Just give it a couple of days…

“It’s Just Another New Year’s Eve” by Barry Manilow and Marty Panzer, sung by Barry Manilow:

Video posted by egaygigi

Yeah, yeah, I know, Barry Manilow, yadayada. But did you listen to the song? Because it’s really good. Try listening to the same song sung by Lea Salonga:

Video posted by LeaSalonga–Topic (Provided to YouTube by Sony Music Entertainment)

Beautiful, right? Very much like something you’d expect to find in a Broadway show or in an album of pop standards. People say that all Manilow’s songs sound the same, but my theory is that he sings in a very stylized way even though it sounds simply conversational, and it’s 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, but the songs on his albums that he DIDN’T write sound as much like Barry Manilow as the ones he did. That’s a neat trick.)

Not to mention that right about now, I find it really nice to hear someone sing “We’ll get through this…we’ll be just fine,” don’t you?

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.”

Of course, Barry Manilow himself is Jewish. His musical output is prodigious–his songwriting catalog alone runs 17 pages at the Songwriters Hall of Fame–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. His recent musical, Harmony, picked up 10 BroadwayWorld Awards for its 2014 Los Angeles run. And his most recent album, “My Dream Duets,” picked up a 2016 Grammy nomination.