Sunday, April 09, 2006

I Was A Pre-Teen Fanilow ...

(I intended to write an entirely different post, but then this happened:)

This has nothing to do with the post at hand, but as I was getting ready to write, iTunes offered up Barry Manilow's "Daybreak." This used to be my favorite song. I remember very, very well saving up enough allowance to buy this album, and sitting on the couch in the living room of my childhood home with this album on the stereo, with the jacket open on my lap. It was one of those covers that opened like a book. I was in heaven. Then, as now, I listened to the song over and over and over. (I don't mean I listen to "Daybreak" over and over and over now. This is the first time I've heard it in ages. But when I love a new song, I listen to it non-stop.)

I'm sure my brothers, whose bedroom was right off the living room, were thrilled.

My brothers, being older, were listening to Kansas and Led Zeppelin and Lynyrd Skynyrd and Grand Funk. (I was always fascinated by "We're An American Band." The album itself was goldy yellow and the band photo? They were naked. Though shadows hid anything worth seeing. But then, I was, what? 8? How much could I have really appreciated anyway? By the way, I just read online that there were 100,000 copies of the 45 and album pressed on the gold "virgin vinyl," which are a bit of a collector's item, apparently, and worth a few bucks. And iTunes offers a 2002 remix of the title track, though the sample sounds no different than the original cut.)

But no: Thanks to Beth, Barry Manilow was in the house, and I was blaring "Daybreak." My God, I was a weird kid. But I wasn't all about Barry Manilow. Back in the day, I loved K-Tel albums. These days, the kids are buying "Now That's What I Call Music," but they're the same things: collections of hits so you don't have to spend all your money buying entire albums for one song. Of course, with lovely iTunes, you can do the same thing, and you never have to own a Britney Spears track unless, for some reason, you want to.

Oh, but I digress. Years later, when I met To-Be Boyfriend Tom online and we traded voluminous e-mails before meeting for the first time, one of us confessed to having "Barry Manilow Live" as a kid and the other one of us owned up to owning it, too. And wouldn't you know it? "BML" had found its way to CD. So I bought a copy for me and a copy for Tom, and the night of our first date, he brought me an enormous bouquet of flowers and I was able to turn right around and hand him his copy of the CD. He put it on immediately while I arranged flowers.

And later, standing in my apartment's living room, when he stopped kissing me and I said, "What?", he laughed and said, "We're making out to Barry Manilow."

I've never seen him in concert. I own one other album, a greatest-hits colletion. I mean, come on: "Weekend in New England"? You gotta own that tune. "I Write the Songs"? I have six Barry Manilow entries in iTunes. By comparison, I have 106 tracks by Springsteen and 107 by Sting (not counting The Police). Clearly, my fondness for Barry has waned. But I was very happy for my impromptu trip this morning down memory lane.

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