Melissa Manchester

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Melissa Manchester
Manchester in concert on October 28 2009 in Annapolis, Maryland
Background information
Born(1951-02-15) February 15, 1951 (age 63)
Bronx, New York
United States
GenresPop, adult contemporary
OccupationsMusician, actress
Years active1971–present
LabelsArista, Bell
Associated actsBarry Manilow, Bette Midler, Harlettes
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This article is about the singer-songwriter. For her 1979 self-titled album release, see Melissa Manchester (album).
Melissa Manchester
Manchester in concert on October 28 2009 in Annapolis, Maryland
Background information
Born(1951-02-15) February 15, 1951 (age 63)
Bronx, New York
United States
GenresPop, adult contemporary
OccupationsMusician, actress
Years active1971–present
LabelsArista, Bell
Associated actsBarry Manilow, Bette Midler, Harlettes

Melissa Manchester (born February 15, 1951) is an American singer-songwriter and actress. Beginning in the 1970s, she has recorded generally in the adult contemporary genre. She has also appeared as an actress on television, in films, and on stage.

Life and career[edit]

Manchester was born in the Bronx, a borough of New York City, to a musical family. Her father was a bassoonist for the New York Metropolitan Opera. Her mother was one of the first women to design and found her own clothing firm, Ruth Manchester Ltd. Manchester comes from a Jewish background. Manchester started a singing career at an early age, learning the piano and harpsichord at the Manhattan School of Music, singing commercial jingles at age 15, and becoming a staff writer for Chappell Music while attending Manhattan's High School of Performing Arts.

She studied songwriting at New York University with Paul Simon. Manchester then appeared on the Manhattan club scene, where she was discovered by Barry Manilow who introduced her to Bette Midler, who took her on as one of her backup singers, the Harlettes in 1971.

Manchester made a brief speaking appearance as "Yoko Ono" on the 1972 album National Lampoon Radio Dinner, on the track entitled "Magical Misery Tour", and the background singer in "Deteriorata".

Her debut album, Home to Myself, was released in 1973; Manchester co-wrote many of its songs with Carole Bayer Sager. Two years later Manchester's album Melissa produced her first top ten hit, "Midnight Blue", which peaked at #6 on the Billboard charts. She also performed this song on Burt Sugarman's Midnight Special TV series in 1974 live. Manchester collaborated with Kenny Loggins to co-write Loggins' 1978 hit duet with Stevie Nicks, "Whenever I Call You Friend". She would later record this herself for her 1979 Melissa Manchester album. At this time, she guest-starred on the CBS-TV daytime soap opera Search for Tomorrow to teach a main character, who was a singer-songwriter, the essentials of the craft. In 1979 Manchester made #10 with her version of Peter Allen's "Don't Cry Out Loud", for which she received a Grammy nomination for Best Pop Female Vocal Performance.

In 1979 she performed two nominated songs on the Academy Awards show, "The Promise", and "Through the Eyes of Love" (theme song from Ice Castles). The winning song that year was "It Goes Like It Goes," from Norma Rae.

In 1982 she scored her biggest hit ever, "You Should Hear How She Talks About You", which won the 1983 Grammy for Best Female Vocal Performance beating out Linda Ronstadt, Olivia Newton-John, Juice Newton, and the late Laura Branigan. The song itself reached #4 in Cash Box and #5 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart as well as #10 Adult Contemporary. Surprisingly, it was her major Pop hit, but Manchester continued to place singles on the Adult Contemporary charts throughout the 1980s. Her last top 10 entry on the AC chart was a 1989 updating of Dionne Warwick's "Walk On By". The single was pulled from album "Tribute," which honored some of the singers that influenced her style. In 1992 she sang the title song for the animated musical, Little Nemo: Adventures In Slumberland written by the Sherman Brothers.

In 2004, Melissa returned with her first album in 10 years: When I Look Down That Road. While touring to support the album, she was praised for her still "powerful voice" and for "reinventing [herself] while staying true to what made [her] popular."[1] She appeared as herself on a two-day guest appearance on the ABC-TV daytime soap General Hospital to sing the song for Robin Scorpio and her AIDS-afflicted boyfriend Stone Cates.

Through the 1980s and 1990s Manchester alternated recording with acting, appearing with Bette Midler in the film For the Boys, on the television series Blossom, and co-writing (with bookwriter-lyricist Jeffrey Sweet) and starring in the musical I Sent A Letter To My Love based on the Bernice Rubens novel of the same name. In 1990, Manchester could be heard performing "I Wish I Knew", played over the opening credits of the CBS television drama The Trials of Rosie O'Neill. In addition, she opened Game 6 of the 1991 World Series singing the U.S. National Anthem.

Manchester composed and recorded the score to the direct-to-video Lady and the Tramp II: Scamp's Adventure (2001). In April 2007, she returned to the theater, starring in the Chicago production of HATS! The Musical, a show to which she had, with Sharon Vaughn, contributed two songs. Also in 2007, she recorded a duet with Barry Manilow on a cover of the Carole King classic "You've Got A Friend" on Manilow's The Greatest Songs of the Seventies.

In 2008 Manchester released a new single, "The Power of Ribbons", to digital retailers. Proceeds of the single benefit breast cancer research.

