Tracie and I were emailing about how much we love Barry Manilow (it’s a lot) and then I was trying to figure out where this appreciation for Barry Manilow came from, because I don’t remember there ever being a time in my life when I didn’t like Barry Manilow.
In the house where I grew up there was this one spectactularly magical closet—magical because it was always far and away the coldest spot in the house, in either summer or winter; and magical because for some reason the previous owners had installed a light in there that turned on automatically when you opened the door, and there was no way to hide in that closet with the light on, you had to just submit to the darkness and figure out how to be OK with it; and magical because besides containing winter coats this closet was mainly used to store random books we didn’t have room for anywhere else, including all the piano fakebooks that didn’t fit under the bench.
And I remember one time, elementary school for sure, when I found the fakebook for this album, with Manilow all splayed across the cover, majestic and polyestered, and flipping through it there were medleys? of commercial jingles? he’d written? and then performed as part of his concert? And my mind was totally blown and I flew with it back to the piano to try to figure out what this all meant.
But then I remembered, earlier than that, a David Copperfield TV special where he did a whole magic routine set to “Weekend in New England”. I was 5 when this aired. And I remember even then thinking the magic was whatever, but the piece as a whole was so sad and oh my god where did Valerie Bertinelli go, please bring her back, this is too much to even bear. And afterwards I was just like Wow that is the saddest song but it is also the best. [cf.] And I still think that.
Anyways unrelated but my mom and I are seeing Neil Diamond tomorrow at the Boston Garden and I’m super pumped. I heard the last time he played in Boston he sang “Sweet Caroline” three times.