Melissa Manchester grew up in the Bronx and attended the Manhattan School of Music, studying piano and singing. She began singing professionally on jingles while still in high school. She recorded her first single, Beautiful People in 1967 at the age of 16 (that song was not related to Melanie’s recording of a different Beautiful People).
Barry Manilow heard Melissa singing in a club in Manhattan and introduced her to Bette Midler. Bette hired Melissa in 1971 to sing back-up vocals as one of her Harlettes.
Melissa began co-writing songs with Carol Bayer Sager. She released albums in 1973 and 1974, but neither one generated a charting single. Her career changed completely with the release of Midnight Blue from her third album in 1975. The single reached the top of the Adult Contemporary chart and peaked at #6 on the Hot 100. It was successful enough that she performed the song live on The Midnight Special.
Two more singles followed that were still successful on the Adult Contemporary chart without being big hits on the pop chart. Her second single in 1975 was Just Too Many People, which made it to #2 on the AC chart but stalled at #30 on the Hot 100.
Melissa recorded another album in 1976, Better Days and Happy Endings. The first single from the album was Just You And I. She still had success in the AC chart, where the record got up to #3 and it did slightly better than her last single on the Hot 100 when the record reached #27. The second single from the album failed to even reach the top forty on the Hot 100, but Better Days still got into the top ten on the AC chart. The third single got to #33 on the AC chart, and it would be 1978 before she charted well again.
Kenny Loggins co-wrote Whenever I Call You Friend with Melissa but recorded the song as a duet with Stevie Nicks in 1978. Melissa also began acting in television and films.
The release of the single Don’t Cry Out Loud again took Melissa into the Hot 100 top ten in 1979. She earned a Grammy nomination for Best Pop Vocal Performance – Female (Single) but the award went to Dionne Warwick’s I’ll Never Love This Way Again.
She also appeared on the Oscars broadcast that year and sang two of the five nominated songs, but the Oscar went to the theme song from Norma Rae, It Goes Like It Goes. Melissa’s performances caught enough attention that film companies hired her to sing on over a dozen film soundtracks.
Her last major hit came in 1982 when You Should Hear How She Talks About You reached #5. That single also earned a nomination for Best Pop Vocal Performance – Female (Single), but that time Melissa won the award.
Melissa had recorded twenty studio albums by 2017 and released a new single as recently as 2018. She has her own website at http://melissamanchester.com/.
My books are on sale on Amazon (or free with Kindle Unlimited) and contain a lot more Lost or Forgotten Oldies: