Mandy – Barry Manilow
“Mandy” by Barry Manilow, an acoustic cover by Mike Massé feat. Bryce Bloom.
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Bryce Bloom plays bass on this. He didn’t get a chance to film himself recording, so he opted to be heard but not seen. Thank you for your contribution, sir!
I remember all my life, loving this song. 🙂 It started with me listening to my sister’s Manilow LPs as a kid. I always loved not just the simplicity of this melody, but how artfully he phrases it all. It’s amazing how much a voice and an arrangement can do for a song. Exhibit A is the original Barry English song, “Brandy”, of which this song is actually a cover. (Barry changed the name because of another popular “Brandy” song in the U.S.) The original is much different for many reasons, but I would never have seen the beauty in this song without Manilow’s loving vocal treatment and Joe Renzetti’s arrangement (although a bit over the top at times). Barry’s piano playing does much of the heavy lifting with setting the mood, letting you know right away this is *not* the Barry English version.
One fun association I have with this song is how it uses what my theory teacher referred to as the “Manilow” modulation. Essentially, if you want to make a song interesting at the end, trying repeating the chorus up a whole step. That sort of “instant transposition” is a pop music convention (at least I’m not aware of any classical composers ever attempting such a thing). It sort of fell out of fashion again after the 70s/80s, but Barry uses it to great effect in this song. The song is in B flat, until that last chorus where the whole thing bumps up to C major.
Another fun example of the “Manilow” modulation is “I Write the Songs”. I adore that song, by the way, so no snickering. But that song does two(!) Manilow modulations before it’s all said and done. Well, technically the first one goes up two whole steps after some key bending in the bridge, but still. By the end, you’re like, “Yes, Barry! We get it, you *do* write the songs!” (Well, except you didn’t write “Mandy” or “I Write the Songs”, but still, point taken!) It’s not a technique to be attempted by the novice, but hey, modulations are fun.
Thanks to Wild Dog Stomp pedals out of Australia for providing the awesome stomp. My model is the Bunyip.
My guitar is an Ovation Custom Legend shallow bowl.
I recorded the guitars and vocals with a Townsend Labs Sphere L22 into my UA Apollo.
I use Elixir Phosphor Bronze Nanoweb Light HD strings.
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