Barry Manilow

Barry Manilow (born June 17, 1943)[1] is an American singer-songwriter, musician, arranger, producer, conductor, entertainer, and performer, best known for such recordings as “Mandy“, “I Write the Songs“, “Weekend in New England“, “Can’t Smile Without You“, and “Copacabana (At the Copa).”

In 1978, five of his albums were on the best-selling charts simultaneously, a feat equalled only by Frank Sinatra, Michael Jackson and Johnny Mathis. He has recorded a string of Billboard hit singles and multi-platinum albums that have resulted in his being named Radio & Records number one Adult Contemporary artist and winning three straight American Music Awards for Favorite Pop/Rock Male Artist. Several well-known entertainers have given Manilow their “stamp of approval,” including Sinatra, who was quoted in the 1970s regarding Manilow, “He’s next.” In 1988, Bob Dylan stopped Manilow at a party, hugged him and said, “Don’t stop what you’re doing, man. We’re all inspired by you.”[2] Arsenio Hall cited Manilow as a favorite guest on The Arsenio Hall Show and admonished his audience to respect him for his work.[3]

On the other side of the coin, throughout his career Manilow was widely derided and ridiculed[4], his work typically characterized as sentimental and “maudlin schlock”.[5] Robert Christgau’s take on Manilow is typical, awarding his records C’s and C-‘s and characterizing his voice as “uncompromisingly inoffensive… –a voice that never hints at sex or history or even chops.”[6] Another frequent target of his critics was the production and arrangements of his songs, which were seen as bombastic, saccharine and overdone. [7]

As well as producing and arranging albums for other artists, such as Bette Midler, Dionne Warwick and Rosemary Clooney, Manilow has written songs for musicals, films, and commercials. Since February 2005, he had been the headliner at the Las Vegas Hilton, and had performed hundreds of shows before he called time on his 5-year association, performing his last show on December 30, 2009. From March 2010, he is due to headline at the Paris Hotel in Las Vegas.[8]

Manilow was born as Barry Alan Pincus to Harold Pincus and Edna Manilow. His mother’s family was Jewish, while his father, who was often known by the surname “Keliher”, was born to a Jewish father and Irish American mother.[9] Manilow was raised in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn, attending Brooklyn’s Eastern District High School. After his high school graduation in 1961, Manilow enrolled at The Juilliard School, while working at CBS to pay his expenses. At CBS in 1964 Manilow met Bro Herrod, a director, who asked him to arrange some public domain songs for a musical adaptation of the melodrama, The Drunkard. Instead, Manilow wrote an entire original score.[10] The musical became a success and ran Off-Broadway for eight years at the 13th Street Theatre in New York.[11] Manilow then earned money by working as a pianist, producer, and arranger. He has said of that time that he played piano for anybody: “If the check cleared, I was there.”[12]

Manilow also worked as a commercial jingle writer/singer,[13] an activity that continued well into the 1970s. He penned many of the jingles that he performed, including those for Bowlene Toilet Cleaner, State Farm Insurance (“Like a good neighbor, State Farm is there…”), Stridex acne cleanser, and Band-Aid (“I am stuck on Band-Aid, ’cause Band-Aid’s stuck on me!” sung by a jubilant struggling actor named John Travolta), among others. His singing-only credits include Kentucky Fried Chicken, Pepsi, Jack in the Box, Dr Pepper, and the famed McDonald’s “You Deserve a Break Today” campaign.[14] Manilow won two Clio Awards in 1976 for his work for Tab and Band-Aid.[15]

By 1967, Manilow was the musical director for the WCBS-TV series Callback, which premiered on January 27, 1968. He next conducted and arranged for Ed Sullivan‘s production company, arranging a new theme for The Late Show, while still writing, producing, and singing his radio and television jingles. At the same time, he and Jeanne Lucas performed as a duo for a two-season run at New York’s Upstairs at the Downstairs club.[16]

Manilow’s well-known association with Bette Midler began at the Continental Baths in New York City.[17] He accompanied her and other artists on the piano from 1970 to 1971, and Midler chose Manilow to assist with the production of her first two albums, the Platinum-certified The Divine Miss M (1972) and the Gold-plus Bette Midler (1973), and act as her musical director on the The Divine Miss M tour.[18] Manilow worked with Midler for four years, from 1971 to 1975. In 1974, Bell Records released Manilow’s first album, Barry Manilow, which offered an eclectic mix of piano-driven pop and guitar-driven rock music, including a song that Manilow had composed for the 1972 war drama Parades.

