“One Voice”

“One Voice”

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Story Behind the Song

Barry Manilow
“One Voice”

Written and Recorded by Barry Manilow

This is the oddest of all of the songs that I’ve ever written because I wrote it in a dream. Really, in a dream. The song woke me up from my sleep. I heard the melody and the lyric all done. It was like someone was singing the whole thing to me.

I was afraid I would forget it by the morning, so I got up and ran down the very long hallway where I live, hoping that I would keep it in my head.

Even in the middle of the night, even in my sleep, I knew this was a special song. It even had a great rhyme in it.

I ran to the cassette machine, pressed play and record and, although still half asleep, I sang the whole song into it. I still have the cassette. You hear me singing in a husky, first-words-in-the-morning voice during the whole song, even that clever rhyme:

Each and every other note another octave

Hands are joined and fears unlocked

If only One Voice

Would start it on its own

The next morning I woke up and I’d forgotten that I’d done this. When I got to my cassette machine, I hit the play button and there it was — the whole song, the rhyme, the big ending, the whole thing. I played it back and just copied it down like I was taking dictation.

I’d just been beginning my spiritual work. I’d been deeply involved in reading all the books, like we all do when we turn 40 or 50. Books about channeling, I was talking with people about religion, so I guess I was receptive to the idea that it takes only one voice to inspire others to do the right thing. I was so proud of the song, I titled my album that year One Voice.

These days I sing the song as much as I can. Sometimes I ask a choir to sing it with me, sometimes I just stand there and sing it alone. Either way people always connect with it.

I’ve always believed that the public can sense when an artist has struggled to create their work. They can feel the struggle and they’re uncomfortable with it. But when the work comes easily, the public can feel that too and they like it much more.

Writing a song in a dream is the purest creation I’ve ever been a part of. I’ve always been amazed.

“One Voice”

Just One Voice

Singing in the darkness,

All it takes is One Voice

Singing so they hear what’s on your mind

And when you look around you’ll find

There’s more than

One Voice

Singing in the darkness,

Joining with your One Voice

Each and every note another octave

Hands are joined and fears unlocked

If only

One Voice

Would start it on its own

We need just One Voice

Facing the unknown

And then that One Voice

Would never be alone.

It takes that One Voice

Just One Voice

Singing in the darkness

All it takes is One Voice

Shout it out and let it ring

Just One Voice

It takes that One Voice,

And everyone will sing!

Lyrics and Music by Barry Manilow. © 1979 Universal Music Careers

More stories from our partners