Melissa Manchester

This article is about the singer-songwriter. For her 1979 self-titled album release, see Melissa Manchester (album).
Melissa Manchester

Manchester in concert on October 28, 2009 in Annapolis, Maryland
Background information
Born (1951-02-15) February 15, 1951
Bronx, New York
Genres Pop, Adult Contemporary
Occupation(s) Singer-Songwriter, Musician, Actress
Instruments Vocals, piano, keyboards
Years active 1971–present
Labels Arista, Bell
Associated acts Barry Manilow, Bette Midler, Harlettes

Melissa Manchester (born February 15, 1951) is an American singer-songwriter and actress. Beginning in the 1970s, she has recorded generally in the adult contemporary genre. She has also appeared as an actress 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.[1]

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.[1]

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 background 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.[2] She also performed the song live on Burt Sugarman's television series Midnight Special in 1974. Manchester collaborated with Kenny Loggins to co-write Loggins' 1978 hit duet with Stevie Nicks, "Whenever I Call You Friend".[1] 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, 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,[1] 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.

Manchester continued to place singles on the Adult Contemporary charts throughout the 1980s. Another top 10 entry on the AC chart was a 1989 updating of Dionne Warwick's "Walk on By".[3] The single was pulled from 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.[4]

In 2004, Manchester returned with her first album in 10 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."[5] 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,[1] 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).[6]

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.[7] The album features performances by Keb' Mo', Joe Sample and Dave Koz.[8] Highlights include a duet with Dionne Warwick and a second duet with Al Jarreau called "Big Light", which Melissa co-wrote with Grammy Award winning composer John Proulx.[9] 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."[10] "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.[11][12] You Gotta Love the Life was released on February 10, 2015,[13] and hit #17 on the Billboard Magazine Jazz Albums chart for the week of February 28, 2015.[14] 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.[15]

Awards and recognitions




Year Single Chart Positions Album
US US AC Various
1967 "Beautiful People"
b/w "A Song for You"
Single only
1973 "Never Never Land"
b/w "Be Happy Now" (from Home to Myself)
Single only
1974 "O Heaven (How You've Changed Me)"
b/w "Inclined"
Bright Eyes
1975 "Midnight Blue"
b/w "I Got Eyes"
6 1 #78 (Australia)
#5 (Canada)
"Just Too Many People"
b/w "This Lady's Not Home Today"
30 2 #49 (Canada)
1976 "Just You and I"
b/w "Sing Sing Sing"
27 3 #63 (Canada) Better Days and Happy Endings
"Better Days"
b/w "My Sweet Thing"
71 9 #84 (Canada)
"Happy Endings"
b/w "Rescue Me"
"Rescue Me"
b/w "Happy Endings"
"Monkey See, Monkey Do"
b/w "So's My Old Man"
Help Is on the Way
1977 "Be Somebody"
b/w "Dirty Work"
"I Wanna Be Where You Are"
b/w "No One's Ever Seen This Side of Me"
1978 "Don't Cry Out Loud"
b/w "We Had This Time"
10 9 #57 (Australia)
#9 (Canada)
Don't Cry Out Loud
1979 "Through the Eyes of Love
(Theme from Ice Castles)"
b/w "Such a Morning"
76 13 #87 (Canada) Ice Castles (Original Soundtrack) & Don't Cry Out Loud (Single Mix)
"Pretty Girls"
b/w "All in the Sky Above"
39 26 #80 (Canada) Melissa Manchester
1980 "Fire in the Morning"
b/w "Lights of Dawn"
32 8 #89 (Canada)
"If This Is Love" 102 19 For the Working Girl
"Lovers After All"
feat. Peabo Bryson
54 25
"Without You"
1982 "Race to the End"
b/w "Long Goodbyes" (Non-LP track)
Hey Ricky
"You Should Hear How She Talks About You"
b/w "Long Goodbyes" (Non-LP track)
5 10 #4 (Australia)
#5 (Canada)
#20 (New Zealand)
"Hey Ricky (You're a Low-Down Heel)"
b/w "Come in from the Rain" (1982 Version)
1983 "Nice Girls"
b/w "Hey Ricky"
42 22 Greatest Hits
"My Boyfriend's Back" 33 #48 (Australia)
"No One Can Love You More Than Me" 78 34 #75 (Australia) Emergency
"I Don't Care What the People Say"
1984 "Thief of Hearts" 86 18 Thief of Hearts (Soundtrack)
1985 "Mathematics"
b/w "So Full of Yourself" (Non-LP track)
written by Manchester
74 Mathematics
b/w "So Full of Yourself"
"Just One Lifetime"
(Barbra Streisand's wedding song)
b/w "So Full of Yourself"
1986 "The Music of Goodbye"
(with Al Jarreau)
16 #75 (UK) Out of Africa (Soundtrack)
1989 "Walk On By"
b/w To Make You Smile Again (1989 Version)
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
b/w "Treasure" (Non-CD track)
"Angels Dancing"
2006 "My Christmas Song for You" Platinum Christmas, Vol. 3
2008 "The Power of Ribbons" Single only
2011 "You've Got a Friend" (Long Version) Barry Manilow Duets
2011 "Rainbird" Dirty Girl (Soundtrack)
2013 "I Know Who I Am" (Live) 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"
(The Remixes by Mig & Mike Rizzo)
#1 King of Spins
Dance Chart
Single only
2015 "Feelin' for You"
feat. Keb' Mo'
#2 Smooth Jazz[12] You Gotta Love the Life
"Big Light"
feat. Al Jarreau[15]
"Open Spaces & Gas Stations"
written with James Collins
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


