Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Barry Manilow's "Mandy" Has Me Longing For WAYYY Overproduced Radio Hits

Hat tip for David Fortuna, via Facebook, to remind me that Barry Manilow's big song "Mandy" was Number One on the charts on this week back in 1975.
Barry Manilow preparing to blow us away
with "Mandy"  

Yes, there were a lot of hit songs in the 1970s, as there always are, so what's the big deal?

The big deal is that "Mandy" is the best example there is of what I call "Big Deal" songs, which because of my odd brain, I find extremely funny.

"Big Deal" songs like Mandy have a formula. They start off pretty mellow and build, and build and build, to this huge, way overproduced crescendo at the end, full of orchestration, a soaring chorus and the lead vocalist just screaming in agony or something.

Think of Mandy, if you dare.  Especially the ending. "And I NEED YOOUUUUU!!!!!!!!!!"

I don't mean to pick on Barry Manilow. He's iconic. He's written a ton of really great pop songs. And lyrically, "Mandy" actually isn't that bad. He does nicely capture the heartache of a lost love:

Here's an example:

"I remember all my life
Raining down as cold as ice
Shadows of a man
A face through a window, crying in the night
The night goes into
Morning, just another day.
Happy people pass my way
Looking in their eyes
I see a memory. 
I never realized how happy you made me."

 Like I said. Very good lyrics for a pop song. But still, I find myself laughing every time I hear "Mandy" as Manilow becomes part of this huge Federal Project of a musical number at the end.

Here's a video of Barry Manilow singing "Mandy" and enjoy the big crashing end. After that, below the video, I have even more fun Big Thoughts about Big Deal songs. I swear I'm going to start a fan club.

There are other examples that I find just as funny. The 1970s were a real heyday for Big Deal songs.
Rivaling "Mandy"  was Harry Nilsson's "Without You."

Like "Mandy," "Without You" is a wonderful, passionate pop song. But it holds to that formula of agonized singing, string chorusus and a tragiocomic chorus in the background that makes me laugh every time.

In the 1980s, the best example of a Big Deal song is probably "Total Eclipse Of The Heart" by Bonnie Tyler.  It was made even better than the most ridiculously melodramatic music video in memory.

It was so extreme it inspired this parody video, a literal take on "Total Eclipse of The Heart with revamped lyrics. (Sample: "The gayest man on earth would call this over the top")

Watch the parody for a laugh:

Almost eclipsing "Total Eclipse Of The Heart" in the 1980s was Air Supply, which cornered the market on Big Deal songs, especially with "Making Love Out of Nothing At All" complete with another over the top video.

Which of course inspired THIS hilarious parody:

While performers nowadays are often tempted into doing "Big Deal" performances (Just check out any episode of "American Idol")  Big Deal songs aren't a staple of radio anymore.  They haven't been, really, since we were screaming with Celine (Dion) in the 1990s.

I'm ready for a resurgence of Big Deal songs. All those American Idol winner should come out and blast our eardrums.

Or I can go around and sing the last minute or so of "Mandy" until everyone cries "Uncle"

Your choice.

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