Ranking the 20 Best Barry Manilow Studio Albums

Barry Manilow

Barry Manilow is a pop and easy listening singer, songwriter, musician and producer who has enjoyed a successful career that spans over five decades. He rose to fame in the 1970s, with such hit songs as “Mandy” (a No. 1 hit), “Copacabana (At the Copa)” (which was No. 1 for three weeks in 1978), and “Can’t Smile Without You” (No. 1 for four weeks in 1977). In the 1980s, he produced such songs as “Somewhere Down The Road,” a number-one hit in several countries; it also won him a Grammy Award and an Academy Award nomination in 1982. Manilow has recorded numerous albums throughout his career, some of them achieving Platinum status in the U.S.U.S. and elsewhere. Manilow broke several records during his career, including the record for the longest run inside the Top 40 chart. He is also one of a few singers to achieve No. 1 songs in each of four decades (the 70s, 80s, 90s and the 2010’s). Some of Manilow’s hit albums include Barry (1980), If I Should Love Again (1984) and Swing Street (1987). This article provides a ranking of all the 20 studio albums released by Manilow throughout his career. The rankings are based on critical acclaim, commercial success, and the artist’s ability to revolve around the different fads of each decade.

20. Because It’s Christmas

 

He was released in 1994, “Because It’s Christmas” was Manilow’s last album to be released by Arista. The album has 15 tracks sung both in English and six other languages (Spanish, French, Italian, Latin Spanish, German, and Japanese). An interesting fact about the album is that it contains three different versions of the song, “Merry Christmas Everyone.” Despite having some enjoyable tunes, “Because It’s Christmas” was not as successful as his earlier holiday album, “Barry Manilow At Christmas” (1978).

19. 2 Nights Live

 

In July 2009, Manilow released “2 Nights Live”, a live album containing 21 tunes from his April 17 and 18, 2008 shows at the Paris Las Vegas in Las Vegas. The songs on the album span over four decades of his career, with a majority recorded during his run at Arista Records in the 1970s. For instance, nine tracks are from the “Tryin’ To Get The Feeling Again” (1974) album, and two are from the live version of his “Even Now” album (1978), four are from “If I Should Love Again” (1984). Three are from his major hit albums at Arista, including “Barry Manilow” (1975), “This One’s For You” (1976) and “Manilow” (1977). The album debuted at No. 24 on the Billboard 200, selling 20,000 units in its first week. In Canada, it peaked at No. 2 on the charts. This album was also certified Gold by R.I.A.A. for selling more than 500,000 copies in the U.SU.S.

18. Barry Manilow Classics

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qK7UCPBywss

 

Manilow released “Barry Manilow Classics” in 1987 as his first album for R.C.A. The album includes some of the biggest hits that he recorded at Arista between 1975 and 1984, including songs such as “Mandy,” “I Write The Songs,” “Looks Like We Made It,” and “Copacabana (At the Copa).” It also includes “Somewhere Down The Road,” a number-one hit in several countries, and “Daybreak,” which only reached the Top 40 in Canada. Despite having some popular songs, this album did not fare commercially well as his prior releases for Arista Records.

17. 15 Minutes

 

“15 Minutes” is one of two albums that Manilow released in 2001 (the other being “Here At The Mayflower”). It contains ten cover songs. At the same time, some of the tracks are well-known, like You Light Up My Life and If I Can Dream, they are sung in types of genres, unlike the original recordings. Moreover, the album also includes Manilow’s songs sung in genres different from his earlier works. “15 Minutes” debuted at No. 113 on the Billboard 200 chart that year, with sales of nearly 10,000 units in its first week. It also peaked at No. 2 on Billboard Top Internet Albums and was certified Platinum by R.I.A.A.

