The Greatest Songs of the Fifties
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No one can reinvent the great classics of the 1950's better than Barry Manilow. He breathes new life and vitality into these truly wonderful songs and they sound fresh and timeless. Highlights include a guest appearance from Phyllis McGuire of the McGuire Sisters on the medley of 1954 hits and veritable jukebox of favorites such as Bobby Darin's 'Beyond The Sea', Frankie Avalon's 'Venus' and Johnny Mathis' 'It's Not For Me To Say'. Arista. 2006.
Clive Davis's ear earns him more accolades than most of his talents' vocal chords. Now it's time to give it up for his enterprising instincts. The Greatest Songs of the Fifties arrives on the heels of another of the famous producer's backward-looking projects, the ubiquitous, uber-successful Great American Songbook series by Rod Stewart. The short story: same vibe, different era. With songs like "All I Have to Do Is Dream," "Venus," and "Unchained Melody" (first recorded in the '50s but best known for its '60s Righteous Brothers rendition), Manilow sidesteps the stuff that rocked the sock hops in favor of cheek-to-cheek selections--the better to remind longtime fans of his nostalgia-steeped '70s hits. Overall, the approach works, especially when the bona fide '50s legend Phyllis McGuire steps in to heat up the "Teach Me Tonight/Sincerely" medley, and Manilow swings across genres to lovingly tackle Dinah Washington's "What a Diff'rence a Day Made." Vocally, a warm haze covers these tracks; whether it's there to evoke fuzzier times or to mask a voice that's gone slightly south is unclear. What couldn't be more crystal, though, is Manilow and Davis's commitment to first-class, sophisticated record-making. --Tammy La Gorce
- Is Discontinued By Manufacturer : No
- Product Dimensions : 5.7 x 4.9 x 0.4 inches; 3.2 Ounces
- Manufacturer : Sony Legacy
- Original Release Date : 2006
- Run time : 42 minutes
- Date First Available : July 27, 2006
- Label : Sony Legacy
- ASIN : B000CNDIZO
- Number of discs : 1
- Best Sellers Rank: #94,833 in CDs & Vinyl (See Top 100 in CDs & Vinyl)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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this CD, so I was sure these two concepts would work well together...It's difficult to listen to Barry sing the 50's and not remember exactly what the originals sounded like...and therefore, he's not as good as I remember songs from their original recordings...His stylized versions are often flat and not even sounding like the real Barry...and I don't know why people like Rod Stewart can take old recordings and make them work...and Barry can't quite get it right here. Songs like Venus is acceptible but Unchained Melody is way"off". "Love is a Many Splendored Thing" marginally works, but the tempo feels off to me. I felt it dragged and I wanted to rush it up...Maybe Barry's voice doesn't lend itself to this pace.. especially when he adds his own notes...never in the originals... or maybe this is because he didn't write this song but wants to make it his.... How can a Johnny Mathis song like "It's Not for Me to Say" be improved upon EVER?? especially by a guy who does Copacabana better than anyone else on earth. Barry is really best when he sings his own music
and I'm wondering if Johnny Mathis is horrified hearing his song so dumbed down.
I almost liked "Rags To Riches"...but again, the pace is dragging. I don't feel Barry has his soul in this music. I can't even imagine a smile on his face as he recorded
It did sound like he was enjoying singing with Phyllis McGuire in Sincerely...but I
can hear Phyllis's age by the way she prounced words, as if her teeth were in the
way. A little "lispy". Their voices are complimentary and the pace feels right. The orchestration worked better than in some of the other songs.
Elvis's "Are You Lonesome Tonight" is truly BAD....Nobody does Elvis better than
Elvis...and all you hear in the background is a guitar. Again, I feel he isn't enjoying
singing this song and might be straining to reach his own normal range. Or perhaps
he knows he's not Elvis.
A lot of music of the 50s relied on the singer's voice more than orchestration.
I'm not sure Barry's brilliance is in his voice alone, as much as his ability to write songs and then make them his own. I often wonder if I've always loved Barry's voice or did I actually love hearing Barry sing the songs he wrote. Kind of like Neil Sedaka.. Neil Diamond...These men are not brilliant singers, but are brilliant singing the songs they wrote. Maybe knowing your own song from the inside out is why
Barry can make us love his originals and not someone else's originals.
I think "Young at Heart" is really good...His range and rhythm sounds more like Barry. And I can almost hear/see him smiling while he's singing. And that makes the song sound like its got energy. The orchestration works well.
As for the Everly Brother's "Dream", I loved it. Great arrangement. I loved the original and this is probably my favorite song on the CD. Even though it has a
slightly different style, it's an improvement on the original. His voice sounds
better than the Everly Brothers who weren't awesome singers, but just had a great
hit from this song.
