Only this week did I hear that Barry Manilow married his manager. His manager is a male which leads me to suspect that he’s been gay all his life. Barry Manilow has kept his private life close to his chest. But I wonder if he has always been public, the trick being that he just talks in code.
Maybe a gay witch hunt in the seventies prompted him to write the song Mandy. On the surface this is a song about a love for a woman named Mandy. But now, knowing that he is gay, I wonder if smart people were supposed to notice that “Man” is directly in Mandy’s name so of course he has always been gay to the people who noticed.
And now that I have been alerted to this talking in code thing, I wonder about Boston and their hit single Amanda from the eighties. Sounded out, Amanda could mean “A man -duh!” which seems even more obvious than Manilow’s Mandy.
Tom Scholz, the writer of Amanda, is married to a woman at this date. Brad Delp the singer of this song unfortunately committed suicide a few years ago. But he too was linked to women by marriage and had a fiancee at the time of his death. It seems unlikely that Boston will ever admit Amanda means A man -duh!
Perhaps my suspicions are true. Amanda is a song about a guy who is about to say “I love you” to Amanda. The sudden vowing of “I love you” might be because of earlier trepidation to reveal to “A man -duh!” his love. And it took Boston 7 years to finally release this album. Perhaps the band had trepidation in revealing to “smart” people that one or more of them were gay. It is more than possible that this new suspicion of mine will never be confirmed.
But while we’re on the topic of female song names, it has always bothered me that the most used female name in the title of a hit song is Sherry. There is both the song “Sherry” by The Four Seasons from the sixties and “Oh Sherrie” by Steve Perry in the eighties. Sherry just isn’t that common of a name. I’m always surprised that by hit songs it is the most popular name.
But now that we’re looking at girl names in songs as code, I can’t help but point out that sherry is an alcoholic beverage. Perhaps Bob Gaudio of the Four Seasons and Steve Perry are alcoholics.
While there is dirt about the supposed life of Bob Gaudio in the musical Jersey Boys, this take doesn’t suggest he ever was an alcoholic. Indeed it does suggest that one of the wives was. Perhaps Gaudio could control his love of sherry.
Spelling Sherrie differently than the alcoholic beverage could be many things. It could be Steve Perry throwing us off the scent. It could be to differentiate the song from the Four Seasons. It could be updating the name for a new decade. But there is little mention about Steve Perry being an alcoholic. Still, I suspect he loves sherry just as much as Bob Gaudio. And that, to me, is why there are two hit tributes to the “girl” called Sherry.
Which brings me to my final question. Are any hit songs about women, really about those women? Or do songwriters all choose to talk in code?