Melissa Manchester

Intro American singer and actress
Is Actor Musician Singer Songwriter Television actor Film actor
From United States of America
Type Film, Television, Stage and Radio Music
Gender female
Birth 15 February 1951, The Bronx, USA
Star sign Aquarius
Pop music

Melissa Manchester (born February 15, 1951) is an American singer-songwriter and actress. Since the 1970s, her songs have been carried by adult contemporary radio stations. She has also appeared on television, in films, and on stage.

Life and career

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 hails from a Jewish background. Manchester started a singing career at an early age. She learned the piano and harpsichord at the Manhattan School of Music, began singing commercial jingles at age 15, and became a staff writer for Chappell Music while attending Manhattan's High School of Performing Arts. She studied songwriting at New York University with Paul Simon. Manchester played the Manhattan club scene, where she was discovered by Barry Manilow, who introduced her to Bette Midler. In 1971 she became a member of the Harlettes, the back-up singers for Midler. 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 as the 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 enjoyed 17 weeks on the Billboard Hot 100 charts. The song's peak position was #6 for the week of August 9, 1975. She also performed the song live on Burt Sugarman's television series Midnight Special in 1974. Manchester appeared with Richie Havens, Melanie, and Frankie Valli as a contributor and performer in the 1977 NBC special documentary "How the Beatles Changed the World". Manchester collaborated with Kenny Loggins to co-write Loggins' 1978 hit duet with Stevie Nicks, "Whenever I Call You Friend". She would later record this for her 1979 Melissa Manchester album. She guest-starred on the CBS-TV daytime soap opera Search for Tomorrow to teach a main character (played by Michael Nouri), who played a singer-songwriter, the essentials of the craft. In 1979, Manchester reached #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: "I'll Never Say Goodbye" (from 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, she released the smash "You Should Hear How She Talks About You," which won the 1983 Grammy for Best Pop Female Vocal Performance, beating out Linda Ronstadt, Olivia Newton-John, Juice Newton, and Laura Branigan. The song itself reached #4 in Cash Box and #5 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart as well as #10 Adult Contemporary. In 1985 she signed with MCA Records and released the album "Ma+hematics". Manchester continued to place singles on the Adult Contemporary charts throughout the 1980s. Another top-ten entry on the AC chart was a 1989 updating of Dionne Warwick's "Walk on By". The single was pulled from her Mika/Polygram 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. In 1995 she released the album "If My Heart Had Wings" on the Atlantic Records label. She appeared as herself during 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. Throughout the 1980s and 1990s Manchester alternated recording with acting, appearing with Bette Midler in the film For the Boys, on the television series Blossom, 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). In 2004, Manchester returned with her first album in 9 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." In April 2007, she returned to theater, starring in the Chicago production of HATS! The Musical, a show to which she and Sharon Vaughn contributed two songs. Also in 2007, she recorded a duet with Barry Manilow as 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 of which made it onto the soundtrack. Manchester made a non-speaking cameo appearance as the pianist who accompanies the lead character's rendition of "Don't Cry Out Loud". In 2013, Manchester announced that she was recording her 20th studio album, You Gotta Love the Life, her first since When I Look Down That Road. She subsequently launched an Indiegogo campaign to raise funds to independently release the album. In an interview with NPR, Manchester talks about the crowd-funding experience and relays the back-story behind the single, "Feelin' for You". A drunk in a juke joint approached Manchester and asked if she was married, to which she replied, "Yes, very happily." The drunk replied, "Too bad, cause I got a feelin' for you." "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. You Gotta Love the Life was released on February 10, 2015, and hit #17 on the Billboard Jazz Albums chart for the week of February 28, 2015. A second single, "Big Light", featuring a duet with Al Jarreau along with an accompanying music video, was released for radio on June 15, 2015. On June 25, 2019, The New York Times Magazine listed Melissa Manchester among hundreds of artists whose material was reportedly destroyed in the 2008 Universal fire.

Awards and recognitions

In 1980, "Through The Eyes of Love" (from the Ice Castles original soundtrack) and "I'll Never Say Goodbye" (from The Promise) were nominated for Academy Awards. Grammy Award: "You Should Hear How She Talks About You" (1982) (Best Female Pop Vocal Performance). Manchester received the Governor's Award from the National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences for her contributions to the music & recording arts. Her body of work to date as a singer/songwriter was a featured exhibit at the Lyman Allyn Art Museum. Manchester is an adjunct professor at the USC Thornton School of Music. Manchester presented "The Sonic Thermal" at TEDxRiverside explaining her lifelong focus on both random and composed melodies and the back-story behind her first crowd-funded album.