Among other songs on the album were “Friends”, “Cloudburst”, and “Could It Be Magic.” The latter’s music was based on Chopin’s “Prelude in C Minor, Opus 28, Number 20”, and provided Donna Summer with one of her major hits. (It was also covered by Take That in the 1990s, as an up-beat disco version of the song. Take That have since performed Manilow’s original version in their Beautiful World Tour.) Midler allowed Manilow to sing three of the songs from the album during the intermissions in her show.[citation needed] As a result of a corporate takeover, Bell Records, along with other labels, was merged into a new entity named Arista Records, under the leadership of Clive Davis, who seized the opportunity to drop many artists. However, after seeing Manilow perform as the opening act at a Dionne Warwick concert, he was convinced that he had a winner on his hands; a relationship lasting decades ensued.

“Can’t Smile Without You”

The partnership began to gain traction in 1974, with the release of Manilow’s second album, Barry Manilow II, on Bell Records (and later reissued on Arista), which contained the breakthrough number-one hit, “Mandy“. Manilow had not wanted to record “Mandy” (originally titled “Brandy”, written and recorded by Scott English) — but the song was included at the insistence of Clive Davis. Following the success of Barry Manilow II, the first Bell Records album release was re-mixed and re-issued on Arista Records as Barry Manilow I. When Manilow went on his first tour, he included in his show, “A Very Strange Medley”, a sampling of some of the commercial jingles that he had written or sung. Beginning with Manilow’s March 22, 1975, appearance on American Bandstand to promote Barry Manilow II (where he sang “Mandy” and “It’s A Miracle”), a productive friendship with Dick Clark started.[19] Numerous appearances by Manilow on Clark’s productions of Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve, singing his original seasonal favorite “It’s Just Another New Year’s Eve”, American Bandstand anniversary shows, American Music Awards performances and his 1985 television movie Copacabana are among their projects together. He once said, “Is it wrong to be strong, you be the judge!”

1978 “Ready To Take A Chance”

“Mandy” was the start of a string of hit singles and albums that lasted through the rest of the 1970s to the early 1980s, coming from the multi-platinum and multi-hit albums Tryin’ to Get the Feeling, This One’s for You, Even Now and One Voice. Despite being a solid songwriter in his own right, Manilow has had great success with songs by others. Among the hits which he did not write are “Mandy,” “Tryin’ to Get the Feeling Again”, “Weekend in New England” (by Randy Edelman), Looks Like We Made It,” “Can’t Smile Without You” and “Ready to Take a Chance Again”. Ironically, another of the songs Manilow did not write was his number one hit “I Write The Songs” (by Bruce Johnston of The Beach Boys). According to album liner notes, Manilow did, however, co-produce them with Ron Dante and arrange them.

Manilow on Good Morning America

Manilow’s breakthrough in Britain came with the release of Manilow Magic – The Best Of Barry Manilow, also known as Greatest Hits. On its initial release it was accompanied by a large television advertising campaign, but the album was only available by mail order on the “Teledisc” label. In the late 1970s and early 1980s, ABC aired four variety television specials starring and executive produced by Manilow. The Barry Manilow Special with Penny Marshall as his guest premiered on March 2, 1977 to an audience of 37 million. The breakthrough special was nominated for four Emmys and won in the category of “Outstanding Comedy-Variety or Music Special”.[20] The Second Barry Manilow Special in 1978, with Ray Charles as his guest, was also nominated for four Emmys.[20]

Manilow’s “Ready To Take a Chance Again” originated in the film Foul Play, which also featured “Copacabana”, from his 4th studio album “Even Now.” [21] “Ready To Take A Chance Again” was nominated that year for the “Best Original Song” Oscar.[22] Copacabana would later take the form of a musical television movie, starring Manilow, and three musical plays. On February 11, 1979, a concert from Manilow’s sold-out dates at the Greek Theater in Los Angeles, California was aired on HBO‘s series Standing Room Only, which was the first pay-television show to pose a serious challenge to network primetime specials in the ratings. From the same tour in 1978, a one-hour special from Manilow’s sold out concert at the Royal Albert Hall aired in the UK.

