Barry Manilow The Greatest Songs of the Fifties (Arista) The last time Barry Manilow found himself sitting on top of the charts, the original Star Wars movie was packing them in at the cinema and John Lennon was still alive. Yet the 'sultan of schmaltz' has returned to number one, some 29 years later, with first week sales of 156,000 placing him above the likes of Eminem and Mary J. Blige. Just as Rod Stewart recently found with his American Songbook series, the demand for nostalgia is so great that a successful play into it can bring about instant career resuscitation. The question here is whether Manilow's fans - mums and grandmothers - are nostalgic for the 1950s, or for the salad days of the Brooklyn-born singer formerly known as Barry Alan Pincus. Not that Manilow's career was in the emergency room - he has sold 75 million over the past three decades, and his legions of 'Fanilows' will surely embrace this latest addition. These are all straightforward, traditional interpretations of 50s classics - mercifully, there are no focus group-enforced efforts to spruce things up with hip-hop beats or acid squelches. The production is crystalline yet straightforward: piano, strings and cymbal crashes are as wild as things get. On Unchained Melody, Manilow eschews the original's ethereal quality for sheer power balladry. At 60 his voice is in fine fettle. In some ways it's a brave move to take on favourites from other singers, notably Elvis' Are You Lonesome Tonight or Johnny Mathis' It's not for Me to Say. This exercise indicates, however, that history will be very kind to Manilow - he has created a fireside album that truly belongs in the decade it pays homage to.