YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections


He shouldn't cover the songs

September 22, 2007|Daryl H. Miller

Barry Manilow

"The Greatest Songs of the Seventies" (Arista)


The mid-1970s -- era of feathered hair and feathery voices. Barry Manilow did quite well for himself back then, his clarinet-like voice heard seemingly everywhere as he hit the Top 10 on the singles charts repeatedly.

Now in his 60s, Manilow is revisiting that decade in 12 recordings of songs made famous by others, along with "acoustic" versions of six of his biggest hits.

What he and fellow producers Clive Davis and David Benson have come up with, though, is Muzak, every song delivered at about the same safe, tidy tempo and dynamic level.

The nadir is reached in the old Albert Hammond hit "It Never Rains in Southern California," which Manilow chirps with stilted, lounge-singer-like diction.

Returning to his own material, Manilow only fitfully musters a deeper appreciation of the emotions he's singing about. The best track: "Copacabana (At the Copa)," in which the hyperventilating romance at the story's core is offset by restrained, irresistibly sexy Spanish guitar.


Albums are rated on a scale of four stars (excellent), three stars (good), two stars (fair) and one star (poor).

Los Angeles Times Articles