“Copacabana”

On May 23, 1979, ABC aired The Third Barry Manilow Special, with John Denver as his guest. This special was nominated for two Emmy awards and won for “Outstanding Achievement in Choreography”.[20] Also in 1979, Manilow produced Dionne Warwick’s “comeback” album Dionne. The Arista album was her first to go platinum and spawned “I’ll Never Love This Way Again” and “Deja Vu.” He also scored a top ten hit of his own in the fall of 1979 with the song “Ships” (written by Ian Hunter, former lead singer of Mott the Hoople) from the album “One Voice.”

The 1980s gave Manilow the adult contemporary chart-topping hit songs “The Old Songs”, “Somewhere Down the Road”, “Read ‘Em and Weep” ( by Meat Loaf collaborator Jim Steinman) and a remake of the 1941 Jule Styne and Frank Loesser standard “I Don’t Want to Walk Without You.” Manilow continued having high radio airplay throughout the decade. In the UK, Manilow had five sold-out performances at Royal Albert Hall, for which nearly a half million people vied for the 21,500 available seats. In the United States, he sold out Radio City Music Hall in 1984 for 10 nights and set a box-office sales record of nearly $2 million, making him the top draw in the then 52-year history of the Music Hall.[23] In 1980, Manilow’s One Voice special, with Dionne Warwick as his guest, was nominated for an Emmy for “Outstanding Achievement in Music Direction”.[20]

Also in 1980, a concert from Manilow’s sold-out shows at England’s Wembley Arena was broadcast while he was on a world tour. Manilow released the self-titled Barry (1980), which was his first album to not reach the top ten in the United States, stopping at #15. The album contained “I Made It Through The Rain” (originally a minor hit for its writer, Gerard Kenny) and “Bermuda Triangle.” “We Still Have Time” was featured in the 1980 drama Tribute. The album If I Should Love Again followed in 1981, containing “The Old Songs,” “Let’s Hang On,” and “Somewhere Down The Road.” This was the first of his own albums that Manilow produced without Ron Dante, who had co-produced all the previous albums. Manilow’s sold-out concert at the Pittsburgh Civic Arena in Pittsburgh was aired nationally on Showtime, and locally on Philadelphia‘s now-defunct PRISM. In 1982, a concert from his sold out Royal Albert Hall show was broadcast in England. The live album and video Barry Live in Britain also came from his Royal Albert Hall shows.

1981 “I Write The Songs”

On August 27, 1983, Manilow performed a landmark open air concert at Blenheim Palace in Britain. It was the first such event ever held at that venue and was attended by a conservative estimate of 40,000 people. This concert was also taped for airing on Showtime. In December 1983, Manilow was reported to have endowed the music departments at six major universities in the United States and Canada.[24] The endowments were part of a continuing endeavor by Manilow to recognize and encourage new musical talent.[25]

In 1984 Manilow released 2:00 AM Paradise Cafe, a jazz/blues collection of original barroom tunes recorded in one live take in the studio. In 1984, Showtime aired a documentary of Manilow recording the album with a number of jazz legends, such as Sarah Vaughn and Mel Tormé. In 1984 and 1985, England aired two one-hour concert specials from his National Exhibition Centre (NEC) concerts. In 1985, Manilow left Arista Records for RCA Records. There he released the pop album Manilow, and began a phase of international music, as he performed songs and duets in French, Spanish, Portuguese, and Japanese, among other languages. The Manilow album was a complete about face from the Paradise Cafe album, containing a number of tracks that were of a modern uptempo and synthesized quality. In 1985, Japan aired a Manilow concert special where he played “Sakura” on the koto.

