Could It Be Magic

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"Could It Be Magic"
Barry Manilow Could it be magic A-side US vinyl 1975.jpg
A-side label of US vinyl single
Single by Barry Manilow
from the album Barry Manilow
Released1971, 1973
June 1975 (re-release)
Format7" single
Recorded1970, 1973
4:14 (edit)
Songwriter(s)Barry Manilow, Frédéric Chopin (music)
Adrienne Anderson 1973 version, Tony Orlando 1970 version (lyrics)
Producer(s)Tony Orlando - 1970 version, Barry Manilow, Ron Dante 1973 version
Barry Manilow singles chronology
"Sweet Water Jones"
"Could It Be Magic"
"Let's Take Some Time to Say Goodbye"

"It's a Miracle"

"Could It Be Magic"

"I Write the Songs"

"Could It Be Magic" is a song with lyrics by Adrienne Anderson and music by Barry Manilow, based on Frédéric Chopin's Prelude in C Minor, Opus 28, Number 20. Initially released in 1971 by Featherbed (a group of session musicians featuring Barry Manilow), produced and co-written by Tony Orlando, it was later re-recorded as a Barry Manilow solo track, given a first album and single release in 1973 on Bell Records and - after remixing - an album and single rerelease in 1975 on Arista Records. The 1975 re-release became one of Manilow's first hits. The song has been recorded by a number of other artists over the years, most successfully by Donna Summer in 1976 and by Take That in 1992.

Featherbed and Barry Manilow versions[edit]

Not long after he signed Barry Manilow to Columbia's newly acquired Bell Records label in 1969, Tony Orlando, vice-president of Columbia/CBS Music, began to produce a number of tracks for Manilow. Orlando contributed lyrics to Manilow's "Could It Be Magic," producing and arranging it as an uptempo pop single. As Manilow had only composed or arranged commercial jingles up to that point, he was unproven as a pop-song arranger, and, as such, was not permitted to arrange the backing track for the song's 1971 release. This early version of the song was released under the name of Featherbed, a "ghost" group consisting of session musicians including Manilow.[1][2][3]

Manilow in a 1975 publicity photo

Originally released on the Bell Records label, the composer hated the Tony Orlando arrangement so severely (see Sweet Life) that, as Manilow has said 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, but the original verse lyrics have nothing to do with the hit version Manilow himself released in 1973 and again in 1975.

Manilow produced and re-arranged the next, slower-tempo version on his debut album, Barry Manilow in 1973. 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 re-released as a single a year later—a full two years after it had been originally recorded, where it reached number 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".

Chart performance[edit]

Donna Summer version[edit]

"Could It Be Magic"
Could it be magic by Donna Summer A-side US vinyl.jpg
US 7-inch vinyl single
Single by Donna Summer
from the album A Love Trilogy
B-side"Whispering Waves"
ReleasedJanuary 11, 1976
Format7" single
LabelOasis (US/Canada)
GTO (U.K.)
Atlantic (France/Germany)
Groovy (Netherlands)
Durium (Italy)
Songwriter(s)Barry Manilow, Frédéric Chopin (music)
Adrienne Anderson (lyrics)
Producer(s)Giorgio Moroder, Pete Bellotte
Donna Summer singles chronology
"Love to Love You Baby"
"Could It Be Magic"
"Try Me, I Know We Can Make It"

Just seven months 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, A Love Trilogy, and took it to number three on the US Dance chart in 1976.[11] The song also entered the UK singles chart where it stayed for seven weeks (peak point #40)

Track listing[edit]

US 7" single (Oasis OC 405) / Canada 7" single (Oasis OC 405X)
  1. "Could It Be Magic" – 3:15
  2. "Whispering Waves" – 4:50
UK 7" single (GTO GT 60)
  1. "Could It Be Magic" – 3:15
  2. "Whispering Waves" – 4:50
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

Chart history[edit]

Chart (1976) Peak
Austrian Singles Chart[12] 14
Dutch GfK chart 5
Dutch Top 40 2
German Singles Chart[13] 23
Italy 3
UK Singles Chart[14] 40
US Billboard Hot Soul Singles[15] 21
US Billboard Hot 100[15] 52
US Billboard Hot Dance Club Play 3
US Billboard Easy Listening[16] 47

Take That version[edit]

"Could It Be Magic"
Take that could it be magic uk cd single.jpg
UK Maxi-CD cover
Single by Take That
from the album Take That & Party
ReleasedNovember 30, 1992
Producer(s)The Rapino Brothers
Take That singles chronology
"A Million Love Songs"
"Could It Be Magic"
"Why Can't I Wake Up with You"
Music video
"Could It Be Magic" on YouTube

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[17] 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.[18] Gary Barlow sings lead vocals since Take That's reformation.

The song has received a Silver sales status certification and has sold over 345,000 copies in the UK.

