Melissa Manchester

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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 64)
Bronx, New York
United States
Genres Pop, adult contemporary
Occupation(s) Musician, actress
Years active 1971–present
Labels Arista, Bell
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[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.[1]

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.[1]

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 television series Midnight Special in 1974 live. Manchester collaborated with Kenny Loggins to co-write Loggins' 1978 hit duet with Stevie Nicks, "Whenever I Call You Friend".[1] 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, "You Should Hear How She Talks About You" won the 1983 Grammy for Best Female Vocal Performance,[1] 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. Manchester continued to place singles on the Adult Contemporary charts throughout the 1980s. Another top 10 entry on the AC chart was a 1989 updating of Dionne Warwick's "Walk On By".[2] 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 and accompanied by the London Symphony Orchestra.[3]

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."[4] 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,[1] 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 soundtrack to the direct-to-video Lady and the Tramp II: Scamp's Adventure (2001).[5] 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.[6] The new album will feature performances by Keb' Mo', Joe Sample and Dave Koz[7] 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.[8] In an interview with NPR, Manchester talks about the crowd-funding experience and she also relays the back-story behind the single, "Feelin' for You". A drunk in a juke joint approached Manchester and asked if she was married, in response to Manchester's, "Yes, very happily.", he replied, "Too bad, cause I got a feelin' for you."[9] "Feelin' for You", written by Manchester and Sara Niemietz, includes a solo by Keb' Mo'. The single was released on January 9, 2015 and premiered at #2 on the Smooth jazz charts.[10] You Gotta Love the Life was released on February 10, 2015,[11] and hit #17 on the Billboard Magazine Jazz Albums chart for the week of February 28, 2015.[12]

Awards and recognition[edit]

  • In 1980, "Through The Eyes Of Love" (from Ice Castles) and "I'll Never Say Goodbye" (from The Promise) were nominated for Academy Awards, Manchester holds the distinction of the first artist with two movie themes nominated in the same year.[1][13]
  • Grammy Award: "You Should Hear How She Talks About You" (1982) (Best Female Pop Vocal Performance).[1][14]
  • Manchester received the Governor's Award from the National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences for her contributions to the music & recording arts.[13]
  • Her body of work to date as a singer/songwriter was a featured exhibit at the Lyman Allyn Art Museum.[13]
  • Manchester is an adjunct professor at the USC Thornton School of Music.[13]




Year Single Chart Positions Album
US US AC Various
1967 "Beautiful People"
b/w "A Song For You"
Single only
1973 "Never Never Land"
b/w "Be Happy Now" (From Home To Myself)
Single only
1974 "O Heaven (How You've Changed Me)"
b/w "Inclined"
Bright Eyes
1975 "Midnight Blue"
b/w "I Got Eyes"
6 1 #78 (Australia)
#5 (Canada)
"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"
"Rescue Me"
b/w "Happy Endings"
"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"
1978 "Don't Cry Out Loud"
b/w "We Had This Time"
10 9 #57 (Australia)
#9 (Canada)
Don't Cry Out Loud
1979 "Through The Eyes Of Love
(Theme from Ice Castles)"
b/w "Such A Morning"
76 13 #87 (Canada)<> Ice Castles (Original Soundtrack) & Don't Cry Out Loud for (Single Mix)
"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
"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)
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
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
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
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" Single only
2014 "Two Courageous Hearts"
(The Remixes by Mig & Mike Rizzo)
#1 King of Spins
Dance Chart
Single only
2015 "Feelin' For You"
Featuring Keb' Mo'
You Gotta Love the Life

Guest appearances[edit]

Year Song Title Artist Album
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



  1. ^ a b c d e f g Huey, Steve. "Melissa Manchester: Biography". AllMusic. Retrieved 16 January 2015. 
  2. ^ "Melissa Manchester". AllMusic. Retrieved 29 January 2015. 
  3. ^ "Original Soundtrack Little Nemo: Adventures in Slumberland". AllMusic. Archived from the original on 29 January 2015. Retrieved 29 January 2015. 
  4. ^ Andrew Druckenbrod, Music Review: Melissa Manchester's reinvented music still true to her early work, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 16 April 2004
  5. ^ "cast-crew for Lady and the Tramp II: Scamp's Adventure on AllMovie Lady and the Tramp II: Scamp's Adventure (2001)". AllMovie. Archived from the original on 29 January 2015. Retrieved 29 January 2015. 
  6. ^ Melissa Manchester, You Gotta Love the Life, Indiegogo, 19 August 2013
  7. ^ Melissa Manchester, Facebook, 30 March 2014
  8. ^ Melissa Manchester, Facebook, 30 March 2014
  9. ^ Feinstein, Michael (16 January 2015). "Melissa Manchester On Song Travels". NPR. Retrieved 21 January 2015. 
  10. ^ Holleran, Scott (22 January 2015). "Music Review: Melissa Manchester, You Gotta Love the Life". Scott Holleran. Archived from the original on 8 February 2015. Retrieved 8 February 2015. 
  11. ^ "YOU GOTTA LOVE THE LIFE: NEW SINGLE GOING FOR ADDS JAN 19, 2015". Melissa Manchester. Archived from the original on 21 January 2015. Retrieved 21 January 2015. 
  12. ^ "Jazz Albums: Week of February 28, 2015". Billboard Magazine. 28 February 2015. Archived from the original on 20 February 2015. Retrieved 20 February 2015. 
  13. ^ a b c d "Melissa Manchester: Adjunct Professor". USC THORNTON SCHOOL OF MUSIC. Archived from the original on 16 January 2015. Retrieved 16 January 2015. 
  14. ^ "Melissa Manchester: Credits". AllMusic. Retrieved 16 January 2015. 
  15. ^ "GRAMMY WINNER MELISSA MANCHESTER’S DAUMAN MUSIC SMASH ”TWO COURAGEOUS HEARTS” HITS THE SUMMIT AT DANCE RADIO SURVEY ”KING OF SPINS”!". Dauman Music. 13 November 2013. Archived from the original on 2 March 2015. Retrieved 2 March 2015. 

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