Could It Be Magic

"Could It Be Magic" is a song with lyrics by Adrienne Anderson and music by Barry Manilow, based on Frédéric Chopin's Prelude in C Minor, Opus 28, Number 20. Initially released in 1971 by Featherbed (a group of session musicians featuring Barry Manilow), produced and co-written by Tony Orlando, it was later re-recorded as a Barry Manilow solo track, given a first album and single release in 1973 on Bell Records and - after being remixed - an album and single re-release in 1975 on Arista Records. The 1975 re-release became one of Manilow's first hits. The song has been recorded by a number of other artists over the years, most successfully by Donna Summer in 1976 and by Take That in 1992.

"Could It Be Magic"
Barry Manilow Could it be magic A-side US vinyl 1975.jpg
A-side label of 1975 US vinyl single
Single by Barry Manilow
from the album Barry Manilow
B-side"Morning (Featherbed)
Cloudburst (Solo version on Bell)
I Am Your Child (re-release version on Arista)"
Released1971 (Featherbed version)
1973 (Barry Manilow version)
June 1975 (Barry Manilow re-release)
Format7" single
Recorded1970, 1973
GenreSoft rock[1]
Length2:12 (Featherbed version)
7:17 (Original solo version on Bell)
6:50 (Hit solo version on Arista)
4:14 (Edit of hit version)
LabelBell (1973), Arista (1975)
Songwriter(s)Barry Manilow, Frédéric Chopin (music)
Adrienne Anderson (1973 version), Tony Orlando (1971 version) (lyrics)
Producer(s)Tony Orlando (1971 version), Barry Manilow, Ron Dante (1973 version)
Barry Manilow singles chronology
"Sweet Water Jones"
"Could It Be Magic"
"Let's Take Some Time to Say Goodbye"

"It's a Miracle"

"Could It Be Magic"

"I Write the Songs"

Featherbed and Barry Manilow versionsEdit

Not long after he signed Barry Manilow to Columbia's newly acquired Bell Records label in 1969, Tony Orlando, vice-president of Columbia/CBS Music, began to produce a number of tracks for Manilow. Orlando contributed lyrics to Manilow's "Could It Be Magic," producing and arranging it as an uptempo pop single. As Manilow had only composed or arranged commercial jingles up to that point, he was unproven as a pop-song arranger, and, as such, was not permitted to arrange the backing track for the song's 1971 release. This early version of the song was released under the name of Featherbed, a "ghost" group consisting of session musicians including Manilow.[2][3][4]

Manilow in a 1975 publicity photo

Originally released on the Bell Records label, the composer hated the Tony Orlando arrangement so severely (see Sweet Life) that, as Manilow has said in numerous subsequent interviews, he was appreciative of the fact that the song went nowhere on the charts. However, he has been quoted in recent years as having somewhat softened his opinion of the track, saying it's "kind of catchy".

Featuring a bubblegum pop beat, cowbells and a "Knock Three Times" feel, the chorus is the same, but the original verse lyrics have nothing to do with the hit version Manilow himself released in 1973 and again in 1975.

Manilow produced and co-arranged the next, Joe Renzetti arranged the strings, slower-tempo version on his debut album, Barry Manilow in 1973. Six months later, former Columbia Records president Clive Davis would take over Bell Records and merge it into Arista with all the other Columbia Pictures-owned labels such as Amy, Mala, Colpix, and Colgems, to name a few.

Most of the artists at Bell were dropped during the merger, but due to the song's popularity, Manilow was brought over to Arista in the spring of 1974 and "Could It Be Magic" was re-released as a single a year later—a full two years after it had been originally recorded, where it reached number 6 in the United States.

The song also reached number 25 on the UK charts when it was issued as a single in 1978. The lyric "Sweet Melissa" is a tribute to singer Melissa Manchester, Manilow's label-mate who was also moved from Bell to Arista.

The song was reworked in 1993 using the original orchestration of brass and strings combined with new drums, bass and synthesizers, and was included on the album Greatest Hits: The Platinum Collection. An extended remix of the 1993 version was issued as a promotional 12" single and included on the 12" single of "I'd Really Love to See You Tonight".

Chart performanceEdit

Donna Summer versionEdit

"Could It Be Magic"
US 7-inch vinyl single
Single by Donna Summer
from the album A Love Trilogy
B-side"Whispering Waves"
ReleasedJanuary 11, 1976
Format7" single
LabelOasis (US/Canada)
GTO (U.K.)
Atlantic (France/Germany)
Groovy (Netherlands)
Durium (Italy)
Songwriter(s)Barry Manilow, Frédéric Chopin (music)
Adrienne Anderson (lyrics)
Producer(s)Giorgio Moroder, Pete Bellotte
Donna Summer singles chronology
"Love to Love You Baby"
"Could It Be Magic"
"Try Me, I Know We Can Make It"
Donna Summer (pictured in 1977) recorded the song in 1975, the same year Manilow's version was released as a single.

