|Barry Manilow |
An American Singer,Songwriter,Pianist, and producer. He is best known for such recordings as "Could It Be Magic", "Mandy", "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, Bruce Springsteen 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. Between 1974 and 1983 Manilow had three number 1 singles and 25 that reached the top 40.
Several well-known entertainers have praised Manilow, including Sinatra, who was quoted in the 1970s saying, "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."
As well as producing and arranging albums for other artists, including Bette Midler and Dionne Warwick, Manilow has written songs for musicals, films, and commercials. From February 2005 to December 30, 2009, he was the headliner at the Las Vegas Hilton, performing hundreds of shows before ending his relationship with the hotel. From March 2010, he has headlined at the Paris Hotel in Las Vegas. He has sold more than 80 million records worldwide.
Manilow was born Barry Alan Pincus in Brooklyn, New York, the son of 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. Barry's name was changed to Barry Manilow at the time of his Bar Mitzvah, adopting his mother's maiden name.
Reared in the community of Williamsburg in northern Brooklyn, Barry attended nearby Eastern District High School, from which he graduated in 1961. In the same year, he enrolled in the Juilliard performing arts 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 songs for a musical adaptation of the melodrama, The Drunkard. Instead, Manilow wrote an entire original score.
Herrod used his composition in the Off Broadway musical, which enjoyed an eight-year run at New York's 13th Street Theatre. Manilow then earned money by working as a pianist, producer, and arranger.
During this time he began to work as a commercial jingle writer, an activity that continued well into the 1970s. Many of those he wrote and/or composed he would also perform, including State Farm Insurance ("Like a good neighbor, State Farm is there..."), and Band-Aid ("I am stuck on Band-Aid, 'cause Band-Aid's stuck on me!"), for which he adopted a surprisingly convincing childlike voice. His singing-only credits include Kentucky Fried Chicken, Pepsi, Dr Pepper, and the famed McDonald's "You Deserve a Break Today" campaign.
Manilow won two Clio Awards in 1976 for his work for Tab and Band-Aid. These jingles were a mainstay of his concerts for years as his "V.S.M.", or "Very Strange Medley".
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.(19681969)
Manilow's well-known association with Bette Midler began at the Continental Baths in New York City.
He accompanied her and other artists on the piano from 1970 to 1971, and Midler chose him to assist with the production of her first two albums, The Divine Miss M (1972) and Bette Midler (1973), and act as her musical director on The Divine Miss M tour.
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, written by Michael Grigson.
Among other songs on the album were "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 first 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.)
When Manilow's record company, Bell Records, merged with other labels, new entity Arista Records formed. Under the auspices of its head Clive Davis, many artists were dropped. Davis was reassured by the Manilow acquisition after seeing him perform as the opening act at a Dionne Warwick concert.
The partnership began to gain traction in 1974, with the release of Manilow's second album, Barry Manilow II, originally titled Sweetwater Jones on Bell Records and given its eventual title when reissued on Arista, which contained the breakthrough number-one hit, "Mandy".
Manilow had not wanted to record "Mandy", which had originally been titled "Brandy" and was co-written and originally recorded by Scott English, but the song was included at the insistence of 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, what he called "A V.S.M.", or "A Very Strange Medley".
As previously stated, this was a sampling of some of the commercial jingles that he had written, composed, and/or sung. Beginning with Manilow's March 22, 1975, appearance on American Bandstand to promote the second album, a productive friendship with Dick Clark started. 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.
"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 songwriter in his own right, several of Manilow's commercial successes were with songs by others. Among hits he did not write or compose are "Mandy", "Tryin to Get the Feeling Again" (by David Pomerantz), "Weekend in New England" (by Randy Edelman), "Ships" (by Ian Hunter), "Looks Like We Made It" (by Richard Kerr and Will Jennings), "Can't Smile Without You" and "Ready to Take a Chance Again".
Ironically, another one of his hits that Manilow did not write or compose himself was his number 1 "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's breakthrough in Britain came with the release of "Even Now", the first of many top 20 albums on that side of the Atlantic. This was quickly followed by Manilow Magic The Best Of Barry Manilow, also known as Greatest Hits. On its initial release it was marketed with a large television campaign by the mail order label "Teledisc". 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". The Second Barry Manilow Special in 1978, with Ray Charles as his guest, was also nominated for four Emmys.
