The Essential Barry Manilow
With the surplus of recent Barry Manilow greatest-hits compilations and previously issued anthologies, the choice to find the definitive survey of Manilow's works can be a chore for those with only a mild interest in the pop star's career. The recent success of 2002's outstanding Ultimate Manilow compilation warranted Arista to expand and reissue the anthology on two discs, providing a more definitive and thorough look at the crooner's catalog. Presented here in chronological order are 34 tracks, many of which were major chart-topping hits, with over half of them reaching the upper echelon of the pop charts during their heyday. The inclusion of various songs left off Ultimate Manilow ("Jump Shout Boogie" and "New York City Rhythm" being the two most obvious) will appease die-hard fans who felt slighted by their omission. Most loyalists will already have these hits either via the three greatest-hits compilations issued in the late '80s and '90s or Ultimate Manilow, but casual fans wanting a definitive anthology of his works will be well served by this, as it's most likely the only Manilow anthology they'll ever need.