1981 “Could It Be Magic” and “Mandy” Medley

In his only lead acting role, he portrayed Tony Starr in a 1985 CBS film based on Copacabana, which also featured Annette O’Toole as Lola Lamarr and Joseph Bologna as Rico. This was named one of the top TV specials of the year by TV Guide magazine. Manilow penned all the songs for the movie, with lyrics provided by established collaborators Bruce Sussman and Jack Feldman, and released Copacabana: The Original Motion Picture Soundtrack Album on RCA Records. In October 1986, Manilow, along with Bruce Sussman, Tom Scott, and Charlie Fox, went to Washington, D.C. for two days of meetings with legislators, including lunch with then Senator Al Gore (D-TN).[26] They were there to lobby against a copyright bill put forward by local television broadcasters that would mandate songwriter-producer source licensing of theme and incidental music on syndicated television show reruns and would disallow use of the blanket license now in effect. The songwriters said without the blanket license, artists would have to negotiate up front with producers individually, without knowing if a series would be a success. The license now pays according to a per-use formula. Manilow said that such a bill would act as a precedent for broadcasters to get rid of the blanket license entirely.[27]

The following year, McGraw-Hill published his autobiography, Sweet Life: Adventures on the Way to Paradise, which had taken him about three years to complete. While promoting his autobiography, Manilow defended his music in a telephone interview: “I live in laid-back L.A., but in my heart, I’m an energetic New Yorker and that’s what has always come out of my music. I’ve always been surprised when the critics said I made wimpy little ballads“.[28] Manilow returned to Arista Records in 1987 with the release of Swing Street. The album, a mixture of traditional after-dark and techno jazz, contained “Brooklyn Blues,” an autobiographical song for Manilow, and “Hey Mambo,” an uptempo Latin style duet with Kid Creole, produced with the help of Emilio Estefan, Jr., founder of Miami Sound Machine.

In March 1988, CBS aired Manilow’s Big Fun on Swing Street special. It featured songs and special guests from his Swing Street and 2:00 AM Paradise Cafe albums, including Kid Creole and the Coconuts, Phyllis Hyman, Stanley Clarke, Carmen McRae, Tom Scott, Gerry Mulligan, Diane Schuur, Full Swing, and Uncle Festive, a band within Manilow’s band at the time. The special was nominated for two Emmys in categories of “Outstanding Lighting Direction (Electronic): For a Variety/Music or drama series, a miniseries or a special” and won in the category of “Outstanding Art Direction for a Variety or Music program”.[29] England also aired another NEC one-hour concert special Manilow did while on his Big Fun Tour de Force tour.

In 1988, he performed “Please Don’t Be Scared” and “Mandy/Could It Be Magic” at That’s What Friends Are For: AIDS Concert ’88, a benefit concert for the Warwick Foundation headed by Dionne Warwick and shown on Showtime a couple of years later. In the 1988 Walt Disney Pictures animated feature Oliver & Company, Bette Midler’s character sang a new Manilow composition called “Perfect Isn’t Easy.” The 1989 release of Barry Manilow, which contained “Please Don’t Be Scared,” “Keep Each Other Warm,” and “The One That Got Away,” ended Manilow’s streak of albums of original self-written material (he neither wrote nor arranged any of the songs except for two) and began a phase of his recording career consisting of covers and compilations.[30]

From April 18 to June 10, 1989, Manilow put on a show called Barry Manilow at the Gershwin, making 44 appearances[31] at the Gershwin Theatre (also known as the Uris Theatre), where, by coincidence, he recorded Barry Manilow Live in 1976. A best-selling 90-minute video of the same show was released the following year as Barry Manilow Live On Broadway. The Showtime one-hour special Barry Manilow SRO on Broadway consisted of edited highlights from this video. Manilow followed this set of shows with a sold-out world tour of the Broadway show.

“Trying To Get The Feeling”

In the 1990s, Manilow released a number of cover tunes. It started with the 1989 release Barry Manilow, continued with his 1990 Christmas LP Because It’s Christmas. Consequent “event” albums followed including: Showstoppers, a collection of Broadway songs (1991), Singin’ with the Big Bands (1994) and a late 1970s collection Summer of ’78 (1996) which included the hit “I Go Crazy”, formerly a hit for Paul Davis in 1978. The decade ended with Manilow recording a tribute to Frank Sinatra Manilow Sings Sinatra (1998) released months after Sinatra’s death.

