1976 – Atlantic
Coming Out was released on August 19, 1976 debuted on Billboard’s Top Pop Album charts on September 18, 1976 and peaked at #48. “Zindy Lou” featured a large group of guest stars with Ringo Starr & Jim Keltner on drums, Dr. John on piano and Doug Thorngren on Percussion.
The Manhattan Transfer’s second album was entirely different than their debut album. Why? “We did not want to do this. Our manager at the time, Aaron Russo, felt the nostalgia fad was fading so he teamed us up with Richard Perry,” Alan says. Even though the group never considered themselves a ‘nostalgia act, they were often labeled that way. “The album will be different from the first, in that we’ll record more contemporary songs. I hope once and for all we can erase the nostalgia label people have put on us. I don’t consider what we do as nostaglia, just good music,’ commented Tim in an interview in Cue magazine in November, 1975.
Despite the conflict of interest between the group and their manager, Alan also pointed out the album was the one that broke the group in Europe with “Chanson d’Amour.” The song exploded across Europe and maintained the #1 spot in Great Britain for three weeks and was also at #1 in Paris. In a 1977 interview, Alan talked about the day they recorded their hit: “The song was written in 1957. We’d been recording all day and we hadn’t gotten that far. Just as we were about to leave, Laurel shouted, ‘Hey wait a minute, I’ve got an idea.’ She used an Edith Piaf sound in her voice and we recorded it in one take. She wanted to get a romantic French feel behind it.” The success in Europe also helped them gain larger audiences and more recognition in the United States.
Produced by Richard Perry with Tim Hauser as associate producer, the album was recorded in Los Angeles in the fall of 1975. Janis remembers that they always ate at Lucy’s El Adobe. “Tim and Richard Perry got me tipsy on margaritas before vocal on ‘Don’t Let Go’!”
Coming Out also featured many guest musicians, including ex-Beatle Ringo Starr and Dr. John. Janis also commented that we should “remember Michael Brecker’s beautiful solo on ‘Poinciana.'”