1980-66: Barry Manilow, “When I Needed You”

Here’s the second Barry Manilow song in the blog (see #1980-64) but certainly not the last.

Having worked for toy distributors when my family lived in the northeast, my dad moved the family down to Georgia in 1980 so that he could become an independent toys salesman and represent the entire southeast. He would travel to department stores and toy stores throughout the region to talk about and show them some of the newest toys coming out, and attempt to get them to buy the toys and sell them in their stores. Some times in the summer months I would be allowed to go on trips with him to Florida, Alabama and the Carolina states. He would tell me stories during the long trip rides.

One of those stories was this: Early in his career my dad had met Barry Manilow. Manilow was just a kid then, but my dad worked with or somehow knew Manilow’s mother and recalled seeing little Barry dancing around and singing. I always thought that it was neat that my dad had personally met a singer that I really liked. It was as close to meeting a superstar as I had ever gotten at that point in my life.

“When I Needed You” was another of Manilow’s lesser known hits. It reached #20 on the HOT 100, but was one of fifteen songs that he would end up placing in the chart in the ’80s.  I always liked this song. It reminded me of the theme song to Joanie Loves Chachi, the early ’80s spin-off from Happy Days, titled “You Look at Me.” “When I Wanted You” ends up in the same key as the T.V. theme song and has an almost identical melody line in the choruses. I went ahead and added the video of both songs below so you can hear for yourself…

Memorable lyric: “What was wrong and who was right? In the end you see the light ’cause you think a lot when you’re on your own.”


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Connections pastor. On-air personality. Chart geek.

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