In 1990, Japan aired National Eolia Special: Barry Manilow On Broadway where he sang the title song “Eolia”, which was used as a song there in a commercial for an air conditioner company of the same name, as well as other songs from his 1989–1990 Live on Broadway tour. In the early 1990s, Manilow signed on with Don Bluth to compose the songs with lyricists Jack Feldman and Bruce Sussman for three animated films. He co-wrote the Broadway-style musical scores for Thumbelina (1994) and The Pebble and the Penguin (1995). The third film, entitled Rapunzel, was shelved after the poor performance of Pebble. Manilow was also to be cast as the voice of a cricket. Manilow also composed the score and wrote two songs with Bruce Sussman for Disney Sing Along Songs: Let’s Go To The Circus.

On February 19, 1992, Manilow testified before the Subcommittee on Intellectual Property and Judicial Administration House Committee in support of H.R. 3204 The Audio Home Recording Act of 1991.[32] The bill was signed into law on October 28, 1992 by President George H. W. Bush. The Act, a historic compromise between the consumer electronics and music industries, became effective immediately. In 1993, PBS aired, as a fundraiser, Barry Manilow: The Best of Me, which was taped at Wembley Arena in England earlier that same year. The BBC also played a one-hour version of the same show including “The Best of Me”, sung during the concert, as a bonus song or “lucky strike extra” as Manilow says, not seen in The Greatest Hits…and then some, the video release of the show; however, the song was included on the DVD of the same title, with Manilow seated in front of a black curtain, lip-syncing to the recording. Manilow branched out in another direction and, with long-time lyricist Bruce Sussman, launched Copacabana, a musical play based on previous Manilow-related adaptations. They wrote new songs and it ran for two years on the London West End, and a tour company formed.

“Even Now”

In December 1996, A&E aired Barry Manilow: Live By Request, the first of his two Live By Request appearances. The broadcast was A&E’s most successful music program, attracting an estimated 2.4 million viewers. The show was also simulcast on the radio. In March 1997, VH-1 aired Barry Manilow: The Summer of ’78, a one-hour special of Manilow solo at the piano being interviewed and playing his greatest hits as well as songs from Summer of ’78 his latest release at the time. In another collaboration between Manilow and Sussman they co-wrote the musical Harmony, which previewed October 7 to November 23, 1997 at the La Jolla Playhouse in La Jolla, California.[33] Later in 2003, Harmony was originally scheduled for a tryout run in Philadelphia before going to Broadway, but was canceled after financial difficulties. After a legal battle with Mark Schwartz, the show’s producer, Manilow and Sussman in 2005 won back the rights to the musical.[34]

On October 23, 1999, NBC aired the two-hour special StarSkates Salute to Barry Manilow taped at the Mandalay Bay Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada featuring numerous figure skaters performing to Manilow’s music. Manilow also performed as well.

In the year 2000, Manilow had two specials, Manilow Country and Manilow Live!, taped over two consecutive days at the Tennessee Performing Arts Center in Nashville, Tennessee. On April 11, 2000, The Nashville Network (TNN) aired the two-hour Manilow Country, which featured country stars Trisha Yearwood, Neal McCoy, Deana Carter, Jo Dee Messina, Lorrie Morgan, Kevin Sharp, Lila McCann, Gillian Welch and Jaci Velasquez singing their favorite Manilow hits with a “country” twist; at which Manilow also performed. This “special” was TNN’s first High Definition (HD) broadcast and became one of TNN’s highest rated concert specials.

“Weekend In New England”

In June 2000, DirectTV aired the two-hour concert special Manilow Live! where Manilow had his band, a 30-piece orchestra, and a choir. This HDTV special documented the concert tour at the time with the greatest hits of his career and was also released to video. Also that year, he worked with Monica Mancini on her Concord album The Dreams of Johnny Mercer which included seven songs Manilow wrote to Mercer’s lyrics. Meanwhile, Manilow’s record contract with Arista Records was not renewed due to new management. He then got a contract at Concord Records, a jazz-oriented label in California, and started work on the long-anticipated concept album, Here at the Mayflower. The album was another eclectic mix of styles, almost entirely composed and produced by Manilow himself.