Just seven months after Manilow's original version was released as a single, American singer Donna Summer recorded a disco version of the track and included it on her third studio album, A Love Trilogy, and took it to number three on the US Dance chart in 1976.[12] The song also entered the UK singles chart where it stayed for seven weeks (peak point #40)

Track listingEdit

US 7" single (Oasis OC 405) / Canada 7" single (Oasis OC 405X)

  1. "Could It Be Magic" – 3:15
  2. "Whispering Waves" – 4:50

UK 7" single (GTO GT 60)

  1. "Could It Be Magic" – 3:15
  2. "Whispering Waves" – 4:50

Germany 7" single (Atlantic ATL 10 775)

  1. "Could It Be Magic" – 5:20
  2. "Come With Me" – 4:20

Netherlands 7" single (Groovy GR 1219)

  1. "Could It Be Magic" – 3:15
  2. "Whispering Waves" – 4:50

France 7" single (Atlantic 10.770)

  1. "Could It Be Magic" – 4:13
  2. "Whispering Waves" – 4:15

Italy 7" single (Durium DE 2873)

  1. "Could It Be Magic" – 3:15
  2. "Whispering Waves" – 3:35

Chart historyEdit

Chart (1976) Peak
Austrian Singles Chart[13] 14
Canada RPM Top Singles 64
Dutch GfK chart 5
Dutch Top 40 2
German Singles Chart[14] 23
Italy 3
South Africa (Springbok)[15] 10
UK Singles Chart[16] 40
US Billboard Hot Soul Singles[17] 21
US Billboard Hot 100[17] 52
US Billboard Hot Dance Club Play 3
US Billboard Easy Listening[18] 47

Certifications and salesEdit

Region Certification Certified units/sales
Philippines (PARI)[19] Platinum  

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone

Take That versionEdit

"Could It Be Magic"
UK Maxi-CD cover
Single by Take That
from the album Take That & Party
ReleasedNovember 30, 1992
Producer(s)The Rapino Brothers
Take That singles chronology
"A Million Love Songs"
"Could It Be Magic"
"Why Can't I Wake Up with You"
Music video
"Could It Be Magic" on YouTube

Produced and remixed by The Rapino Brothers, English boy band Take That released their cover version, based on Donna Summer/Giorgio Moroder's up-tempo arrangement of the track, on November 30, 1992[20] as the final single from their debut album Take That & Party. The song does not appear on the cassette version of the album but was issued as a cassette single. It peaked at number three on the UK Singles Chart and was featured in that year's Only Fools and Horses Christmas special "Mother Nature's Son" in the background of one of the scenes.

The song won Best British Single at the 1993 Brit Awards.

During The Ultimate Tour in 2006, former member Robbie Williams appeared on a hologram with a pre-recorded section of his vocals.[21] Gary Barlow sings lead vocals since Take That's reformation.

The song has received a Silver sales status certification and has sold over 345,000 copies in the UK.

Music videoEdit

The music video shows a young woman leaving a garage before the lights are turned back on and Take That perform the song with many other dancers. The music video was filmed at Bray Studios, Water Oakley, Windsor, Berkshire in 1992.


Track listingsEdit

UK 12" vinyl (74321 12313 1)(Limited Edition w/ poster sleeve)
  1. Deep In Rapino's Club Mix – 5:56
  2. Take That Club Megamix – 7:03
  3. Mr. F. Mix – 6:18
UK 7" vinyl (74321 12313 7)
  1. Rapino Radio Mix – 3:30
  2. Take That Radio Megamix – 4:38
UK cassette (74321 12313 4)
  1. Rapino Radio Mix – 3:30
  2. Take That Radio Megamix – 4:38
UK CD single (74321 12313 2)
  1. Rapino Radio Mix – 3:30
  2. Deep In Rapino's Club Mix – 5:56
  3. Acapella – 3:12
  4. Ciao Baby Mix – 7:19
  5. Rapino Dub – 3:44
  6. Paparazzo Mix – 5:27
  7. Deep In Rapino's Dub – 5:57
  8. Club Rapino Mix – 3:43
EU CD single (74321 12735 2)
  1. Rapino Radio Mix – 3:30
  2. Deep In Rapino's Club Mix – 5:56
  3. Ciao Baby Mix – 7:19
  4. Paparazzo Mix – 5:27
Japanese CD single (TAKE8)
  1. Rapino Radio Mix – 3:30
  2. Take That Radio Megamix – 4:38