Manchester appeared on the Blossom television series as Maddy Russo, from 1993 to 1995, she played Corrine in the feature film, For the Boys (1991) and the piano teacher in Dirty Girl (2010). In addition to live performances as herself, Manchester composes and performs songs and has done character voice in animated works.[20]

Selected feature film titles[20][21]
1978The PromiseSongwriter
1980The Music of Melissa ManchesterPerformance
1984The Last StarfighterSongwriter
1986The Great Mouse DetectiveSongwriter, Voice of Miss Kitty Mouse
1991For the BoysActor
1992Little Nemo: Adventures in SlumberlandMusical Performer
1993Precious Moments: Simon the Lamb Duet with James Ingram - The Brightest Star
1998 Precious Moments: Timmy's Special Delivery Reprise of duet with James Ingram - The Brightest Star.
2001Lady and the Tramp II: Scamp's AdventureSongwriter
2010Michel Legrand & Friends: 50 Years of Music and MoviesPerformance
2010Dirty GirlActor
2010For Colored GirlsSongwriter - "I Know Who I Am"


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Huey, Steve. "Melissa Manchester: Biography". AllMusic. Retrieved January 16, 2015.
  2. "The Hot 100: Week of August 9, 1975". Billboard Magazine. August 9, 1975. Archived from the original on April 4, 2015. Retrieved April 4, 2015.
  3. "Melissa Manchester". AllMusic. Retrieved January 29, 2015.
  4. "Original Soundtrack Little Nemo: Adventures in Slumberland". AllMusic. Archived from the original on January 29, 2015. Retrieved January 29, 2015.
  5. Andrew Druckenbrod, Music Review: Melissa Manchester's reinvented music still true to her early work, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, April 16, 2004
  6. "cast-crew for Lady and the Tramp II: Scamp's Adventure on AllMovie Lady and the Tramp II: Scamp's Adventure (2001)". AllMovie. Archived from the original on January 29, 2015. Retrieved January 29, 2015.
  7. Melissa Manchester, You Gotta Love the Life, Indiegogo, August 19, 2013
  8. Melissa Manchester, Facebook, March 30, 2014
  9. Melissa Manchester, Facebook, March 30, 2014
  10. Feinstein, Michael (January 16, 2015). "Melissa Manchester on Song Travels". NPR. Retrieved January 21, 2015.
  11. Hoges, Linda (8 July 2015). "BWW Interviews: Grammy-Winning Singer/Songwriter Melissa Manchester Comes to Feinstein's This Weekend". Archived from the original on July 12, 2015. Retrieved 12 July 2015.
  12. 1 2 Holleran, Scott (January 22, 2015). "Music Review: Melissa Manchester, You Gotta Love the Life". Scott Holleran. Archived from the original on February 8, 2015. Retrieved February 8, 2015.
  13. "YOU GOTTA LOVE THE LIFE: NEW SINGLE GOING FOR ADDS JAN 19, 2015". Melissa Manchester. Archived from the original on January 21, 2015. Retrieved January 21, 2015.
  14. "Jazz Albums: Week of February 28, 2015". Billboard Magazine. February 28, 2015. Archived from the original on February 20, 2015. Retrieved February 20, 2015.
  15. 1 2 Gaug, Andrew (12 June 2015). "Melissa Manchester returns with new jazz album". News-Pressnow. Retrieved 13 June 2015.
  16. 1 2 3 4 "Melissa Manchester: Adjunct Professor". USC THORNTON SCHOOL OF MUSIC. Archived from the original on January 16, 2015. Retrieved January 16, 2015.
  17. "Melissa Manchester: Credits". AllMusic. Retrieved January 16, 2015.
  18. "The Sonic Thermal | Melissa Manchester | TEDxRiverside". TEDx. 19 December 2014. Retrieved 12 July 2015.
  19. "GRAMMY WINNER MELISSA MANCHESTER'S DAUMAN MUSIC SMASH "TWO COURAGEOUS HEARTS" HITS THE SUMMIT AT DANCE RADIO SURVEY "KING OF SPINS"!". Dauman Music. November 13, 2013. Archived from the original on March 2, 2015. Retrieved March 2, 2015.
  20. 1 2 "Melissa Manchester: Filmography". The New York Times.
  21. "Melissa Manchester". AllMovie. Retrieved 5 September 2015.

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