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This was written by Bruce Johnston, who is a member of The Beach Boys. The song is sometimes erroneously rumored to be about Brian Wilson. Johnston cleared this up when he told us: "The Captain & Tennille were the first artists to record my song 'I Write The Songs.' I never wrote 'I Write The Songs' about Brian Wilson. I wrote it about 'where music comes from' (for me, music comes only from God). My song has nothing to do with Brian! I admire Brian Wilson's great melodies and, as a member of the Beach Boys, I'm singing these fantastic songs in concert year after year."
Teen heartthrob David Cassidy released a successful version that was a single in England and hit #11 on the UK charts. Clive Davis, who was in charge of Manilow's record label, heard Cassidy's version and had Manilow record it.
This won a Grammy for Song Of The Year. The Beach Boys never won a Grammy - after winning this, Johnston became the only member of the group to get one until Brian Wilson's "Mrs. O'Leary's Cow" was awarded Best Rock Instrumental Performance in 2005. (thanks, Martin - Ludvika, Sweden)
From the liner notes of The Complete Collection And Then Some...: Manilow was originally reluctant to record this song, saying to Arista Records chief Clive Davis, "This 'I Write The Songs' thing Clive, I really don't want to do it." Manilow says his worry "was that the listeners would think I was singing about how "I" write the songs, when it was really about the inspiration of music. Clive understood, but didn't think it would be a problem. "Besides," he told me, "You DO write songs!" Manilow says he was concerned about coming off as a gigantic egomaniac, but that he liked the song so much he decided to record it. He adds, "Whenever I heard the song in public, I felt the need to run to everyone who was listening and say, 'You know, I'm really not singing about myself!'" (thanks, Judy - Melbourne, Australia)
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