16. 2:00 A.M. Paradise Café

 

“2:00 A.M. Paradise Cafe” was released in 1992 and is a concept album consisting of jazz songs. It was the last studio album that Manilow released under Arista Records after being with them for 11 years. The title song, “Paradise Cafe,” was written by David Foster and Linda Thompson and was initially intended to be recorded by another artist. Still, Manilow got his hands on it and decided to put it to good use. According to AL.com, this album was meant as a sequel of sorts to “Barry Manilow” (1975), which includes jazz hits like “I Write The Songs.” That said, the songs in this album are not sung in his earlier “piano bar” style. The album peaked at No. 1 on the Billboard Jazz Albums chart, No. 33 on Billboard 200, and remained for 14 weeks. It was certified Gold by R.I.A.A. in 1993 after selling 500,000 copies domestically.

15. Live in Britain

 

“Live in Britain” was released on January 23, 2007, and features a recording of Manilow’s August 17, 2006 concert at the Blackpool Opera House. After switching from Arista Records to Concord Records, this album was also his first release. It has been certified Gold by R.I.A.A. for selling more than 500,000 copies in the U.SU.S. This live performance features Manilow’s songbook of hits from the 70s, 80s and 90s.

14. Showstoppers

 

“Showstoppers” was released as a studio album in November 2001 and is Manilow’s first album to include songs written by Barry Gibb of The Bee Gees. It also includes covers such as “Almost There,” initially done by Andy Williams and later covered by Anne Murray and Kenny Rogers, and “Heartbreaker,” which was initially done by Dionne Warwick and later covered by Melissa Manchester. The album has been certified Platinum by R.I.A.A. for selling more than 1 million copies domestically.

13. Manilow Sings Sinatra

 

“Manilow Sings Sinatra” was released in August 1997 and contained Manilow’s renditions of some of Frank Sinatra’s most popular songs. It features his take on classics like “It Was A Very Good Year,” My Way, and “I’ve Got The World On A String.” According to Billboard, this was both Manilow’s and Sinatra’s second go-around at recording a standards album, the first being Manilow Sings Sinatra (1987). This 1997 release was certified Gold by R.I.A.A. for selling more than 500,000 copies domestically.

12. Here Comes the Night

 

“Here Comes the Night” was released in October 1990 and contains cover versions of songs by Barry Gibb, The Beatles, Peter Allen, Paul McCartney, Carole King, Cat Stevens, Bob Marley and others. It peaked at No. 1 on the Billboard Top Pop Albums chart and features singles like “Somewhere Down The Road.” Among the artists whose songs Manilow has covered are The Beatles, Bob Marley and Cat Stevens. This album was certified Platinum by R.I.A.A. for selling more than 1 million copies domestically.

11. Barry Manilow May 2, 1989 album

 

“Barry Manilow Live” was released in May 1989 and featured a recording of his April 30, 1989 concert at Wembley Arena. This album peaked at No. 40 on Billboard 200 and remained on that chart for 33 weeks. The first single, “Please Don’t Be Scared,” peaked at #4 on Billboard Hot Adult Contemporary Tracks and remained in the Top 40 for 14 weeks. Manilow wrote “Brooklyn Blues,” a song about New York City, in 1989 in honor of his then-home borough’s 250th anniversary.

10. Barry Manilow (1973)

 

“Barry Manilow” was released in May 1973 and featured his first hit single ever, “Mandy,” which topped Billboard Hot 100 chart for four weeks. This album peaked at No. 69 on Billboard 200 chart and No. 139 on U.K.U.K. Albums Chart, and No. 28 on R.P.M. Top Albums chart (Canada). Manilow’s rendition of “Can’t Smile Without You” peaked at No. 5 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and remained in that Top 40 for 13 weeks.

9. Here at the Mayflower

 

“Here at the Mayflower” was released in November 1975, only seven months after his previous album “tryin’ to get the feelin'” came out. It features songs from Manilow’s first three albums plus new material. The album peaked at No. 118 on Billboard 200 chart and remained there for 26 weeks. It was on that chart for just one week.

