Could It Be Magic

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"Could It Be Magic"
Single by Barry Manilow
from the album Barry Manilow
Released 1975
Format 7" single
Recorded 1973
Genre Pop
Length 6:50
4:14 (edit)
Label Arista
Writer(s) Barry Manilow, Adrienne Anderson
Producer(s) Barry Manilow
Barry Manilow singles chronology
"It's a Miracle"
(1975)
"Could It Be Magic"
(1975)
"I Write the Songs"
(1975)

"Could It Be Magic" is a song with lyrics written by Adrienne Anderson and music composed by Barry Manilow, based on chord and melodical progressions of Frédéric Chopin's Prelude in C Minor, Opus 28, Number 20. Initially released in 1971, it was later rerecorded, given an album release in 1973 and a single release in 1975. This became one of Manilow's first hits. The song has been covered by a number of other artists over the years, most successfully by Donna Summer in 1976 and by Take That in 1992.

Barry Manilow version[edit]

As Manilow had only composed or arranged commercial jingles up to that point, he was unproven as a pop-song arranger and was therefore not permitted to arrange the original backing track himself upon its first release in 1971, (see composer's autobiography Sweet Life) Instead, this early version of the song was produced under the hand of Tony Orlando and recorded by Featherbed, a "ghost" group consisting of session musicians.

Originally released on the Bell Records label, the composer hated the Tony Orlando arrangement so severely (see Sweet Life) that, as he says in numerous subsequent interviews, he was appreciative of the fact that the song went nowhere on the charts.

However he has been quoted in recent years as having somewhat softened his opinion of the track, saying it's "kind of catchy."

Featuring a bubblegum pop beat, cowbells and a Knock Three Times feel, the chorus is the same, however the original verse lyrics have nothing to do with the hit version released in 1973.

That year, Manilow would come to be signed to Bell Records in his own right, immediately after which a completely reworked version with Manilow's own arrangement was included on his debut album, Barry Manilow released that fall.

Six months later, former Columbia Records president Clive Davis would take over Bell Records and merge it into Arista with all the other Columbia Pictures-owned labels such as Amy Mala Colpix and Colgems to name a few.

Most of the artists at Bell were dropped during the merger, but due to the song's popularity, Manilow was brought over to Arista in the spring of 1974 and Could It Be Magic was released as a single a year later - a full two years after it had been originally recorded, where it reached #6 in the United States.

The lyric "Sweet Melissa" is a tribute to singer Melissa Manchester, Manilow's then-Arista label-mate.

The song was remixed in 1993 using the original orchestration of brass and strings combined with new drums, bass and synthesizers, and was included on the album Greatest Hits: The Platinum Collection. An extended remix of the 1993 version was issued as a promotional 12" single and included on the 12" single of "I'd Really Love to See You Tonight."

Charts[edit]

Chart (1975) Peak
position
Canadian Singles Chart 24
Irish Singles Chart 18
UK Singles Chart 25
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 6
U.S. Adult Contemporary 4

Donna Summer version[edit]

"Could It Be Magic"
Single by Donna Summer
from the album A Love Trilogy
B-side Whispering Waves
Released January 11, 1976
Format 7" single
Genre Disco
Length 5:19
Label Oasis (U.S./Canada)
GTO (U.K.)
Atlantic (France/Germany)
Groovy (Netherlands)
Durium (Italy)
Producer(s) Giorgio Moroder, Pete Bellotte
Donna Summer singles chronology
"Love to Love You Baby"
(1975)
"Could It Be Magic"
(1976)
"Try Me, I Know We Can Make It"
(1976)

Just one year after Manilow's original version was released as a single, American singer Donna Summer recorded a disco version of the track and included it on her third studio album, Love Trilogy, and took it to number three on the US Dance chart in 1976.[1] The song also entered the UK single chart where it stayed for seven weeks (peak point #40)

Track listing[edit]

U.S. 7" single (Oasis OC 405) / Canada 7" single (Oasis OC 405X)
  1. "Could It Be Magic" (3:15)
  2. "Whispering Waves" (4:50)
U.K. 7" single (GTO GT 60)
  1. "Could It Be Magic" (3:15)
  2. "Whispering Waves" (?)
Germany 7" single (Atlantic ATL 10 775)
  1. "Could It Be Magic" (5:20)
  2. "Come With Me" (4:20)
Netherlands 7" single (Groovy GR 1219)
  1. "Could It Be Magic" (3:15)
  2. "Whispering Waves" (4:50)
France 7" single (Atlantic 10.770)
  1. "Could It Be Magic" (4:13)
  2. "Whispering Waves" (4:15)
Italy 7" single (Durium DE 2873)
  1. "Could It Be Magic" (3:15)
  2. "Whispering Waves" (3:35)

