Friday, November 29, 2013

Melissa Manchester, The #92 Female Artist of the Rock Era*

Musical talent runs in the Manchester family--her father played bassoon for the New York Metropolitan Opera.  Melissa began singing 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 the Manhattan High School of Performing Arts.

Manchester studied songwriting at New York University with Paul Simon.  It was her performance on the Manhattan club scene that attracted the attention of Barry Manilow and Bette Midler, who hired Melissa as one of Midler's backup singers in 1971.  Manchester co-wrote many of the songs on her debut album, Home to Myself (released in 1973), with Carole Bayer Sager.
Two years later, Manchester scored her first Top 10 song with "Midnight Blue", a #1 song on the Adult chart.

Melissa's follow-up, "Just Too Many People", became a #2 Easy Listening smash, #30 overall.

The following year, Manchester released the album Better Days and Happy Endings, which contained the #3 Adult song "Just You And I".

In 1978, Melissa teamed with Kenny Loggins to co-write "Whenever I Call You Friend", a song Loggins sang with Stevie Nicks.  Manchester also guest-starred on the CBS soap opera Search for Tomorrow.  The following year, she scored a huge hit with a song that would go on to be nominated for a Grammy for Best Pop Female Vocal Performance.  It peaked at #10.

Manchester's 1979 song "Theme From 'Ice Castles' (Through The Eyes Of Love)" was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Song from a Motion Picture.  She also recorded a song that was underrated, only reaching #39:

Manchester released her self-titled album in 1979.  The lead single was another underrated song, reaching only #26 on the Adult Contemporary chart and #39 overall:

"Fire In The Morning", while only reaching #32, performed much better on the Adult Contemporary chart, hitting #8 there:

1982 saw the release of Manchester's biggest career hit.  "You Should Hear How She Talks About You" landed at #5 and won the Grammy for Best Female Vocalist:

Surprisingly, Manchester wouldn't score another Top 40 hit after this, but she did achieve success on the more popular Adult Contemporary format.  

Manchester continued to record through 2004, appeared on the soap opera General Hospital and in 1991, sang the U.S. National Anthem prior to Game 6 of the World Series.  Manchester received the Governor's Award from the National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences for her contributions to the music & recording arts.

Manchester had seven Top 40 hits, with three Top 10 songs, but on the Adult chart, she scored 18 hits, with eight of those making the Top 10.

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