Like Rod Stewart, Barry Manilow knows the value of old songs. But unlike Rod (who caught his third career wind by recording 76 albums' worth of tunes your grandma got busy to back in the day), Manilow has slowly been working his way through the 20th century, starting with the 1950s. But you wouldn't know, based on Manilow's The Greatest Songs of the Fifties CD, that culture-shifting rock and roll was birthed during that era. Apparently, Chuck Berry and Buddy Holly don't rank high on Manilow's list, and the only Elvis song he cares for ("Are You Lonesome Tonight?") is one of the King's treacly ballads.
The Me Decade doesn't fare too well either on Manilow's most recent album, The Greatest Songs of the Seventies. The Ramones, Bruce Springsteen, and even Led Zeppelin are MIA. Instead, string-laden versions of "The Way We Were" (which sounds like something Grandma would like), "He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother" (which actually came out in 1969), and a Christopher Cross tune represent the decade's best, according to Manilow. Expect the singer to stroll down memory lane at his concert this week. Also expect to hear many of Manilow's own greatest songs, including "Mandy," "I Write the Songs," and "Copacabana." Can't wait till he gets to the '90s. — Michael Gallucci