Country Certification Date Sales certified
UK Silver 1 January 1993 345,000[31]

Other official versionsEdit

  • Album version (4:28)
  • Live version (5:34)

Other notable versionsEdit

  • The Shirelles also recorded a version that was released on a bootleg album in the late 1970s.
  • A jazz version of the tune was arranged into a trio setting by Filipino pianist/arranger Bobby Enriquez, then performed during a summer tour of Japan in 1982. A recording of the piece is on the album, "Bobby Enriquez: Live! In Tokyo." GNP Crescendo GNPD-2161
  • A house remix of the song appears as the penultimate track on Hed Kandi: Disco Heaven 01.05, credited to "Andrea T. Mendoza & Tibet feat. Ife Corcoran".[32]
  • The song was recorded in Dutch by the singer Rob de Nijs, called Ontmoeting. The text was written by his former wife Belinda Meulendijk, and was released as a single in 1986. It was taken from the album Vrije val.
  • The Dutch group Lucifer also recorded the track in 1975, even before Donna Summer recorded hers. This version does not contain the Chopin-preludium, but instead has a falset-ladyvoice from Margriet Eshuys and mandolines.
  • It was covered by The Puppini Sisters on their album The Rise and Fall of Ruby Woo.
  • In 1993 British top-producer Trevor Horn remixed the song with Barry Manilow, who re-recorded his vocals. The release was only available on a promotional 12" single, "ARISTA-COULD1993."
  • Abigail's rendition of the song was available only as a 12-inch single, released in 1993. The B-side, "This Is A Dream" is a high upbeat dance music with the lyrics "This Is A Dream" will appear every so often in the song.
  • French singer Alain Chamfort released a French-language version of the song under the title "le temps qui court" in 1975.
  • Chamfort's version was later covered by boy band Alliage in 1997. Their version peaked at number 13 in France and number 32 in Belgium (Wallonia).[33] This version was covered by Les Enfoirés in 2006, reaching number four in France, number two in Belgium (Wallonia) and number 19 in Switzerland.[34]
  • Mexican female trio Pandora released a Spanish-language version of the song under the title "Puede ser genial" in 1992, with the backing vocals of the Venezuelan singer Ricardo Montaner.
  • In 2007, Lazlo Bane covered the song on the album Guilty Pleasures.
  • Regine Velasquez performed the song for her live album, Regine Live: Songbird Sings the Classics.
  • Leona Lewis, Eoghan Quigg, Joe McElderry and Mary Byrne performed this song on the third, fifth, sixth and seventh series of The X Factor's British version, respectively. Lewis and McElderry eventually won their respective series.
  • The Australian boy band Human Nature (band) released a version of the song performed as a medley with another Manilow hit, Mandy (English and Kerr song), on their 2010 LP Vegas: Songs from Sin City. Manilow himself is featured on the track.
  • Color Theory released a synthpop version of the song, along with a remix of by Norwegian producer Lyder Janøy, on his EP "Adjustments Pt. 2" in 2014.
  • In 2013, Barry Manilow performed his piano ballad version of the song for BBC Children in Need Rocks. After the first chorus, Manilow shouted "Come on then fellas!" and was joined by Robbie Williams and Gary Barlow of Take That. Together, they performed the up-tempo arrangement of the song, featuring Williams and Barlow on lead vocals for the verse. Manilow sang lead vocals on the chorus, with Williams and Barlow on backing vocals. It was the first time in 19 years that Williams and Barlow had performed the song together.


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  3. ^ "Knock 3 times if you want Tony Orlando". 16 February 2012. Retrieved April 14, 2018.
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  19. ^ "Summer Awards" (PDF). Cash Box. October 8, 1977. p. 67. Retrieved November 30, 2019 – via American Radio History.
  20. ^ "Take That Could It Be Magic UK Promo CD single (CD5 / 5") (15424)". March 14, 2002. Archived from the original on October 11, 2016. Retrieved October 10, 2016.
  21. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on April 7, 2007. Retrieved May 12, 2007.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
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  26. ^ "TAKE THAT - COULD IT BE MAGIC". January 14, 2020.
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  28. ^ Steffen Hung. "Forum - Top 100 End of Year ARIA Charts - 1990s (ARIA Charts: Special Occasion Charts)". Retrieved October 10, 2016.
  29. ^ "Ultratop Belgian Charts". Retrieved October 10, 2016.
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  32. ^ "Disco Heaven 01.05: Music". Retrieved October 10, 2016.
  33. ^ ""Le temps qui court," Alliage version" (in French). Lescharts. Retrieved February 19, 2010.
  34. ^ ""Le temps qui court", Les Enfoirés version" (in French). Lescharts. Retrieved February 19, 2010.

External linksEdit