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. The music video was filmed at Bray Studios, Water Oakley, Windsor, Berkshire in 1992.


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



Country Certification Date Sales certified
UK Silver 1 January 1993 345,000[26]

Other official versions[edit]

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

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".[27]
  • 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.
  • It was covered by The Puppini Sisters on their album The Rise and Fall of Ruby Woo.
  • In 1993 British top-producer Trevor Horn remixed the song with Barry Manilow, who re-recorded his vocals. The release was only available on a promotional 12" single, "ARISTA-COULD1993."
  • Abigail's rendition of the song was available only as a 12-inch single, released in 1993. 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.
  • 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).[28] This version was covered by Les Enfoirés in 2006, reaching number four in France, number two in Belgium (Wallonia) and number 19 in Switzerland.[29]
  • Mexican female trio Pandora released a Spanish-language version of the song under the title "Puede ser genial" in 1992, with the backing vocals of the Venezuelan singer Ricardo Montaner.
  • In 2007, Lazlo Bane covered the song on the album Guilty Pleasures.
  • Regine Velasquez performed the song for her live album, Regine Live: Songbird Sings the Classics.
  • Leona Lewis, Eoghan Quigg, Joe McElderry and Mary Byrne performed this song on the third, fifth, sixth and seventh series of The X Factor's British version, respectively. Lewis and McElderry eventually won their respective series.
  • The Australian boy band Human Nature (band) released a version of the song performed as a medley with another Manilow hit, Mandy (English and Kerr song), on their 2010 LP Vegas: Songs from Sin City. Manilow himself is featured on the track.
  • Color Theory released a synthpop version of the song, along with a remix of by Norwegian producer Lyder Janøy, on his EP "Adjustments Pt. 2" in 2014.
  • 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 sang 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.


  1. ^ Knopper, Steve. "Tony Orlando still hasn't needed that backup career option, despite his mother's advice". Retrieved 14 April 2018.
  2. ^ "Knock 3 times if you want Tony Orlando". 16 February 2012. Retrieved 14 April 2018.
  3. ^ "Featherbed Featuring Barry Manilow - Could It Be Magic". Discogs. Retrieved 14 April 2018.
  4. ^ "Top RPM Singles: Issue 9166." RPM. Library and Archives Canada.
  5. ^ "Top RPM Adult Contemporary: Issue 6152a." RPM. Library and Archives Canada.
  6. ^ "Barry Manilow Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard.
  7. ^ "Barry Manilow Chart History (Adult Contemporary)". Billboard.
  8. ^ "Item Display - RPM - Library and Archives Canada". Retrieved 2016-10-10.
  9. ^ "Top 100 Hits of 1980/Top 100 Songs of 1980". Retrieved 2016-10-10.
  10. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-04-14. Retrieved 2015-07-22.
  11. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). Hot Dance/Disco: 1974-2003. Record Research. p. 249.
  12. ^ Steffen Hung. "Donna Summer - Could It Be Magic". Retrieved 2016-10-10.
  13. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2009-06-28. Retrieved 2010-03-31.
  14. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2009-02-12. Retrieved 2008-07-30.
  15. ^ a b Billboard, Donna Summer version (Retrieved July 30, 2008)
  16. ^ Whitburn, Joel (1993). Top Adult Contemporary: 1961–1993. Record Research. p. 234.
  17. ^ "Take That Could It Be Magic UK Promo CD single (CD5 / 5") (15424)". 2002-03-14. Archived from the original on 2016-10-11. Retrieved 2016-10-10.
  18. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2007-04-07. Retrieved 2007-05-12.
  19. ^ a b c d e Steffen Hung. "Take That - Could It Be Magic". Retrieved 2016-10-10.
  20. ^ a b "Take That - Could It Be Magic". Retrieved 2016-10-10.
  21. ^ "The Irish Charts - All there is to know". Archived from the original on 2009-06-03. Retrieved 2016-10-10.
  22. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2009-02-12. Retrieved 2009-02-28.
  23. ^ Steffen Hung. "Forum - Top 100 End of Year ARIA Charts - 1990s (ARIA Charts: Special Occasion Charts)". Retrieved 2016-10-10.
  24. ^ "Ultratop Belgian Charts". Retrieved 2016-10-10.
  25. ^ "Billboard". 2000-01-01. Retrieved 2014-03-31.
  26. ^ "Take That's Top 40 biggest songs revealed". Retrieved 15 August 2018.
  27. ^ "Disco Heaven 01.05: Music". Retrieved 2016-10-10.
  28. ^ ""Le temps qui court," Alliage version" (in French). Lescharts. Retrieved 2010-02-19.
  29. ^ ""Le temps qui court", Les Enfoirés version" (in French). Lescharts. Retrieved 2010-02-19.

External links[edit]