Melissa Manchester’s biggest hit is Midnight Blue (which she wrote) but she is probably best known for Don’t Cry Out Loud (which she didn’t). For the record, both feature lyrics by Carole Bayer Sager and the latter has music by Peter Allen. Despite her success with Allen’s proto-pop anthem – and a spell as one of Better Midler’s Harlettes – Manchester’s real strength, both as a singer and writer, lies with more intimate material.
Home To Myself (lyrics by Bayer Sager yet again) is the title track of her debut album. Like Don’t Cry Out Loud, it’s also a paean to self- reliance but there the similarity ends. Whereas the former really needs a Shirley Bassey to make all that stuff about leaving your dreams among the glitter ring true, the latter tells us nothing about what the singer has been through prior to her current tentative acceptance of a solo existence. It’s all the more powerful for the fact that we have to imagine the back story.
Manchester is still writing and recording. All her albums (with the possible exception of Emergency and Mathematics where she was swathed, reluctantly, in 80s synthesisers) have something to recommend them – though the ones from the 70s are my favourites.
Incidentally, Dusty recorded this one as well. I actually think the original is the better version. Which is not something you’ll hear me say very often – if ever again.