Studio albums

1973: Home to Myself – US #156 1974: Bright Eyes – US #159 1975: Melissa – US #12 1976: Better Days and Happy Endings – US #24 1976: Help Is on the Way – US #60 1977: Singin'… – US #60 1978: Don't Cry Out Loud – US #33 1979: Melissa Manchester – US #63 1980: For the Working Girl – US #68 1982: Hey Ricky – US #19 1983: Emergency – US #135 1985: Ma+hematics – US #144 1989: Tribute 1995: If My Heart Had Wings 1997: Joy 1998: The Colors of Christmas 1998: I Sent a Letter to My Love, a musical recorded by L.A. Theatre Works 2004: When I Look Down That Road 2015: You Gotta Love the Life 2017: The Fellas

Compilation albums

1983: Greatest Hits – US #43 1984: The Many Moods of Melissa Manchester 1996: Best Selection (Japan release) 1997: The Essence of Melissa Manchester 2001: Midnight Blue: Encore Collection 2004: Platinum & Gold Collection 2013: Playlist: The Very Best of Melissa Manchester 2017: Through The Eyes Of Love: The Complete Arista 7" Singles – 2CD set

Songs featured on soundtrack albums and various artist compilations

1979: "I'll Never Say Goodbye", from the motion picture soundtrack for The Promise 1979: "Through the Eyes of Love", from the motion picture soundtrack for Ice Castles – US #179 1984: "Your Place or Mine", from the motion picture soundtrack for A Little Sex 1984: "Thief of Hearts", from Thief of Hearts soundtrack – US #179 1986: "The Music of Goodbye" (duet with Al Jarreau), from Out of Africa soundtrack 1986: "Sittin' on a Dream" from The Money Pit soundtrack 1986: "Let Me Be Good to You", from Disney's The Great Mouse Detective 1992: Little Nemo: Adventures in Slumberland 1996: Stand in the Light, duet with Tats Yamashita on Tatsuro Yamashita-Cozy – Japan #15 2003: "Treasure", from Once in a Lifetime-Mayo Okamoto 2007: "I Know Who I Am", sung by Leona Lewis on For Colored Girls & The Butler 2011: "Rainbird", original song from Dirty Girl


Year Single Chart Positions Album
1967 "Beautiful People" Single only
1973 "Never Never Land" Single only
1974 "O Heaven (How You've Changed Me)" Bright Eyes
1975 "Midnight Blue" 6 1 Melissa
"Just Too Many People" 30 2
1976 "Just You and I" 27 3 Better Days and Happy Endings
"Better Days" 71 9
"Happy Endings" 33
"Rescue Me" 78
"Monkey See, Monkey Do" Help Is on the Way
1977 "Be Somebody"
"I Wanna Be Where You Are" Singin'
1978 "Don't Cry Out Loud" 10 9 Don't Cry Out Loud
1979 "Through the Eyes of Love (Theme from Ice Castles)" 76 13 Ice Castles (Original Soundtrack) & Don't Cry Out Loud (Single Mix)
"Pretty Girls" 39 26 Melissa Manchester
1980 "Fire in the Morning" 32 8
"If This Is Love" 102 19 For the Working Girl
"Lovers After All" 54 25
"Without You"
1982 "Race to the End" Hey Ricky
"You Should Hear How She Talks About You" 5 10
"Hey Ricky (You're a Low-Down Heel)"
1983 "Nice Girls" 42 22 Greatest Hits
"My Boyfriend's Back" 33
"No One Can Love You More Than Me" 78 34 Emergency
"I Don't Care What the People Say"
1984 "Thief Of Hearts" 86 18 Thief of Hearts (Soundtrack)
1985 "Ma+hematics" 74 Ma+hematics
"Just One Lifetime" (Barbra Streisand's wedding song)
1986 "The Music of Goodbye" 16 Out of Africa (Soundtrack)
1989 "Walk On By" 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
"Angels Dancing"
2006 "My Christmas Song for You" — # 21 Canadian Pop Adult (BDS) Platinum Christmas, Vol. 3
2008 "The Power of Ribbons" Single only
2011 "You've Got a Friend" Barry Manilow Duets
2011 "Rainbird" Dirty Girl (Soundtrack)
2013 "I Know Who I Am" 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" Single only
2015 "Feelin' for You" You Gotta Love the Life
"Big Light"
"Open Spaces & Gas Stations" Single only
2016 "Let There Be More Light" Single only
2017 "Ain't That A Kick In The Head" The Fellas
"For Me and My Gal"
2018 "A Better Rainbow" Single only

Guest appearances

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 Won't Do for Love" (not released yet) Juice Newton Duets: Friends & Memories

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