Melissa Manchester’s voice is as comforting as your favorite blanket on a cold winter’s night: it’s familiar, warm, and beautiful. Celebrating 50 years of music, Melissa is revisiting some of her classics, releasing them one by one from the forthcoming album RE:VIEW. The latest, “Fire In The Morning,” was released . . . this morning. If that isn’t perfect, then I don’t know what is. Read on for my thoughts on this new take on a timeless classic and for the new music video.
Melissa Manchester’s eponymous eighth album, released in 1979, features some excellent songs, including the album’s second single: “Fire In The Morning,” written by Gary Harju, Larry Helbstritt, and Steve Dorff. Featuring harmony vocals by Paul Davis, “Fire In the Morning” was the second single from the album and became a Top 40 hit. The lyrics are cheesy, and I know Melissa isn’t a huge fan of it, but I absolutely love this number. Going back to my earlier point, Melissa’s vocal delivery elevates “Fire In The Morning” to a higher level. She made a good song great, which brings us to her reimagining of this track in 2021.
“Fire In The Morning” was on the charts for 14 weeks when it was released in 1980 as a single. As more people get vaccinated and the world slowly returns to normal, many of us are overcoming struggle and isolation. This song is the veritable sunrise on the dawning of a new day — letting us know that everything is going to be all right. Melissa collaborated with the students and faculty at Citrus College for this updated treatment, which turned out excellent.
While I absolutely love the lush arrangement of the original, this new version of “Fire In The Morning” is superb. It doesn’t stray too far from the source material, yet it still feels new, especially with Melissa’s more intimate vocal. I’ve listened to it several times, and I’m sure I’ll listen to it many more. Melissa Manchester is one of the finest musicians of all time, and it’s been a joy hearing new versions of the songs that defined her career. “Fire In The Morning” just might be my favorite one so far. Buy it, stream it, and continue celebrating 50 years of music with Melissa Manchester!