You Should Hear How She Talks About You

“You Should Hear How She Talks About You”- 1982

Music: Tom Snow

Lyric: Dean Pitchford

Song History: Recorded by  Melissa Manchester for her album Hey Ricky it was a top ten single. Arif Mardin who produced Manchester’s recording described the track as “a real departure for Melissa because it has a new wave dance quality and she had been known for her ballads”, Manchester having reached the Top Ten of the Billboard Hot 100 with the ballads “Midnight Blue” (#6) and “Don’t Cry Out Loud” (#10) and the previous Manchester/Mardin collaboration “Theme from Ice Castles” also being a ballad. Mardin continued: “But music is music. You can’t turn your back on new formats or styles.” “You Should Hear…” reached #5 on the Billboard Hot 100 in August 1982 to become Manchester’s highest charting record. It would also prove to be Manchester’s last Top 40 hit (her 1983 single “Nice Girls” would peak at #42). The track would earn Manchester the Grammy Award for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance for the year 1982, besting nominated performances by Laura Branigan, Juice Newton, Olivia Newton-John, and Linda Ronstadt; Manchester had previously been nominated in that category for the 1979 release “Don’t Cry Out Loud”. A #10 A/C hit, “You Should Hear…” also gave Manchester a hit in Canada (#5), New Zealand (#20), and Australia (#4). In Australia, it ranked as the #25 single of 1982.

Author’s Note: Songwriters are constantly searching for song titles. (In Nashville, you can’t get through a conversation without stopping to jot down three or four.) This tune eventually grew out of a title idea that popped into my head while out on a run one early-80’s summer afternoon on Martha’s Vineyard, where I had spent every summer of my semi-wasted youth. The Beatle’s “She Loves You” flitted through my joggered-out brain and I thought its point of view, worried guy needs reassurance about the girl he thinks he’s lost, was a good one. (BTW- If you’re going to steal, steal from the best…) I came up with something like “I Know The Way She Talks About You”. Only a working title but enough to get me started on some music. After numerous rewrites I had what felt like a commercial, “hooky” melody and rhythm track. I turned over the official lyric writing job to Dean Pitchford who vastly improved on the title and wrote a clever lyric. One of my heroes, Arif Mardin and his son Joe did a great job making the record and Melissa had what I believe remains her only up-tempo hit record. What was also nice was the Grammy she won for Best Female Pop Vocal that year.  She and I subsequently became collaborators and wrote, notably, a song for Barbra Streisand, “Just One Lifetime”. Barbra performed it at her wedding reception for new husband, James Brolin. All kinds of good things came out of that afternoon jog.

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3 Responses to “You Should Hear How She Talks About You”
  1. I recently discovered a sensational song recorded by Sally Moore, written by Tom Snow and Melissa Manchester, “What Are You Waiting For?”. To my ears, the refrain “bright and sunny … you don’ get better … honey” seems unmistakably Manchester’s, although I maybe totally wrong … anyway, I would love to know which part has been contributed by Tom and which by Melissa.

    • mrneige says:

      Hi Bruno,
      I agree with your take on the lyric. It is so “Melissa.” Although we always collaborated on words and music I generally thought of our work as potential material for her so I would try to fit in stylistically. She’s so talented in every department that it was a pleasure for me to sit in the co-pilot’s seat. Not saying I went along for the ride, Melissa wouldn’t allow that anyway, but it’s no coincidence that “What Are You Waiting For” sounds ‘unmistakably Manchester.’ It was always a pleasure working with her. Love that woman!

      • Hello Tom,

        thank you very much for your personal reply, you are a true gentleman and a genius. Also, I completely agree about Melissa: she is a lovely lady.

        Ciao and warm regards from Italy.

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