Manilow's "Ready To Take a Chance Again" originated in the film Foul Play, which also featured "Copacabana", from his fourth studio album "Even Now". "Ready To Take A Chance Again" was nominated that year for the "Best Original Song" Oscar.
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 aired on HBO 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.
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".
Also in 1979, Manilow produced Dionne Warwick's "comeback" album Dionne, her first to go platinum. He scored a top ten hit of his own in the fall of 1979 with the song "Ships" (written and composed by Ian Hunter, former lead singer of Mott the Hoople) from the album "One Voice".
The 1980s gave Manilow the adult contemporary chart-topping songs "The Old Songs", "Somewhere Down the Road", "Read 'Em and Weep" (a Meat Loaf cover, written by 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. In the United States, at Radio City Music Hall (1984) his 10-night run set a box-office sales record of nearly $2 million, making him the top draw in the then 52-year history of the venue. In 1980, Manilow's One Voice special, with Dionne Warwick as his guest, was nominated for an Emmy for "Outstanding Achievement in Music Direction.
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". 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 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.
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. On the Christmas album, Manilow was joined by pop girl trio Expose and together they recreated, note for note, a 1943 million-selling recording of "Jingle Bells" by Bing Crosby and The Andrews Sisters.
Manilow has credited Patty, Maxene, and LaVerne Andrews as inspiring him, perhaps most evident in his recording of "Jump, Shout Boogie". 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 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; Manilow also performed. This "special" was TNN's first High Definition (HD) broadcast and became one of TNN's highest rated concert specials.
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.
In February 2002, Manilow returned to 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".
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. Manilow also appeared on Clay 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. In March 2006, Manilow's engagement was extended through 2008.
On January 26, 2010, Manilow released his new album The Greatest Love Songs of all Time. In December 2010, the album was nominated for a Grammy award in the category Best Traditional Pop Album. On December 11, 2010, Manilow performed at the Nobel Peace Prize Concert in Oslo, Norway. Manilow completed work on his new album, 15 Minutes, in March 2011, with his official Facebook page announcing that he had completed putting "finishing touches" to the album on March 16, 2011.
On March 13, 2011, Manilow appeared at the Olivier Awards 2011 at London's Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, singing "Copacabana" with the BBC Concert Orchestra and also singing with hit West End star, Kerry Ellis.
On October 25, 1978, one hour before his scheduled debut at the Olympia Theatre he fractured his ankle. Manilow was rushed to a doctor who taped the injury minutes before he stepped onstage. Manilow insisted on going on and doing his complete show, which included an intricate disco dance in the popular "Copacabana" production number.
On February 4, 1982, Manilow, who was bedridden in a Paris hotel with bronchial pneumonia, had been ordered by doctors to cancel a nine-concert European tour; he had fallen ill earlier that week following completion of the month-long United Kingdom leg of the tour.
He was ordered to remain in bed for at least a week and would probably return to his Los Angeles home when he was able to travel, said publicist Heidi Ellen Robinson.
On October 27, 2011, Manilow visited Joplin, Missouri, six months after a tornado destroyed one-third of that city, including its only high school. His "Manilow Music Project" made a contribution of $300,000 to restore the musical program and instruments that were lost.
1977 Emmy for Outstanding Special Comedy, Variety or Music The Barry Manilow Special
1977 Special Tony Award Barry Manilow on Broadway
1978 American Music Awards Best Pop/Rock Male Artist
1979 Grammy Copacabana Best Pop Male Vocal Performance
1979 American Music Awards Best Pop/Rock Male Artist
1980 American Music Awards Best Pop/Rock Male Artist
2002 Songwriter's Hall of Fame
2006 Emmy for Outstanding Individual Performance in a Variety or Music Program Barry Manilow: Music And Passion
2007 RIAA Plaque commemorating worldwide record sales of 75 million
2009 Clio Awards Honorary award for prior work with commercial jingles
? Kentucky Colonel
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