The Greatest Songs of the Fifties

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Barnes & Noble - William Pearl
In the liner notes to The Greatest Songs of the Fifties, Barry Manilow reports his reaction to Clive Davis’s suggestion that he revisit bygone pop classics: “Why hasn’t anyone thought of this idea?” Maybe because Manilow himself was the destined singer to approach this project. His signature style -- rich in drama and effervescence, unembarrassed by overt emotion and sincere sentimentality -- is perfect for lush renditions of such 1950s hits as “It’s Not for Me to Say,” “Love Is a Many Splendored Thing,” "Young at Heart,” and “Venus.” Manilow, in exceptional vocal form, takes to these songs like old friends; not surprising, since he did grow up hearing them in his ...
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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - William Pearl
In the liner notes to The Greatest Songs of the Fifties, Barry Manilow reports his reaction to Clive Davis’s suggestion that he revisit bygone pop classics: “Why hasn’t anyone thought of this idea?” Maybe because Manilow himself was the destined singer to approach this project. His signature style -- rich in drama and effervescence, unembarrassed by overt emotion and sincere sentimentality -- is perfect for lush renditions of such 1950s hits as “It’s Not for Me to Say,” “Love Is a Many Splendored Thing,” "Young at Heart,” and “Venus.” Manilow, in exceptional vocal form, takes to these songs like old friends; not surprising, since he did grow up hearing them in his youth. Enhanced by production and arrangements that add just the right touch of period ambience, Manilow approaches the project with not the slightest touch of kitsch or condescension. Through him, and his talented co-producers (including Clive Davis) these songs regain their elegance and luster.
All Music Guide - Stephen Thomas Erlewine
A kind of a variation on Clive Davis' wildly successful American Classic Songbook albums for Rod Stewart, The Greatest Songs of the Fifties finds Barry Manilow singing vocal pop favorites of the Eisenhower era. Although there are songs that are indeed classics of the rock & roll era, there is no rock & roll here. Manilow has picked songs like "Venus," "Are You Lonesome Tonight?," "All I Have to Do Is Dream," and "Unchained Melody" which originated in the '50s, but the Righteous Brothers had the biggest hit with it in 1965, which were on the pop crossover side of rock & roll in the latter half of the '50s. These are complemented by pop standards -- such as "It's Not for Me to Say," "Sincerely/Teach Me Tonight," "What a Diff'rence a Day Made," "Beyond the Sea" -- on an album that, in terms of repertoire, would not be out of step with the MOR pop LPs Mitch Miller produced at Columbia in the '50s and '60s. Of course, The Greatest Songs of the Fifties is a 2006 release, so it has a slick, semi-synthesized sheen and a warm, hazy glaze of nostalgia which, truth be told, isn't all that far removed from Manilow's big hits of the '70s, when Barry was romanticizing the Copacabana and doing big-band medleys on-stage. Given this, it shouldn't be a shock that Barry comes across as a slick, accomplished professional on these songs, never doing anything surprising but never resorting to hammy shtick, either, the way that Rod occasionally does on his songbook albums. That said, Greatest Songs isn't as rich musically as Rod's records, primarily because Manilow doesn't collaborate with an outside arranger here, or even many other producers: as the back cover says, "all song layouts created by Barry Manilow", and he keeps this within the realm of a nostalgic supper club revue. He does it well and he does it professionally, which will certainly make this record pleasing to his fans, but the record is just a shade too predictable but never unpleasant for listeners who aren't already firmly within Manilow's camp.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 1/31/2006
  • Label: Arista
  • UPC: 828767450926
  • Catalog Number: 74509