8. Barry Manilow (1980)

 

“Barry Manilow II” was released in February 1980. This album peaked at No. 16 on Billboard 200 chart and remained there for 45 weeks, longer than any other studio albums ever did. It reached that Top 20 position faster than any of his previous efforts, too, only its debut week. The first two singles from the album, “I Made It Through the Rain” and “Bermuda Triangle,” peaked at No. 5 on Billboard Hot 100. The latter was Manilow’s first Gold single in the U.SU.S.

7. If I Should Love Again

 

“If I Should Love Again” was released in February 1981 and features a song written by Carole Bayer Sager, “Ready to retake a Chance,” as its first single. This album became Manilow’s first No. 1 album on Billboard 200 chart after it debuted at the top spot for one week only. The second single from the album, “The Old Songs,” peaked at No. 34 on Billboard Hot 100 chart and was Manilow’s first song to be certified as a Gold single after it sold more than 1 million copies domestically.

6. One Voice

 

“One Voice” was released in March 1985 and peaked at No. 20 on Billboard 200 album chart, staying there for 30 weeks. The first single from the album, “Read ‘Em and Weep,” reached No. 1 on two separate Billboard charts; it topped the Hot Adult Contemporary Tracks chart for four weeks (his only song) and peaked at No. 24 on Billboard Hot 100 chart. The second single from the album, “Make Someone Happy,” was released outside the U.S.U.S., but it did not make any international charts.

5. Manilow 1985

 

“Manilow 1985” was released in February 1985, and it peaked at No. 17 on Billboard 200 chart, staying there for 30 weeks. Manilow wrote the song “Somewhere Down The Road,” specifically for the motion picture’s soundtrack “The Slugger’s Wife.” This album produced three singles: a cover of Phil Spector’s “I Just Don’t Know What to Do With Myself,” the Gold single “The Old Songs,” and a cover of Peter Allen and Carole. Bayer Sager’s “Make Someone Happy.”

4. This One’s for You 1976

 

“This One’s for You” was released in 1976 and peaked at No. 45 on Billboard 200, staying there for 20 weeks. It features songs from Manilow’s first two albums, “Barry Manilow” and “Could It Be Magic,” plus new material like the lead single, a cover of The Beatles’ “Yesterday.” This album is the last of Manilow’s “record contract obligation” albums, meaning that it was recorded in a hurry to fulfill his obligation to Arista Records.

3. Tryin’ to Get the Feeling

 

“Tryin’ to Get the Feeling” was released in 1976 and peaked at No. 44 on Billboard 200, staying there for 23 weeks. The album is a mix of Manilow originals (including two co-written with his first producer and manager, Clive Davis) and cover songs like the lead single, “Brandy,” w a No. 1 hit on the Billboard H00 chart and went gold the following year.

2. Barry Manilow II 1974

 

“Barry Manilow II” was released in mid-February 1980. It peaked at No. 16 on Billboard 200 chart and remained there for 45 weeks, longer than any other of his studio albums ever did. It reached that Top 20 position faster than any of his previous efforts, too, only its debut week. The first two singles from this album, “Daybreak” and “Sweet Life,” both reached No. Thirty-six on Billboard Hot 100 chart.

1. Even Now (1978)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zd3TZHO_754

 

“Even Now” was released in 1978 and peaked at No. 17 on Billboard Top 200 Albums chart, staying there for 29 weeks. This album is Manilow’s highest-charting album ever and his first to produce two top 10 singles. The lead single “Even Now” reached No. 4 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, and the second single, a remake of The Beatles’ “And I Love Her,” peaked at No. 10 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.

Conclusion

Manilow’s early albums covered a lot of styles, from soft rock to disco. He scored chart hits with songs from those albums, as well as cover songs like “Mandy/Brandy” and “Looks Like We Made It.” In the late 1970s, he remained popular with his label Arista Records because of his top 10 hits “Ready to retake a Chance.” His albums were well received by critics, too. However, it was not until his seventh studio album, “Barry Manilow II,” in 1974 that he became a top concert draw and an international star. As of 1977, all of his albums were RIAA-certified Gold or Platinum, including his live album “Manilow” (December 1977), which reached No. 6 on Billboard Top 200 Albums chart.

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