While Manilow was at Concord Records, the Barry Manilow Scholarship was awarded for four consecutive years from 2002 to 2005 to the six highest-achieving students to reward excellence in the art and craft of lyric writing. The UCLA Extension course “Writing Lyrics That Succeed and Endure,” taught by long time Manilow collaborator, Marty Panzer, and each student received three additional “master class” advanced sessions as well as a three-hour private, one-on-one session with Mr. Panzer. Scholarship recipients were selected by the instructor based on progress made within the course, lyric writing ability, and the instructor’s assessment of real potential in the field of songwriting.[35] In February 2002, Manilow’s recording career bounced back into the charts when Arista released a greatest hits album, Ultimate Manilow. On May 18, 2002, Manilow returned to CBS with Ultimate Manilow, his first special at the network since his Big Fun on Swing Street special in 1988. The special was filmed in the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood, California and was nominated for an Emmy in the category of “Outstanding Music Direction”.[29]

Produced by Manilow, Bette Midler Sings the Rosemary Clooney Songbook was first released on September 30, 2003. It was the first time that Bette Midler had worked with Barry in more than twenty years. Instantly successful, the album went gold and they worked together again on a 2005 follow-up album entitled Bette Midler Sings the Peggy Lee Songbook. On December 3, 2003, A&E aired A Barry Manilow Christmas: Live by Request, his second of two concerts for the series. The two-hour special had Manilow taking requests for Christmas songs performed live with a band and an orchestra. Manilow told the audience that he was what Clay Aiken was going to look like in thirty years, thus acknowledging an ongoing comparison between the two. Also on the special were guests Cyndi Lauper, Jose Feliciano, and Bette Midler (Midler, busy preparing her own tour in LA, appeared only in a pre-taped segment).

2004 brought the release of two albums. These were, consecutively, a live album, 2 Nights Live! (BMG Strategic Marketing Group, 2004), and Scores: Songs from Copacabana & Harmony, an album of Manilow singing songs from his musicals. Scores was the last of Manilow’s creative projects with the Concord label.

During his third appearance on The Oprah Winfrey Show on September 15, 2004, Winfrey announced that Manilow is one of the most requested guests of all time on her show. On the show he promoted his One Night Live! One Last Time! tour. It was around this time period where Manilow appeared for the first time on the mainstream FOX program American Idol in which his back-up singer, Debra Byrd, doubles as voice coach on the series. It was also during this period that many in the media felt the meteoric rise of Idol runner-up Clay Aiken, helped the revitalization of Manilow’s career in the mainstream with a lot of younger music listeners, by way of the comparisons of Clay Aiken to Barry. Manilow appeared on Aiken’s TV special, A Clay Aiken Christmas.

Las Vegas Hilton executives in a press conference with Manilow on December 14, 2004 announced his signing to a long-term engagement as the house show.[36] In March 2006, Manilow’s engagement was extended through 2008.[37]

Manilow returned to Arista Records under the guidance of Davis for a new album of cover versions released on January 31, 2006 called The Greatest Songs of the Fifties. Manilow said he was blown away with the idea, which Davis presented to him when he visited his Las Vegas show. “When he suggested this idea to me, I slapped my forehead and said, ‘Why hasn’t anyone thought of this idea?'” Manilow said. “But of course there is only one Clive Davis. I feel honored and terribly fortunate to be working with him again after all these years. It’s like coming home.”[38] The album included classic songs from that decade, like “Are You Lonesome Tonight?” and “Unchained Melody“. It was an unexpected hit, debuting at number one in the Billboard 200, marking the first time a Manilow album debuted at the top of the album chart as well as the first time a Manilow album has reached number one in 29 years. It was eventually certified Platinum in the U.S., and sold over three million copies worldwide.

In March 2006, PBS aired Barry Manilow: Music and Passion, a Hilton concert taped exclusively for the network’s fundraising drive. Manilow was nominated for two Emmys, winning for “Outstanding Individual Performance in a Variety or Music Program“. A sequel album to his best-selling fifties tribute album, The Greatest Songs of the Sixties was released on October 31, 2006 including songs such as “And I Love Her” and “Can’t Help Falling in Love“. It nearly repeated the success of its predecessor, debuting at #2 in the Billboard 200.

