyn, drink once.
  • Every time Barry mentions a relative's name (Aunt Rose, Grampa Joe, etc) drink once.
  • When one of the backup girls slithers all over him during a song, drink once. Twice if it's all three of them at one time.
  • Drink twice if Barry is singing something romantic to the women in the front row and "accidentally" runs across a guy and recoils from him. Drain the glass if it's Kye.
  • Drink twice if some nutjob tries to jump the stage. Drain the glass if it's a guy.
  • Drink once if some broad tries to hand Barry her hotel room key.
  • Drain the glass if he wears that god-awful yellow plaid sport coat at any time. (You'll need it.)
  • Drink twice if the lady he picks to dance with is displaying maximum cleavage legally allowed by non-stage-performers in the State of Nevada.
  • Drain the glass if Barry does a full-on crotch grab. (That's not a rule, you'll do it automatically.)
  • Drink twice if Barry inserts a "deep cut" from one of his records that he hasn't performed in his show for at least 10 years.
  • Drink for each couple (gay or straight) you see slow dancing in the audience while Barry peforms. Toast them first. :-)

Are there any other rules?

1st new one: Drink once if Barry throws around something in Yiddish. Make someone else drink if you can translate it for the goyim.