Charts[edit]

Chart (1976) Peak
position
Austrian Singles Chart[2] 14
Dutch GfK chart 5
Dutch Top 40 2
German Singles Chart[3] 23
UK Singles Chart[4] 40
U.S. Billboard Hot Soul Singles[5] 21
U.S. Billboard Hot 100[5] 52

Take That version[edit]

"Could It Be Magic"
UK Maxi-CD cover
Single by Take That
from the album Take That & Party
Released November 30, 1992
Format 7" single, 12" maxi single, CD single, Cassette single
Genre Pop
Length 4:28 (Album Version)
Label RCA
Producer(s) The Rapino Brothers
Take That singles chronology
"A Million Love Songs"
(1992)
"Could It Be Magic"
(1992)
"Why Can't I Wake Up With You"
(1993)
Alternative covers
European 7" vinyl cover

Produced and remixed by The Rapino Brothers, English boy band Take That released their cover version, based on Donna Summer/Giorgio Moroder's up-tempo arrangement of the track, on November 30, 1992[6] as the final single from their debut album Take That & Party. The song does not appear on the cassette version of the album but was issued as a cassette single. It peaked at number three on the UK Singles Chart and was featured in that year's Only Fools and Horses Christmas special "Mother Nature's Son" in the background of one of the scenes.

The song won Best British Single at the 1993 Brit Awards.

During The Ultimate Tour in 2006, former member Robbie Williams appeared on a hologram with a pre-recorded section of his vocals.[7] Gary Barlow sings lead vocals since Take That's reformation.

The song has received a Silver sales status certification and sold over 325,000 copies sold in the UK.

Despite its success, Take That's version of "Could It Be Magic" has been named as one of the worst songs in the history of recorded sound.

Music video[edit]

The music video shows a young woman leaving a garage before the lights are turned back on and Take That perform the song with many other dancers.

Track listings[edit]

UK 12" vinyl (74321 12313 1)(Limited Edition w/ poster sleeve)
  1. Deep In Rapino's Club Mix - 5:56
  2. Take That Club Megamix - 7:03
  3. Mr. F. Mix - 6:18
UK 7" vinyl (74321 12313 7)
  1. Rapino Radio Mix - 3:30
  2. Take That Radio Megamix - 4:38
UK cassette (74321 12313 4)
  1. Rapino Radio Mix - 3:30
  2. Take That Radio Megamix - 4:38
UK CD single (74321 12313 2)
  1. Rapino Radio Mix - 3:30
  2. Deep In Rapino's Club Mix - 5:56
  3. Acapella - 3:12
  4. Ciao Baby Mix - 7:19
  5. Rapino Dub - 3:44
  6. Paparazzo Mix - 5:27
  7. Deep In Rapino's Dub - 5:57
  8. Club Rapino Mix - 3:43
EU CD single (74321 12735 2)
  1. Rapino Radio Mix - 3:30
  2. Deep In Rapino's Club Mix - 5:56
  3. Ciao Baby Mix - 7:19
  4. Paparazzo Mix - 5:27
Japanese CD single (TAKE8)
  1. Rapino Radio Mix - 3:30
  2. Take That Radio Megamix - 4:38

Charts[edit]

Chart (1992-93) Peak
position
Australia (ARIA Charts)[8] 30
Belgium (Ultratop 50) (Flanders)[9] 8
Belgium (Ultratop 50) (Wallonia)[9] 9
Europe (Eurochart Hot 100)[10] 9
France (SNEP)[8] 42
Germany (Media Control AG)[8] 37
Ireland (IRMA)[11] 3
Sweden (Sverigetopplistan)[8] 30
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[12] 3
End of year chart (1992) Position
UK Singles (Official Charts Company) 37
End of year chart (1993) Position
Belgian (Flanders) Singles Chart[13] 67

Certifications[edit]

Country Certification Date Sales certified
UK[14] Silver 1 January 1993 200,000

Other official versions[edit]

  • Album Version (4:28)
  • Live Version (5:34)

Abigail version[edit]

"Could It Be Magic"
Single by Abigail
from the album Feel Good
B-side This Is A Dream
Released 1993
Format 12" maxi single
Genre Hi-NRG
Length 6:21
Label Klone Records
Abigail singles chronology
"I Feel You"
(1992)
"Could It Be Magic"
(1993)
"Constant Craving"
(1993)

This single was only available as a 12" Single. The B-side, "This Is A Dream" is a high upbeat dance music with the lyrics "This Is A Dream" will appear every so often in the song.