Album Credits

Performance Credits
Barry Manilow Primary Artist, Piano
Gary Foster Saxophone, Woodwind
Jim Atkinson French Horn
Kevin Bassinson Conductor
Kenneth Burward-Hoy Viola
Artie Butler Conductor
Bryant Byers Trombone
Jorge Calandrelli Conductor
Dave Carpenter Bass
Gene Cipriano Saxophone, Woodwind
Ronald Clark Violin
Larry Corbett Celli
Randy Crenshaw Background Vocals
Yvette Devereaux Violin
Earl Dumler Oboe
Assa Drori Violin, Concert Master
Ray Ellis Conductor
Stefanie Fife Celli
Ronald Folsom Violin
Armen Garabedian Violin
Daniel Greco Percussion
Dan Higgins Saxophone, Woodwind
Paula Hochhalter Celli
Carrie Holzman-Little Viola
Greg Huckins Saxophone, Woodwind
Jon Joyce Background Vocals
Mike Lent Guitar
Warren Leuning Trumpet
Charles Loper Trombone
Larry Lunetta Trumpet
Larry McGuire Trumpet
Joe Melotti Piano
John Mitchell J. Bassoon
Tommy Morgan Harmonica
Cynthia Moussas Violin
Ron Pedley Piano
Kazi Pitelka Viola
Barbara Porter Violin
Harry Shirinian Viola
David Stenske Violin
Gary Stockdale Background Vocals
Sheridon Stokes Flute
Joe Stone Oboe
Brad Warnaar French Horn
Doug Walter Conductor
Chauncey Welsch Trombone
Margaret Wooten Violin
Shari Zippert Violin
Gayle Levant Harp
Dave Stone Bass
Marcia Dickstein Harp
Christina Soule Celli
Steve Welch Piano
Larry Blank Conductor
William Ross Conductor
Wayne Bergeron Trumpet
Charlie Davis Trumpet
Steve Baxter Trombone
Rowena Hamil Celli
John Krovoza Celli
Russ McKinnon Drums
George Shelby Saxophone, Woodwind
Paul Klintworth French Horn
Irina Voloshina Violin
Ken Berry Guitar, Conductor
Brian Benning Violin
Jennifer Munday Violin
Olivia Tsui Violin
Jennifer Walton Violin
Liane Mautner Violin
John "4 Daddman" Robinson Drums
Don Shelton Saxophone, Woodwind
Samuel Formicola Viola
Chris Gray Trumpet
Alyssa Park Violin
Becky Bunnell Violin
Miguel Atwood-Ferguson Viola
Charles Bisharette Violin
Neel Hammond Violin
Craig Gosnell Trombone
Dynell Weber Violin
Caroline Buckman Viola
Yan To Violin
Danielle Ondarza French Horn
Tereza Stanislav Violin
Rodney Hurtz Viola
Connie Nassios Choir, Chorus
Mark Adams French Horn
Steven Becknell French Horn
Mario de León Violin
David H. Speltz Celli
Raymond Tischer Viola
Kevin Connolly Violin
Technical Credits
Barry Manilow Arranger, Producer, Liner Notes
Johnny Richards Composer
María Mendez Grever Composer
Charles Trénet Composer
Jerry Ross Composer
Stanley Adams Composer
Eddie Arkin Producer
Kevin Bassinson Arranger
Boudleaux Bryant Composer
Artie Butler Arranger
Sammy Cahn Composer
Jorge Calandrelli Arranger
Clive Davis Producer, Liner Notes
Gene DePaul Composer
Ray Ellis Arranger
Sammy Fain Composer
Harvey Fuqua Composer
Garry Kief Executive Producer
Alex North Composer
Carl Sigman Composer
Roy Turk Composer
Doug Walter Arranger
Paul Webster Composer
Ken Welch Vocal Arrangements
Mitzie Welch Vocal Arrangements
Hy Zaret Composer
Larry Blank Arranger
David Benson Producer
Walter Afanasieff Arranger, Producer
William Ross Orchestral Arrangements
Carolyn Leigh Composer
Lou Handman Composer
Charles Dawes Composer
Ken Berry Arranger
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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Forgotten Classics!

    I've always felt the Fifties-style stations over-emphasized the rock side of that decade. In reality, nearly every one of these selections actually topped the pop charts of that era. They have been sadly absent from the Fifties of "revisionist history." This compilation truly seems to be a labor of love for Manilow and his long-time mentor, Clive Davis. None of these renditions equals the original, but taken as a whole, the project evokes the Fifties I remember from my youth. The arrangements, while fresh-sounding, are especially evocative of the era. His duet with Phyllis Maguire of the Maguire Sisters on "Sincerely/Teach Me Tonight" is enjoyable just to hear her voice again (akin to Patti Page's contribution to George Jones' gospel project.) In short, this endeavor succeeds on a number levels and should have across the board appeal.

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