In January 2007, Manilow returned to his hometown of New York City for three shows at Madison Square Garden. One highlight was the showing onscreen of Manilow performing in one of his first television appearances while the “live” Manilow played along onstage. “The Greatest Songs of the Seventies“, released on September 18, 2007 was a follow-up album to the record-breaking previous two albums “Greatest Songs of the Fifties” and “Greatest Songs of the Sixties”.

Manilow returned to the road in 2007. Several shows were played on the east coast of the United States in August 2007. Four more shows in Uniondale, New York, East Rutherford, New Jersey, Cleveland, Ohio, and Detroit, Michigan, took place in December 2007. Manilow launched another short tour in early 2008, visiting several large venues including the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minnesota. Barry Manilow: Songs from the Seventies, a PBS concert special based on “The Greatest Songs of the Seventies“, was taped in Manilow’s home town, Brooklyn, New York, October 2007. The show aired on PBS December 2007 and was rebroadcast again New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day 2009. He appeared on American Idol on February 3, 2009 during Hollywood Week to give advice to the contestants.

In October 2009, Manilow TV, a monthly video subscription service, was launched. Once a month, Barry Manilow picks a concert from his personal archive to show to subscribers. The video changes monthly. The first month, Episode #1, showed performances from April 20 & 21, 1996 at Wembley Arena in London. It is confirmed as of October 7, 2009 that Manilow will be concluding his Resident show at the Hilton “Ultimate Manilow The Hits” on December 30, 2009. Manilow will open his new show at the Paris Hotel & Casino at Las Vegas in March of 2010. The show is simply titled “Manilow Paris Las Vegas”.

Quick Bio Facts:

Barry  ManilowBarry Manilow – AKA Barry Alan Pincus

Born: 17-Jun1943 [1]
Birthplace: Brooklyn, NY

Gender: Male
Religion: Jewish
Race or Ethnicity: White
Occupation: Singer/Songwriter
Party Affiliation: Democratic

Nationality: United States
Executive summary: I Write The Songs

One of the most successful — and subsequently most ridiculed — pop performers of the 1970s and 1980s, and still an enduring figure on the adult contemporary scene, Barry Alan Pincus was given a start to his life amidst the urban splendor of Brooklyn’s Williamsburg slum. Abandoned by his father at the age of two, Barry was raised by his mother and her relatives, eventually prompting him later in life to drop Pincus and assume her family’s name, Manilow. At the age of seven he began to learn both the piano and accordion, and continued to be musically active throughout his high school years; after graduation, he chose to pursue music as a career and enrolled in the Juilliard School of Music while supporting himself with a mailroom job at CBS.

Manilow’s debut as a professional arranger arrived in his eighteenth year, when a director he had met at CBS approached him to arrange some public domain scores into a soundtrack for an off-Broadway production of The Drunkard; instead, the ambitious young composer created his own original score for the play, which went on to have a successful eight-year run. Manilow then landed a job arranging for the CBS series Callback, concurrent with a two-year residency as part of a duo act at Upstairs at the Downstairs Club in New York, and supplemented by commissions creating jingles for radio and television. A number of the most prominent jingles of the decade were written or sung by the man — some so infectious in their quality that only by the end of the 90s did they finally begin to fade from public consciousness.

After Callback, Manilow began working in various musical capacities for Ed Sullivan Productions, while also performing at the Improv in Manhattan and at the Continental Baths. It was through the latter that his career in popular music was given a lively kick in the pants courtesy of Bette Midler, who drafted him into service as her pianist and musical director. The duo’s popularity steadily grew in the opening years of the 1970s, eventually leading to a series of appearances on The Tonight Show, and culminating in a sold out concert at Carnegie Hall in 1972. Response to his original songs at this event encouraged Manilow to put together a demo tape; a record deal was arranged with Bell Records (later Arista) soon afterward, and the first Barry Manilow solo release (Barry Manilow 1) was on the shelves by the summer of 1973. The release was not particularly well-received, but his involvement in Midler’s hugely popular first two albums — The Divine Miss M (1972) and Bette Midler (1973) — helped to maintain his music industry profile. It was with his second album, Barry Manilow II (1974) and it’s lead single Mandy, that the composer’s solo career finally took off, the single finding its way to the top of the charts in early 1975.

