The Song Is a Lie: Mocking Manilow Is Mocking God
After spending all week thus far exposing the lies apparent in song titles from The Beatles and Kiss, it's time to tone it down a little bit both in heaviness and in rhetoric. Nothing says tone it down like adult-contemporary music, so that's the arena I fight the lie war in today.
Now, today's subject is one of the most oft-repeated bits of music trivia in music-trivia history. You can probably trace the birth of music hipsterism back to the very person to observe the following factoid, that Manilow did not write "I Write the Songs." Think of it like Patient Zero of an incredibly obnoxious zombie outbreak.
Ha ha, you hack. Didn't you even watch the video you posted? Manilow freely admits, with charming chagrin about how he didn't write "I Write the Songs," and jokes about how he hopes no one will take it as some kind of insane ego trip. Well, hack or not, I'm going to get meta on your ass, Manilow-style, because "I Write the Songs" isn't just a lie, it's a double-lie!
Yes, the tune, arguably Manilow's biggest hit, was indeed written by Beach Boy Bruce Johnston, but Manilow himself is perfectly capable of writing songs that make the whole world sing. He wrote the music to the song, "Could it Be Magic," a Top 10 hit in 1975, as well as "It's a Miracle," which hit No. 12. True, after 1989 Manilow more or less quit original composition and stuck to covers, but when he sings "I Write the Songs," it's perfectly justified.
Johnston himself can claim the same as well. In what has got to be the weirdest music resume this side of Busta Rhymes getting involved with the Pussycat Dolls, Johnston arranged and sang backing vocal melodies for both Elton John's "Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me" and "Pink Floyd's The Wall.
Not that any of that matters, anyway. Johnston has said in interviews that the "I" in the song title refers to God, not himself, Manilow, or even The Captain & Tennille, who first recorded the song. Johnston viewed the song as an acknowledgment of the source of all creativity and music, which for him meant God, and God definitely writes the songs the whole world sings.
Don't believe the Satanist when he says that? Check this out. The Byrds managed a No. 1 hit, "Turn! Turn! Turn!", using nothing for lyrics but selections from the Book of Ecclesiastes. That's the Bible, son, the word of God. The song title isn't a lie, us being insufferable dicks about it is a lie. Now go into a corner and think about what you did.
Tune in tomorrow for yet another liar in terms of song titles, none other than Billy Idol!