“It’s Just Another New Year’s Eve” by Barry Manilow and Marty Panzer, sung by Barry Manilow:
Video posted by Erie Alcantara
Why do I always feel the need to make excuses for bringing up a Barry Manilow song? In my youth, although I was a fan, I was known to say that Manilow had one fast song and one slow song, each with many titles–but it’s not true. It’s more, I think, that he sings in a deceptively stylized way; it sounds relaxed and not stylized at all, but it’s still a strong enough style that the songs he sings sound more alike than different. (Not that he doesn’t have a definite music writing style–he does–but there’s also the fact that the songs that he DIDN’T write sound as much like Barry Manilow as the ones he did.)
Don’t believe me? Try listening–really listening–to the same song sung by Lea Salonga:
Video by #LeaSalong
Beautiful, right? Very much like something you’d expect to find in a Broadway show or in an album of pop standards.
I can’t find anything definitive about Marty Panzer‘s heritage–or really anything about him before the age of 18, when he started writing jingles with Manilow, even on his own website. I’m tempted to say that he’s Jewish just based on his name, but that would be sloppy thinking–and besides, it doesn’t necessarily follow. I’ll just add that he’s regarded as a master lyricist, he collaborates often with Manilow, and has, as his website puts it, garnered “35 gold and platinum albums, four BMI million-play awards, a 3 million-play award, and record sales in excess of 70 million units.”
At this point I feel it must almost be unnecessary to say that Barry Manilow is Jewish, but of course he is. His musical output is prodigious–his songwriting catalog alone runs 17 pages at the Songwriters Hall of Fame website–and he’s a tireless performer. He’s picked up two Emmys, a Grammy, three American Music Awards, and a Special Tony, as well as a 2009 Clio for his earlier work in commercials. At one point, five of his albums were simultaneously on the best-seller charts, he’s had worlwide sales of over 80 million records, and both Radio & Records and Billboard have ranked him as the top Adult Contemporary chart artist of all time. And his latest musical, Harmony, picked up 10 BroadwayWorld Awards for its 2014 Los Angeles run–so we may yet see that Broadway cast album one of these days!