Chuck Mangione – Popular Flugelhorn Player of the ’70s and ’80s

Have you ever woken up missing someone’s music? That happened to me the other day when I first opened my eyes and needed to hear Chuck Mangione’s smooth melodies.

My connection to Chuck Mangione’s music goes back to the late ‘70s and early ‘80s. I fell in love with his sound – a mellow, warmth flowing out of his flugelhorn and being played on my local top 40 radio station. It was such a break from all the driving beats, dance music and rock anthems out at the time.

My Two Treasured Chuck Mangione Albums

Album cover of Feels So Good, Chuck Mangione holding his flugelhorn
Vintage Record Collection: Chuck Mangione ‘Feels So Good’, A&M Records, Copyright 1977” by France1978 is marked with CC BY-SA 2.0.

Cover for Chuck Mangione's Fun and Games album
Vintage Vinyl Record Album – Chuck Mangione, Fun And Games, A&M Records, Catalog SP-3715, Genre – Jazz, USA, Released 1980” by France1978 is marked with CC BY-SA 2.0.

While top 40 radio stations played instrumental music back then, most songs that I remember around that time were from movies, like, “Star Wars (Main Title),” in 1977,” “Star Wars Theme/Cantina Band” in 1977, and “Chariots of Fire” in 1981.

Like many kids my age, I sat on the floor in front of the record player’s speakers listening to albums as I read the liner notes. While some kids in the early ‘80s were fans of the pop/disco music of Michael Jackson, or the rock music of Pink Floyd or the punk rock music of The Clash, I was sitting with Mangione.

I had started playing the trumpet at school in the fifth grade and was mesmerized by the beautiful sounds of the trumpet and so naturally, the flugelhorn, as well. The music on these albums was soothing, relaxing and uplifting. Have a listen to this live 1978 recording of “Feels So Good” to see what you think.

A Few Facts about Chuck Mangione’s 1977 and 1980 Albums

  • The Feels So Good album peaked at No. 2 on the Billboard albums chart in 1978, losing out on the No. 1 spot to the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack.
  • His 1980 song, “Give It All You Got” from his Fun and Games album:
    • Was the official song of the 1980 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid, NY.
    • Reached No. 1 on the Billboard adult contemporary chart.
    • Lost the Grammy for Best Instrumental Composition in 1981 to John Williams and “The Empire Strikes Back.”

My Chuck Mangione Concert Memory

I saw Chuck Mangione play live as part of his concert tour to promote his album, 70 Miles Young that was released in 1982. This may have been the first music concert I went to and since I was not yet old enough to drive, or pay for tickets, I asked my mother to help me.

Before and after the show, Chuck’s father, Frank C. “Papa” Mangione, was in the lobby signing copies of the 70 Miles Young album. The front and back of the album cover were photos of Chuck and his father hugging.

My mom and I had balcony tickets that were way in the back of the large theatre in Upstate New York and Chuck Mangione looked so tiny from where I was sitting, but I could hear him clearly.

Like most 40-year-old memories of concerts, most of what I recall are my feelings about it. I was excited to be in the same space as Chuck Mangione and listening to him play all the songs I knew. He sounded wonderful and the occasional cracked note reminded me he was really playing live. I felt thankful to my mother for spending her time and money to get me there.

Music that I listened to when I was young has made deeper and more long-lasting impressions on me than any music since. Maybe all the emotional drama of growing up, combined with so much free time to sit, hold the album and focus all my attention on the music was part of that. Some days now, I wake up needing to hear a familiar song that was so important to me decades ago.

Chuck Mangione is 81 years old now. He released his most recent album, Keep in Sight in 2019.

Take a look into the past with Chuck Mangione playing “Give It All You Got” on this undated, somewhat blurry live recording.

4 thoughts on “Chuck Mangione – Popular Flugelhorn Player of the ’70s and ’80s

Add yours

  1. Interesting. 🙂
    Not really for me, though I do like a bit of jazz and a bit of funk from time to time -, but I’ve forwarded to one of our regular contributors I think may enjoy this. :).

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    1. Thanks for the forwarding. It was interesting reading up on him and how his music was described by music reviewers in so many different ways- “jazz pop,” “lite-jazz” and “soft rock” were just a few.

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  2. I woke up this morning with Chuck in my head. I think it is because I have been rewatching King of the Hill.

    Anyhow, I see that he released an album in 2019, but I can’t seem to find it on any of the normal streaming services. Any idea where I might be able to give it a listen from?

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    1. I’ll have to check out King of the Hill then. I found the mp3 on amazon.com.uk Not seeing any U.S. sites selling it. Even his official website isn’t selling it and the site looks defunct. The company, Tidal, that put it out is a subscription based streaming service. The samples I listened to from this album are a lot jazzier than the ’77 & ’80 albums.

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