Due to its popularity, it was released as a single in 1975, two years after it had originally been recorded, where it reached #6 in the United States.
Manilow's recording begins and ends with an excerpt of Frédéric Chopin's Prelude in C Minor, Opus 28, Number 20. The whole song is based on the harmonic scheme of Chopin's prelude. The "sweet Melissa" is a nod to singer Melissa Manchester.
The song has been covered by a number of other artists over the years, most successfully by Donna Summer in 1976 and UK boy band Take That in the early 1990s. Manilow himself re-recorded an up-tempo version of the song in 1993, using the original orchestration of brass and strings combined with new drums, bass and synthesizers, and included it on the album Greatest Hits: The Platinum Collection. An extended remix of the 1993 version was issued as a promotional 12" single.
Just one year after Manilow's original version was released as a single Donna Summer recorded a disco version of the track and included it on her second international album, Love Trilogy, and took it to number three on the US Dance chart in 1976. The song also entered the UK single chart where it stayed for seven weeks (peak point #40)