Friday, October 16, 2009

Ray Stevens: I Need Your Help Barry Manilow

Well, it’s another a Fun Friday and I reach back to 1979 with a classic Ray Stevens’ tune, “I Need Your Help Barry Manilow.”

I remember the first time I heard this song, I was working part-time at the original WAMX in Ashland, KY and the record had just been released. One of the full time jocks, I think it was Randy Berry (AKA Bobby Rich), played this on the air while I was in the control room getting ready for a rare weekday shift. I was at the station filling in for one of the full-time jocks who was out sick.

Randy Berry (AKA Bobby Rich) - then WHTN PD & Ernie G. Anderson - overnights at WGNT
February 1981 - at a going away party when I left Huntington for WCIR in Beckley

Immediately, it had me rolling in the floor of the control room and I thought it was one of the best bits Stevens had ever done. There were two parts of the song that I loved. The first was the recitation towards the end where Ray strings all of those Manilow song titles together into a coherent dialog.

"Hello, Mandy? It's me. I'm here at the Copa.
You know, the Copacabana.
I know I don't write the songs that make the whole world sing but
I do know one thing, Mandy...
I can't smile without you... Forget Lola...
Remember that weekend in New England? I thought then that
This could be the magic at last... Now here I am...
Tryin' to get the feelin' again!"

My second favorite part of this parody was the unexpected and unlikely rhyme of with the word “lucky” – “yucky” in the final chorus.

I don’t remember the song getting much airtime on WAMX other than some sporadic play – I don’t think it was ever in regular rotation. Apparently, this was the rule rather than the exception with most stations with a Contemporary Hit Radio format as it only charted at 49 on Billboard’s Hot 100. Ray’s take on Manilow was better received on Adult Contemporary radio, where it peaked at #11.

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