Wednesday, January 7, 2009


In the car on the way to school, a Barry Manilow song came on the radio and I had to laugh. A twenty-five year old memory had just popped into my head.

Back when I was a Music Major, I had a very strict Theory instructor. VERY strict. I can't remember his last name, but his first name was Anthony. (I only remember this because my friend Jim insisted on calling him "Tony" behind his back. Way to dis him, Jim!)

Now, this instructor was r.i.g.i.d. Look up the word "plank" in the dictionary and you'll see his picture. In his class, when it came to music, he was the beginning and end and we knew nothing. According to him, all music must follow certain rules and these rules ONLY. Music COULD NOT deviate from this set of rules. His pet peeve was what he called the "Barry Manilow Key Change." You know what I'm talking about... Barry Manilow songs all trill along in one key and then, when they need that emotional punch, DRAMATICALLY change key? Yeah, that. Well, Tony had a huge problem with Barry Manilow Key Changes.

One memorable class, my friend Jim and I were listening to Tony rant on and on about Barry Manilow. At the time, Jim was a huge fan of Barely Manly, so he was listening to all of this with his tongue clamped firmly between his teeth. As Tony went on and on, Jim's face got redder and redder.

"There will be no Barry Manilow Key Changes! Barry Manilow breaks all the rules! It's not good music! Key changes like that are not allowed!"

Slowly, Jim's hand rose in the air.


"Um, correct me if I'm wrong, but doesn't Barry Manilow make millions of dollars?"





The rest of us, mentally, "Um, yeah!"

Jim got lots of high fives after class that day.


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