In 2011 an independent film named Dirty Girl was released with many of Manchester's songs used throughout the film, five making it on to soundtrack. Manchester made a non-speaking cameo playing the piano as the lead character Danielle sings "Don't Cry Out Loud".

In 2013, Manchester announced that she was recording her 20th studio album, her first since "When I Look Down That Road" tentatively titled "You Gotta Love the Life." She subsequently launched an Indiegogo campaign to raise funds to independently release the album.[2] The new album will feature performances by Keb Mo, Joe Sample, and Dave Koz[3] in addition to a duet with Dionne Warwick and a duet called Big Light Melissa co-written with John Proulx and that she will sing with Al Jarreau.[4]

In 2014, dance music act Duck Sauce sampled her 1985 hit 'Energy' for their new album's lead single 'NRG'

Awards and recognition[edit]




YearSingleChart PositionsAlbum
USUS ACVarious
1967"Beautiful People" b/w A Song For YouSingle only
1973"Never Never Land" b/w Be Happy Now (From Home To Myself)101Single only
1974"O Heaven (How You've Changed Me)" b/w Inclined101Bright Eyes
1975"Midnight Blue" b/w I Got Eyes61#78 (Australia), #5 (Canada)Melissa
"Just Too Many People" b/w This Lady's Not Home Today302#49 (Canada)
1976"Just You and I" b/w Sing Sing Sing273#63 (Canada)Better Days and Happy Endings
"Better Days" b/w My Sweet Thing719#84 (Canada)
"Happy Endings" b/w Rescue Me33
"Rescue Me" b/w Happy Endings78
"Monkey See, Monkey Do" B/w So's My Old ManHelp Is on the Way
1977"Be Somebody" b/w Dirty Work
"I Wanna Be Where You Are" b/w No One's Ever seen This Side Of MeSingin'
1978"Don't Cry Out Loud" b/w "We Had This Time"109#57 (Australia), #9 (Canada)Don't Cry Out Loud
1979"Through The Eyes Of Love (Theme from Ice Castles)" b/w "Such A Morning"7613#87 (Canada)Ice Castles (Original Soundtrack) & Don't Cry Out Loud for (Single Mix)
"Pretty Girls" b/w All In The Sky Above3926#80 (Canada)Melissa Manchester
1980"Fire In the Morning" b/w Lights Of Dawn328#89 (Canada)
"If This Is Love"10219For the Working Girl
"Lovers After All"5425
"Without You"
1982"Race to the End" b/w Long Goodbyes (Non LP Track)Hey Ricky
"You Should Hear How She Talks About You" b/w Long Goodbyes (Non Lp Track)510#4 (Australia), #5 (Canada), #20 (New Zealand)
"Hey Ricky (You're a Low-Down Heel)" B/w Come In From The Rain (1982 Version)
1983"Nice Girls" b/w Hey Ricky4222Greatest Hits
"My Boyfriend's Back"33#48 (Australia)
"No One Can Love You More Than Me"7834#75 (Australia)Emergency
"I Don't Care What the People Say"
1984"Thief of Hearts"8618Thief of Hearts (Soundtrack)
1985"Mathematics" b/w "So Full Of Yourself" (Non-LP) written by Manchester74Mathematics
"Energy" b/w "So Full Of Yourself"
"Just One Lifetime", Barbra Streisand's wedding song b/w "So Full Of Yourself"
1986"The Music of Goodbye" (with Al Jarreau)16#75 (UK)Out of Africa (Soundtrack)
1989"Walk on By" b/w To Make You Smile Again (1989 Version)6Tribute
1995"In a Perfect World"If My Heart Had Wings
"Here to Love You"
2004"After All This Time"When I Look Down That Road
"Bend" b/w "Treasure" (non CD track)
"Angels Dancing"
2006"My Christmas Song for You"Platinum Christmas, Vol. 3
2008"The Power of Ribbons"Single only
2011"You've Got A Friend" (long version)Barry Manilow Duets
2011"Rainbird"Dirty Girl (Soundtrack)
2013"I Know Who I Am (Live)"For Colored Girls (2010) & The Butler (2013) (Soundtracks) sung by Leona Lewis & Playlist: The Very Best Of Melissa Manchester
"Be My Baby"You Gotta Love The Life
"Two Courageous Hearts (The Remixes by Mig & Mike Rizzo)"#1 (King of Spins Dance Chart)

Guest appearances[edit]

YearSong TitleArtistAlbum
1972"Deteriorata", "Magical Misery Tour"National LampoonRadio Dinner
1977"They Never Met"Martin MullI'm Everyone I've Ever Loved
1978"A Half Hour of Heaven (And Eight Hours of Sleep)"Martin MullSex & Violins
1990"Making Every Moment Count"Peter AllenMaking Every Moment Count
1996"Stand In the Light"Tatsuro YamashitaCozy
2000"A Mother and Father's Prayer"Collin RayeCounting Sheep
2002"Never Let Me Go"Michael FeinsteinLivingston & Evans Songbook
2008"You've Got A Friend"Barry ManilowGreatest Songs of the 70's
2010"You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling" & "What You Wont Do For Love" (not released yet)Juice NewtonDuets: Friends & Memories



External links[edit]