Janis Siegal of The Manhattan Transfer has a very funny story about the time her band pissed off The Beach Boys. The Beach Boys were nominated for a Pop Grammy but The Manhattan Transfer won.
“One time we were presenters (at The Grammy Awards) and we were nominated for a Pop Award up against The Beach Boys. I think they had ‘Kokomo’ out and we won and they were pissed.
Manhattan Transfer won for ‘Brasil’. The Beach Boys ‘Kokomo’, The escape Club’s ‘Wild Wild West’, Gloria Estefan’s ‘Anything for You’ and Brenda Russell & Joe Esposito had ‘Piano In The Dark’.
In the USA Manhattan Transfer have had hits and the hits generated Platinum Awards and Grammy Awards but Janis says the group is not motivated by awards. “My Grammy Awards were exciting to get and I am grateful for them but I keep them out of sight,” she tells Noise11. “I am just not into lounging on memories of the past when there is too much to do in the current in my life.
“My success comes from someone coming up to me and saying ‘you helped me through this difficult time in my life’ or ‘we played your song when we got married’ or “I brought my grandson to hear you. That is the success that I am counting”.
Janis has 10 Grammy Awards. “I don’t poo poo it. It is a wonderful honour to be recognised that way. But that’s not how I measure success,” she says. “Every Grammy was special. We performed on the broadcast a number of times. The first time I hadn’t even heard of the Grammys and then we were nominated, not for one, but for two and I was nominated myself for vocal arrangement for ‘Birdland’. That was thrilling. It was right here in my hometown at the Radio City Music Hall. Then there was the time we sang with Ella Fitzgerald at The Podium and did ‘How High The Moon’ with her”.
Manhattan Transfer had five hits in Australia. The big one was ‘Chanson D’Amour’ in 1976. The only one they don’t do is ‘Twilight Zone’. “We don’t do Twilight Zone very much anymore because we still don’t tour with a guitarist,” Janis says. “We did have an Australian guitarist one time, but that’s the only reason we don’t do ‘Twilight Zone’, but everything else we do.”
Manhattan Transfer Australian dates
22 February, Melbourne, The Palms at Crown
23 February, Gold Cast, The Star
24 February, Sydney, City Recital Hall
27 February, Sydney, Hurstville Entertainment Centre
1 March, Canberra, SC Club
2 March, Perth, Regal Theatre