Manchester in concert on October 28 2009 in Annapolis, Maryland
February 15, 1951 |
Bronx, New York
|Genres||Pop, adult contemporary|
|Associated acts||Barry 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
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 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 and Bette Midler, who took her on as one of her backup singers, the Harlettes in 1971.
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 the Friends episode titled "The One With All the Jealousy", Chandler advises Ross to "keep it inside. Learn how to hide your feelings! ... Don't cry out loud", a reference to the song. 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 a Grammy for Best Female Vocal Performance and reached at #5 on the Billboard charts. Surprisingly it was her last Top 40 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 2004, Manchester 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." 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".
Awards and recognition
- Grammy Award: "You Should Hear How She Talks About You" (1983) (Best Female Pop Vocal Performance).
- Manchester received the Governor's Award from the National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences for her contributions to the music & recording arts.
- Her body of work to date as a singer/songwriter was a featured exhibit at the Lyman Allyn Art Museum.
- 1973: Home to Myself #156 US
- 1974: Bright Eyes #159 US
- 1975: Melissa #12 US
- 1976: Better Days and Happy Endings #24 US
- 1977: Help Is on the Way #60 US
- 1977: Singin'... #60 US
- 1978: Don't Cry Out Loud #33 US
- 1979: Melissa Manchester #63 US
- 1980: For the Working Girl #68 US
- 1979: "I'll Never Say Goodbye", from the motion picture soundtrack for 'The Promise
- 1982: Hey Ricky #19 US
- 1983: Greatest Hits #43 US
- 1983: Emergency #135 US
- 1984: Your Place or Mine, from the motion picture soundtrack A Little Sex
- 1984: "Thief of Hearts" from "Thief of Hearts" Soundtrack
- 1985: Mathematics #144 US
- 1986: "Sittin' on a Dream" from "The Money Pit" Soundtrack
- 1986: "Let Me Be Good to You", from Disney's The Great Mouse Detective
- 1989: Tribute
- 1992: Little Nemo: Adventures in Slumberland
- 1995: If My Heart Had Wings
- 1996: Stand in the Light, duet with Tats Yamashita
- 1997: The Essence of Melissa Manchester
- 1997: Joy
- 1998: The Colors of Christmas
- 1998: I Sent a Letter to My Love, a musical recorded by LA TheatreWorks
- 2004: When I Look Down That Road
|1967||"Beautiful People" b/w A Song For You||—||—||—||Single only|
|1973||"Never Never Land" b/w Be Happy Now (From Home To Myself)||101||—||—||Single only|
|1974||"O Heaven (How You've Changed Me)" b/w Inclined||101||—||—||Bright Eyes|
|1975||"Midnight Blue" b/w I Got Eyes||6||1||#78 (Australia), #5 (Canada)||Melissa|
|"Just Too Many People" b/w This Lady's Not Home Today||30||2||#49 (Canada)|
|1976||"Just You and I" b/w Sing Sing Sing||27||3||#63 (Canada)||Better Days and Happy Endings|
|"Better Days" b/w My Sweet Thing||71||9||#84 (Canada)|
|"Happy Endings" b/w Rescue Me||—||33||—|
|"Rescue Me" b/w Happy Endings||78||—||—|
|"Monkey See, Monkey Do" B/w So's My Old Man||—||—||—||Help 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 Me||—||—||—||Singin'|
|1978||"Don't Cry Out Loud" b/w We Had This Time (Non-LP track)||10||9||#57 (Australia), #9 (Canada)||Don't Cry Out Loud|
|1979||"Theme from Ice Castles (Through The Eyes Of Love)(Single Edit)" b/w Such A Morning||76||13||#87 (Canada)||Ice Castles (Soundtrack)|
|"Pretty Girls" b/w All In The Sky Above||39||26||#80 (Canada)||Melissa Manchester|
|1980||"Fire In the Morning" b/w Lights Of Dawn||32||8||#89 (Canada)|
|"If This Is Love"||102||19||—||For the Working Girl|
|"Lovers After All"||54||25||—|
|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)||5||10||#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 Ricky||42||22||—||Greatest Hits|
|"My Boyfriend's Back"||—||33||#48 (Australia)|
|"No One Can Love You More Than Me"||78||34||#75 (Australia)||Emergency|
|"I Don't Care What the People Say"||—||—||—|
|1984||"Thief of Hearts"||86||18||—||Thief of Hearts (Soundtrack)|
|1985||"Mathematics" b/w "So Full Of Yourself" (Non-LP) written by Manchester||74||—||—||Mathematics|
|"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)||—||6||—||Tribute (Soundtrack)|
|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)||—||—||—|
|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)|
|1972||"Deteriorata", "Magical Misery Tour"||National Lampoon||Radio Dinner|
|1977||"They Never Met"||Martin Mull||I'm Everyone I've Ever Loved|
|1978||"A Half Hour of Heaven (And Eight Hours of Sleep)"||Martin Mull||Sex & Violins|
|1990||"Making Every Moment Count"||Peter Allen||Making Every Moment Count|
|1996||"Stand In the Light"||Tatsuro Yamashita||Cozy|
|2000||"A Mother and Father's Prayer"||Collin Raye||Counting Sheep|
|2002||"Never Let Me Go"||Michael Feinstein||Livingston & Evans Songbook|
|2008||"You've Got A Friend"||Barry Manilow||Greatest Songs of the 70's|
|2010||"You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling" & "What You Wont Do For Love" (not released yet)||Juice Newton||Duets: Friends & Memories|
- The Great Mouse Detective Sung and composed "Let me be Good to You"
- Fame (TV series) actor, singer and writer (episode) credit
- For the Boys (1991)
- Blossom (TV) (1993–1995)
- Dirty Girl (Film) (2011) - independent film that used many songs from her and she had a small non-speaking part as the piano player at the end of the film where the lead character performs "Don't Cry Outluod" in the school variety show.
- "The One With All the Jealousy". Retrieved 2008-07-01.
- Andrew Druckenbrod, Music Review: Melissa Manchester's reinvented music still true to her early work, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 16 April 2004
- Melissa Manchester web site
- Melissa Manchester at the Internet Movie Database
- Melissa Manchester June, 2007 career overview interview with Knight at the Movies