Barry is fine with "What a Difference a Day Made". I can hear his voice perk up and
he sings with a great level of confidence..which is missing on a lot of the other songs. Good orchestration. Good pace...rhythm perfect. One of the only songs
on this CD that brings out the very best in Barry.
Beyond the Sea is being sung like a ballad here. And that makes the lyrics stand
out. Never paid attention to the words before...only the melody, so it's a new
take on an old song but sounds like it might be used for underscoring a movie....
My overall feeling about this CD is that I have no desire to listen to it often. If I
want to hear music of the 50's, I'd have wanted this group of songs to have
been recorded by original artists..
And then of course, if I want to get excited over Barry, I listen to one of his best
CDs, which is The Essential Barry Manilow.
and loved it more. Hopefully Barry does a few more of the classics in another CD. Baby Boomers are uniting and telling the music industry by buying this CD that we LONG for good music without any gimmicks!
These songs are timeless and yes Barry's voice is a little weaker than 25 years ago but his renditions are spectacular and true to the originals. He has a real gift for knowing what makes a recording special. Glad I ordered this in advance-I wasn't disappointed AND since I have most of Barry Manilow's work I may just go looking for some Johnny Mathis CD's to replace my LP's, I have forgotten how moving the music of the fifties is!
He's gotten better over time and this collection is a perfect showcase for his style, revealing how savvy he is about making the most of what he has. Listen to his version of "Unchained Melody" or catch the video of it here on Amazon while it is still available and you'll see what I mean. Compare his performance to some of the contestents on American Idol and see what an understated delivery can do to highlight a song. Manilow is understated (well, on THAT performance, but you can catch others that are over the top if you look hard enough online) but every move he makes while singing that song seems to count. That's the sign of a pro.
Admittedly, he doesn't have the best set of pipes around but he is wise enough to let the song build and to hold off on the highest note he can hold till the end of the song. That arrangement showcases his talents perfectly. When he sang the song on tv a few months ago, he had the audience in tears and I confess I was a bit misty-eyed myself (although I felt ambivalent about it).
Yes, there are better singers out there, people who can sing with more range than Manilow. But few are able to combine presentation, delivery, great arrangements and stage presence in his inimitable way. His fans remain loyal, even adoring. And most importantly, he "gets" his fans, he knows what they want and he is happy to deliver just that. He responds to them, tailors his performances to what they crave.
Look down on him if you want. Call him tacky, sentimentally sloppy, manipulative, hokey or whatever else. But like all pop/mainstream singers, it takes a lot of talent to do what seems so easy, so obvious. It ISN'T easy to make a performance sound so seamless. And for that reason alone, I tip my hat to Manilow. He made me love him and no, I DIDN'T want to do it. But I did. I do.
Top reviews from other countries
Entdecker Clive Davis brachte Barry zu Arista zurück und liess Ihn ein Album produzieren, wie es zwar in den letzten Jahren schon Einige gegeben hat (Carly Simon, Bette Midler, Rod Stewart usw) - ausschliesslich mit LoveSongs aus den 50er - Barry, erfahren in allen Musikstilen schaffte es, eine Cd zu produzieren und einzusingen, die zwar immer noch ein ManlowAlbum ist, aber doch den Charme dieser wunderschönen alten Songs wieder aufleben lässt. Riesengrosses Orchester, kitschiger wunderschöner Chorgesang, hervorragende Musiker lassen die Songs neu erstrahlen. Er vermeidet es, die Lieder zu modernisieren und dem typischen ManilowStil anzupassen, aber nimmt mit heutigen Mitteln auf, sodass daraus ein zauberhaftes Album entsteht. Einfach wunderschön und warm. Klar, Barry's Stimme ist älter geworden, aber es passt. Selbst Songs wie "Venus" oder "are you lonesome tonight" oder "all I have to do is dream" klingen nicht abgedroschen. "Love is a many spendig thing" ist bombastisch. Sein Duett mit Phylis McGuire - "sincerly/teach me tonight" erinnert an Doris Day songs. Er kopiert nicht einfach die alten Versionen, sondern macht Neue daraus, die sich an den alten Versionen anlehnen. Dieses Album ist noch um Längen besser, als die ähnichen songbock CD's von Rod Stewart - ja auch von Clive Davis mitproduziert. Ein Album zumn träumen und zum wiederentdecken dieser alten Songs unserer Eltern. Seltsamerweise erscheint in Deutschland bisher nicht die Dualdisc von diesem Album - aber vielleicht kommt das ja auch noch! So langsam müsste man doch auch in Deutschland gemerkt haben, dass man die Generation über 40 auch noch dazu bekommt eine Cd zu kaufen, wenn sie nicht so dahingerotzt ist. Dies ist ein ALbum für Alle die noch gute und schöne Musik schätzen.