Sept 20, 2013: New York Post: The Manilow of the hour
Barry Manilow’s long-incubating musical “Harmony” is up and running in Atlanta and, judging from the reviews, it’s sure to hit Broadway next year.
Manilow says he has recorded so many Christmas songs because most of them come from the Great American Songbook — written by people like Irving Berlin and George Gershwin. "Whenever I get an opportunity to do an album full of standards, I jump at it because I miss it," he says. He uses the opportunity to stretch the definition of a "Christmas song," saying one of his favorites is "Violets for Your Furs." "I thought, 'Well, it's a winter song, it's close enough.' And people should hear songs like that!" Manilow says. "It's a lovely song. Sinatra did it on one of his earlier albums. My stepfather showed it to me, and I never quite got over it." Manilow says there's something in that song that's missing in a lot of contemporary music. "It's a great idea for a song: 'I bought you violets for your furs in December,' and now it feels like spring, because he's in love with her," he says. "The melody is just delicious, the chord changes are something from heaven, and the melody is so memorable. We don't hear this anymore; we just don't hear it anymore." Manilow says he doesn't think "Violets" is melancholy. "I think it's romantic. If you listen to the lyric, it's a lovely idea: that in the middle of winter, it turned to spring for them. On that song, since Sinatra did it — I'm a friend of Barbara Sinatra, his wife, and I knew that he had done that. When I finished doing the record, I brought it over to her house, and I said, 'Hey, listen to this, Barbara.' And she put it into her CD [player], and she stood there crying. She told me this story that they were in New York at Rockefeller Center, and he bought her violets and sang the song to her standing in front of the Christmas tree." (SOURCE: NPR)
He just logged his 50th Billboard Top 40 adult contemporary hit with “Santa Claus is Coming to Town.” His last album, 2011’s “15 Minutes” — a study of fame set in the Williamsburg neighborhood apartments in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he grew up dirt-poor — was one of his highest-charting, and best-reviewed, albums. “But I started off all those years ago just wanting to be a composer, an arranger or a conductor,” Manilow says. “So the performing part came at me out of the blue, and I resisted it for years. So I never really learned what you’re supposed to do on that stage. I don’t know how to be anybody else but me.” With his first 1974 smash, “Mandy,” the star was warned about the brevity of a showbiz life. Five years, tops, is what industry chums predicted. “And I always thought that it would stop,” he says. “But the public out there still seems to be interested in what I’ve got to say. So I’m a very grateful guy!” (SOURCE: San Francisco Examiner)