barry manilow

COVER vs ORIGINAL: ‘Could It Be Magic?’

The song, “Could It Be Magic?”, was originally recorded by Featherbed in 1971

“Could It Be Magic?” was written by Barry Manilow (b.1943) and Tony Orlando (b.1944) with notes taken from composer Frédéric Chopin (1810-1849) and recorded by the group Featherbed in 1971. It was never commercially released and the group disbanded soon after.

Manilow, believing it needed a rework, got together with fellow Featherbed member Adrienne Anderson (b.1944) and set about re-writing the song and laying it out differently, the result being that it was released as his second solo single in October 1973. This was not an initial success, however, and it was only after “Mandy” had launched him, that the song was re-issued in June 1975 with additional production. On this occasion, “Could It Be Magic?” reached No.6 in America, No.4 in Canada and No.25 in the UK.

Only seven months later, Donna Summer recorded her version of the track, which was produced by her regular producer Giorgio Moroder, for her third studio album “A Love Trilogy”. The track was released as the lead single in January 1986 and peaked at No.52 in America and No.40 in the UK, while making No.3 on the US Dance chart. Donna’s version of “Could It Be Magic?” was a top ten success, however, across most of mainland Europe.

In 1992, British boy band Take That covered the song for their debut album, “Take That And Party”. The track was the fifth single to come from the album and was released at the end of November. Their version was a top ten success across most of Europe too and in particular in their home country, where it peaked at No.3 and sold over 300,000 copies, their most successful and highest charting single thus far.

Off the back of this, Barry Manilow reissued a new remixed version of his original recording in the Spring of 1993, reaching No.36 in the UK.

But which of all the versions is the best? BARRY’s 1973 or 1975 version? DONNA SUMMER’s cover or TAKE THAT’s 90’s hit?

Take a look at some of the other posts in this series and don’t forget to follow the playlist.