After this breakthrough, Manilow maintained a reign of terror over the American charts for the remainder of the decade — his third album Tryin’ to Get the Feeling (1975) reached triple-platinum status and earned a second number one single with I Write The Songs, and his fourth album This One’s for You (1976) earned yet another with Looks Like We Made It. The obligatory double-live offering released in 1977 confirmed his popularity by hitting number one and reaching quadruple-platinum sales. That same year he received an Emmy award for his first television special (creatively titled The Barry Manilow Special) broadcast by ABC; Manilow specials were subsequently aired by the network every year for the following three years.

The composer’s streak of chart-topping singles continued up until the onset of the 1980s, attaining a total of 25 consecutive top 10 songs. A world tour staged between 1981 and 1982 broke attendance records in multiple countries, including five sold-out evenings at the Albert Hall; a second tour undertaken from ’82 to ’83 met with similar success. A change in his career was becoming evident at this point, however, and while he continued to draw large audiences at his concerts, his status with the record-buying public began to wane. Manilow responded by switching over to the big band genre in 1984, starting with the jazz standard collection 2:00 A.M. Paradise Café, recorded with veteran performers such as Mel Tormé, Sarah Vaughan and Gerry Mulligan. He continued on in this vein into the 1990s with the albums Swing Street (1987), Because It’s Christmas (1990), Showstoppers (1991), Singin’ With the Big Bands (1994) and Manilow Sings Sinatra (1998).

In the 1990s Manilow continued to stage elaborate world tours, the content of which usually combined his interest in jazz and Broadway standards with the popular singles from his ’70s heyday. A musical based on the latter material, Copacabana: The Musical, began to tour around the US and UK in 1994; a second musical, Harmony, followed in 1999, based on the struggle of the German male vocal group The Comedian Harmonists during the Nazi rise to power. Two ventures into film scoring were also made with the children’s films Thumbelina (1994) and The Pebble and the Penguin (1995). The composer ushered in the 00s with a pair of Nashville-staged television specials — one enlisting an extensive roster of country performers interpreting his songs, and the second featuring his own big band augmented by a choir. The critically well-received studio effort Here at the Mayflower surfaced in 2001, and a return to mass consciousness in the worst possible way was accomplished in 2004 through an appearance as a guest judge on the series American Idol.


[1] For a time the Arista label falsely claimed Manilow was born in 1946. Manilow appears as a senior in the 1961 yearbook for Eastern District High School, which would make him an improbable 15-year-old graduate should his birth year actually be 1946. The Tony Danza Show broadcast on 8 October 2004 produced a physical copy of this yearbook in an attempt to trap Manilow into admitting his real age. See also Patricia Butler, Barry Manilow: The Biography (2002), giving both the 1943 and 1961 dates.

Father: Harold Pincus
Mother: Edna Manilow
Father: Willie Murphy (stepfather)
Wife: Susan Deixler (m. 1964, div. 1965)

High School: Eastern District High School, Brooklyn, NY (1961)
University:
Juilliard School of Music

Bette Midler
Barry Manilow
Biden for President
Gephardt for President
Hagelin 2000
Hillary Clinton for President
Natural Law Party of the United States
Obama for America
Ron Paul 2008 Presidential Campaign Committee
Searchlight Leadership Fund
Grammy Best Pop Vocal Performance, Male (for Copacabana (At The Copa)) (1978)
Hollywood Walk of Fame 6233 Hollywood Blvd
Kentucky Colonel
Songwriters Hall of Fame
Tony 1977
Laser Eye Surgery

FILMOGRAPHY AS ACTOR
Unconditional Love (23-Aug-2002) Himself
Copacabana (3-Dec-1985)

Official Website:
http://www.manilow.com/

Sources: Wikipedia, YouTube, NNDB.com

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