Other notable versions[edit]

  • The Shirelles also recorded a version that was released on a bootleg album in the late 1970s.
  • A jazz version of the tune was arranged into a trio setting by Filipino pianist/arranger Bobby Enriquez, then performed during a summer tour of Japan in 1982. A recording of the piece is on the album, "Bobby Enriquez: Live! In Tokyo." GNP Crescendo GNPD-2161
  • A house remix of the song appears as the penultimate track on Hed Kandi: Disco Heaven 01.05, credited to "Andrea T. Mendoza & Tibet feat. Ife Corcoran".[15]
  • In 1993 British top-producer Trevor Horn remixed the song with Barry Manilow, who re-recorded his vocals. The release was only available on promo-12" ARISTA-COULD1993
  • The song was recorded in Dutch by the singer Rob de Nijs, called Ontmoeting. The text was written by his former wife Belinda Meulendijk, and was released as a single in 1986. It was taken from the album Vrije val.
  • The Dutch group Lucifer also recorded the track in 1975, even before Donna Summer recorded hers. This version does not contain the Chopin-preludium, but instead has a falset-ladyvoice from Margriet Eshuys and mandolines.
  • French singer Alain Chamfort released a French-language version of the song under the title "le temps qui court" in 1975.
  • Chamfort's version was later covered by boy band Alliage in 1997. Their version peaked at number 13 in France and number 32 in Belgium (Wallonia).[16] This version was covered by Les Enfoirés in 2006, reaching number four in France, number two in Belgium (Wallonia) and number 19 in Switzerland.[17]
  • In 2013, Barry Manilow performed his piano ballad version of the song for BBC Children in Need Rocks. After the first chorus, Manilow shouted "Come on then fellas!" and was joined by Robbie Williams and Gary Barlow of Take That. Together, they performed the up-tempo arrangement of the song, featuring Williams and Barlow on lead vocals for the verse. Manilow sung lead vocals on the chorus, with Williams and Barlow on backing vocals. It was the first time in 19 years that Williams and Barlow had performed the song together.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). Hot Dance/Disco: 1974-2003. Record Research. p. 249. 
  2. ^ "Could It Be Magic" by Donna Summer, in Austrian Singles Chart Lescharts.com (Retrieved July 30, 2008)
  3. ^ German Singles Chart Charts-surfer.de (Retrieved July 30, 2008)
  4. ^ UK Singles Chart (Donna Summer version) Chartstats.com (Retrieved July 30, 2008)
  5. ^ a b Billboard, Donna Summer version allmusic.com (Retrieved July 30, 2008)
  6. ^ Take That Could It Be Magic UK Promo 5" CD SINGLE (15424)
  7. ^ Take That Biography 2007 | Take That|Biography
  8. ^ a b c d "Could It Be Magic", in various singles charts Lescharts.com (Retrieved April 10, 2008)
  9. ^ a b http://www.ultratop.be/nl/showitem.asp?interpret=Take+That&titel=Could+It+Be+Magic&cat=s (Retrieved September 17, 2012)
  10. ^ name="Lescharts"
  11. ^ Irish Single Chart Irishcharts.ie (Retrieved April 10, 2008)
  12. ^ UK Singles Chart Chartstats.com (Retrieved April 10, 2008)
  13. ^ 1993 Belgian (Flanders) Singles Chart Ultratop.be (Retrieved 28 July 2008)
  14. ^ UK certifications Bpi.co.uk (Retrieved 2 September 2008)
  15. ^ amazon.co.uk
  16. ^ ""Le temps qui court," Alliage version" (in French). Lescharts. Retrieved 2010-02-19. 
  17. ^ ""Le temps qui court", Les Enfoirés version" (in French). Lescharts. Retrieved 2010-02-19. 

External links[edit]