worshiping at the house of barry

When I was 7, I was in love with Barry Manilow. In LOVE. With Barry Manilow. It was fairly intense. Absolutely serious. Had I been born in a different decade, I could totally have been Amy Manilow.

For Christmas 1979, at the top of my Wish List was Barry Manilow's new album THIS ONE'S FOR YOU. It's really all I wanted, actually. Oh, the Donny & Marie dolls were fine. The Farrah Fawcett glamour center was okay. The Speak and Spell was nice. 

But had I not unwrapped THIS ONE'S FOR YOU that Christmas morning, I would have been crushed, I tell you. Crushed! My whole Christmas would have been crap; my world ruined. I am certain I would have known then, for sure: Santa Claus does not exist. (Thank god he got me the album! I went on to be Santa's biggest PR person another 4 years.) (Also, I would sit and stare--for hours--at Barry Manilow's eyes. I may have sliiiight inability to refuse men with light-colored eyes.)

To this day, sometimes I will Youtube "Barry Manilow" and sit, for the next 2 or 3 or 8 hours just sighing very big sighs over him. I've become a Barry connoisseur, actually. For example: 2014 Barry Manilow is lovely. He's older and wiser, an attractive man with amazing talents. But 1975 Barry Manilow? Good heavens, where are my smelling smalts? Friends, there is simply nothing quite as magnificent as Barry Manilow, circa 1975. Barry Manilow, 1975, was a stunning, fine wine. I was only 3 and he was...however old he was in 1975. But no matter! This is when Barry was at his most complete god-like perfection. I submit the following as evidence:

I mean, seriously. How can you argue with that? The white polyester pants suit with the flare at the bottom. The shiny, feathered hair. His jewel-like green eyes, with that sleepy, bedroom-look to them. Perfect specimen of a man. 

Better yet, I've successfully convinced Miss M that Barry Manilow is a musical deity. I hooked her via the song COULD IT BE MAGIC, because at the start of this song, Barry sings: "Sweet MELISSA, angel of my lifetime, answer to all answers I can find..." (I do swear to you I did NOT name my child after a Barry Manilow song--this is sheer coincidence.)

Then, I further her addiction by introducing her to I CAN'T SMILE WITHOUT YOU. Because it's a catchy tune and also: did you know that in every concert up to a certain point (which I suspect is the point Barry felt maybe he couldn't overpower an overzealous fan), Barry would pick a female audience member, bring her on stage, and sing this song with her? Yes! And not only that, but he'd also walk along the stage with her while singing, her arm through his, then he'd jump up on the piano and (deep, calming breath here) stick her between his legs and wrap his arms around her while finishing the song?? (Oh my god. Excuse me while I collect myself. Deep, deep calming breaths.)

Had I seen the video below at age 7, I know I'd have had a completely different childhood. I wouldn't even be the "me" you see right now. I'd be, like, I don't know. I can't even. Here--just watch this video. Skip to 1:55. You'll see why.

If I had only KNOWN about this at age 7, if I had only been aware of the fact Barry Manilow regularly plucked willing girls from his audiences to go on (good lord, breathe, Amy!)...pretend dates with him at concerts? Holy shit. Holy shit! I can't even. I just can't. I'm certain my 7 year old brain would have exploded, because when my 41 year old brain discovered it, it just about had an aneurysm.

And even better than all THAT (if all THAT isn't enough), this summer Miss M and I have been enjoying All Barry Manilow, All The Time! time on car rides around town. Our favorite is this song:
                          Car Concerts With Barry Manilow

We're going to find a karaoke bar and sing that as a duet. Like Gwyneth Paltrow and Huey Lewis, but mother/daughter. And no conscious uncoupling. And more sequins.

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