Barry Manilow has Rickrolled Us All

Yes, Rickrolled.

This is from Monday’s release of Barry Manilow “Songs of the Eighties” album. According to Manilow’s website, “The Greatest Songs of the Eighties uncovers a bounty of treasures and reignites nostalgia for these fantastic hit songs reinterpreted by Manilow in his signature style – from his duet with Reba McEntire on “Islands in the Stream,” as they pay homage to Kenny Rogers & Dolly Parton’s #1 duet of 1983 – to a trio of songs associated with memorable films: Phil Collins #1 hit of 1984, “Against All Odds (Take A Look At Me Now)”; Bill Medley & Jennifer Warnes’ #1 hit of 1987, “I’ve Had the Time of My Life” (from Dirty Dancing); and Christopher Cross’ Oscar-winning #1 hit of 1981, “Arthur’s Theme (The Best That You Can Do),” and much more.

The Greatest Songs of the Eighties moves seamlessly through a selection of major hits from both sides of the Atlantic. The UK is well-represented by “Careless Whisper,” the #1 hit of 1984 by Wham! featuring George Michael; Rick Astley’s #1 “Never Gonna Give You Up”; and a song that Van Morrison first wrote and recorded in 1989, “Have I Told You Lately,” which later became a giant hit for Rod Stewart.

Manilow’s impeccable performances and signature arranging style also breathe new life into a quintet of American classics: “Open Arms” by Journey; Chicago’s #1 “Hard to Say I’m Sorry”; Stevie Wonder’s #1 “I Just Called to Say I Love You”; Cyndi Lauper’s #1 “Time After Time”; and Richard Marx’s #1 “Right Here Waiting.”

(tentative track listing and subject to change):

“Islands in the Stream” duet with Reba McEntire
“Open Arms”
“Never Gonna Give You Up”
“Have I Told You Lately”
“I Just Called to Say I Love You”
“Against All Odds (Take A Look At Me Now)”
“Careless Whisper”
“Right Here Waiting”
“Arthur’s Theme (The Best That You Can Do)”
“Hard to Say I’m Sorry”
“Time After Time”
“I’ve Had the Time of My Life”

I’m not very impressed by his cover of “Never Gonna Give You Up”, it lacks the passion of Rick Astley’s rendition. That’s right, I said passion. I love that song! I’ll be intrigued to hear Manilow’s other covers. I’d like to think he’d rock out on “Open Arms” and “Against All Odds”. If any of you hear those, let me know how they sound. What I really want to know is, why no album of original songs? Sure, Barry is an easy target to poke fun at, but at the end of the day Manilow really does “write the songs that make the whole world sing.” Okay, he didn’t actually write that song, but he is a solid song writer and I’ve been told a stellar live performer.