This song was written and originally recorded by David Pomeranz on his 1976 album It's In Everyone Of Us. Says Pomeranz: "We had a bit of a tumultuous time. My first wife and I had some ups and downs, which is what the song kind of speaks about. I kind of pulled from that experience. I also pulled from other times I'd had where I'd be kind of hot in love with somebody and then one day the fear would be gone, and I would never understand. I've come to understand what that's all about since, but there was a time that it was a mystery to me, how I could be in love and then not be. Which is kind of funny."
Pomeranz: "The music came first. There's a line with the title, "That up/down, trying to get the feeling again." I think it was something that came organically, and I sort of... tried to get the feeling again. I didn't understand what the song meant, and I had to sort of work backwards and discover what the lyrics were going to say, but that often happens, where I'll just have a title, and not know really, fully what the song's about until I kind of delve into it.
I wrote it in San Francisco. I remember sitting out on a rooftop writing that. It took a little less than a year, but it was something I just couldn't get right. The beginning of the song has verses in it which are the initial kind of set-up to the song. So the, "Doctor, my woman is coming back home late today," that thing, I was working on that for several months, the body of the song, and I just couldn't get that opening verse right. I wrote several versions, one Barry recorded, one the Carpenters recorded, and one I recorded on Arista. And they were all different verses, which is really funny. It was those maybe 5 lines that I had worked on for 4 to 6 months, I just couldn't get it right. Funny."
Several artists recorded this before Manilow, including Gene Pitney and Lonnie Youngblood. Says Pomeranz: "It was actually written for the Carpenters. I had heard that they were looking for a song. And they never recorded it, or so I thought. Then Barry put his record out, and it was as big of a hit as it was, and then cautiously, they released an album of The Carpenter's called Interpretations in 1995, and on it was a version of 'Tryin' To Get The Feeling' that Karen had recorded, which was a complete surprise to everybody. So it was recorded several times, but Barry's was the big, big hit."
In the liner notes of his Greatest Hits package, Manilow wrote: "This is a gorgeous song. There's a beautiful bridge that we had to eliminate for the sake of timing. When I sing it in person, I always try to include David's bridge." Says Pomeranz: "I didn't know that the bridge was cut until I heard the finished record. Obviously I was thrilled that he was going to record it, I probably squawked at the time. But his record is a very good Barry Manilow record. I got used to it quickly, and I realized that was a really good record he made, with or without the bridge. My bridge is on subsequent versions, so people have heard the whole song. But I like what he did. I think at the time I was a little upset by it, because I'd worked so hard on the song. Over time... it was flawless. He did a good job, different than a David Pomeranz record. It's a different kind of a rendition."
Pomeranz explains how Manilow found this song: "My publisher at the time, Warner Brothers Music, I had a good friend there who was the president, his name was Ed Silvers. He's not there any longer, but Ed had given my demo to Bette Midler, and Bette was considering recording the song, and Barry at that time worked with Bette, he was her musical director. She played it for him at her house, and the story goes that Barry said, "If it ever comes to pass that you don't record that song, I'd like to."
Pomeranz went on to write "The Old Songs," which became another hit for Manilow. In addition to his work as a solo artist, he's written songs that have been performed by Cliff Richard, Lou Rawls, John Denver, The Hollies and many others. Many of his songs have been used in movies and TV Shows, as well as musical theater. (Thanks to David for speaking with us about this song. For more, check out his website