Barry Manilow

June 17, 1946

Barry Manilow Artistfacts

  • His real name is Barry Alan Pincus; his mother's maiden name is Manilow. He broke into the business in 1971 when he met Bette Midler, who hired him as her pianist, arranger, and musical director.
  • He attended Julliard School of Music, which he paid for by working in the CBS mail room. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Todd - Atlanta, GA, for above 2
  • Barry Manilow's song "Copacabana (At The Copa)" is the only song that has earned him a Grammy Award. Manilow won the award for Best Pop Male Vocalist in 1979. The song is about a showgirl named Lola whose boyfriend Tony works as a bartender at the club she works at. One night, Tony is murdered by a jealous Mafia boss named Rico who wants to take him out of the picture so that he can be with Lola. The song was written from Lola's perspective, thirty years after Tony's murder. Lola has grown old and is now alone, pining for her lost love again.
  • Over the years, several legendary artists have told Barry Manilow that they admired his talent. In 1970, Frank Sinatra met Barry Manilow and told him that "he's next," meaning that he knew Manilow would be the next pop superstar. In 1988, Bob Dylan stopped Manilow at a party and said: "Don't stop doing what you're doing, man. We're all inspired by you."
  • In the late '60s and early '70s, Barry Manilow got his start in the music industry by working as a commercial jingle writer. Many fans probably don't realize that several of his slogans are still used today, including his lines for State Farm ("Like a good neighbor, State Farm is there") and Band-Aid ("I am stuck on Band-Aid brand 'cause Band-Aid's stuck on me!") Manilow also penned tunes for KFC, Pepsi, Dr. Pepper, and McDonald's.
  • For years, Barry Manilow was a mainstay act in Las Vegas. In 2004, he signed a two-year deal with the Las Vegas Hilton to be the resident performer. The deal was extended for another two years in 2006. After doing some one-off shows in New York City, Cleveland, and Detroit from 2007 to 2008, Manilow announced that his final show at the Hilton in Vegas would take place on December 30th, 2009. However, in March 2010, the singer signed a new deal to be the resident guest at the Paris Hotel & Casino. In December 2011, Manilow finally ended his Vegas run after 7 years performing almost exclusively in Sin City.
  • In 1978, Manilow was almost forced to cancel his debut at the Olympia Theatre in Paris due to a fractured ankle. The singer was rushed to hospital where doctors frantically taped his ankle and assessed his health. Against the doctor's suggestions, Manilow insisted on taking the stage that night. He got back to the venue minutes before the start of the show and even performed the complicated disco dance number for his hit song "Copacabana (At the Copa)" that was originally planned.
  • In the late '80s Barry Manilow used to live next to Ronald and Nancy Reagan in the Bel-Air region of California. Manilow told Us magazine that Secret Service was always around, with helicopters periodically flying over to keep the former US President protected. Manilow also joked that his new neighbors "cramped his style of sunbathing in the nude."
  • In 2006, Australian officials announced that they were using Barry Manilow's music to keep unruly hooligans off the streets. On Friday, Saturday, and Sunday nights, officials would blast Manilow's tunes from 9pm to midnight to deter youth gangs from congregating in residential areas. In response, Manilow released a humorous statement arguing that the tactic wouldn't work because the youths might actually like his music.
  • Barry Manilow was sued by an Arizona judge in 1993. The judge, who had recently attended a Manilow concert in Tucson, complained that the volume level of the show was far too loud and that he had contracted tinnitus by attending. Manilow's production company, a concert promoter, and the city of Tucson were also named in the suit, which was eventually settled out of court.
  • Manilow lets his fans decorate his dressing room, as his concert rider reveals. At the same time he doesn't want to be disturbed with requests for autographs or photos from backstage personnel.
  • Barry Manilow began a relationship with TV executive Garry Kief in 1978. Kief soon became his manager, and the two married in 2014, after same-sex marriage became legal in California. They kept the relationship secret, until Manilow's good friend Suzanne Somers confirmed the star was gay and married during a 2015 episode of Watch What Happens Live. Speaking with People in 2017, Manilow admitted that he spent decades in the closet out of concern that it would disappoint his largely female fan base. Many of his fans are adoring women, he explained, and he didn't want them to feel abandoned.

Comments: 1

  • Mike from Germantown, MdI read somewhere that he sued a Los Angeles radio station because in one of the station's commercials, they named a list of songs they would'nt play and they were all Manilow songs.
see more comments

Editor's Picks

Roger McGuinn of The Byrds

Roger McGuinn of The ByrdsSongwriter Interviews

Roger reveals the songwriting formula Clive Davis told him, and if "Eight Miles High" is really about drugs.

John Lee Hooker

John Lee HookerSongwriter Interviews

Into the vaults for Bruce Pollock's 1984 conversation with the esteemed bluesman. Hooker talks about transforming a Tony Bennett classic and why you don't have to be sad and lonely to write the blues.

Sub Pop Founder Bruce Pavitt On How To Create A Music Scene

Sub Pop Founder Bruce Pavitt On How To Create A Music SceneSong Writing

With $50 and a glue stick, Bruce Pavitt created Sub Pop, a fanzine-turned-label that gave the world Nirvana and grunge. He explains how motivated individuals can shift culture.

Jonathan Edwards - "Sunshine"

Jonathan Edwards - "Sunshine"They're Playing My Song

"How much does it cost? I'll buy it?" Another songwriter told Jonathan to change these lyrics. Good thing he ignored this advice.

Album Cover Inspirations

Album Cover InspirationsSong Writing

Some album art was at least "inspired" by others. A look at some very similar covers.

George Harrison

George HarrisonFact or Fiction

Did Eric Clapton really steal George's wife? What's the George Harrison-Monty Python connection? Set the record straight with our Fact or Fiction quiz.