Originally created 02/11/06

Barry Manilow's latest album opens at No. 1



NEW YORK - Barry Manilow has landed on the top of the charts with a just-released album for the first time in 29 years.

Manilow's "The Greatest Songs of the Fifties," debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart, followed by Mary J. Blige's "The Breakthrough" and Andrea Bocelli's "Amore."

The album, 13 standards such as "Are You Lonesome Tonight?" and "Unchained Melody," has sold more than 156,000 copies in the United States since it arrived Jan. 31st.

His previous debut chart-topper was the 1977 concert recording, "Live." His last album, "Scores: Songs From Copacabana and Harmony," had a weak debut in 2004, peaking at No. 47.

Manilow, 62, said he was inspired to sing the 1950s pop classics because he feels they deserve more attention.

"The reason I connected with it is when I looked at the list of songs that came out of the '50s, it seemed to me that they had been neglected," he told Associated Press Television.

"Nobody seems to have done 'Unchained Melody' or 'It's Not for Me to Say' or 'Beyond the Sea,' any of these songs that were wonderfully written that came out of the '50s. So that turned me on. I dove in."