Not many music lovers realize how big of an influence Barry Manilow has been on the American music industry. Manilow is a performer, singer/songwriter, producer and philanthropist, making him a one in a million gem. Born in June 1943, Barry Alan Pincus was raised in Brooklyn, New York. After graduating high school in 1961, he attended two New York colleges while working at CBS, which helped him get his foot in the door as well as paying for his expenses. He later studied at Juilliard performing arts school for a brief time. In 1964, Bro Herrod (one of CBS’s producers) approached Barry Manilow to write him the opening theme song for the television show The Drunkard. Young ambition took over: not only did Manilow write the theme song, but he decided to write the entire score for the series. Harrod was so impressed with it that he used it in the Off-Broadway production. This play ended up running for 8 years, during which time, Barry Manilow branched earning money as a pianist, producer, and arranger. It was also during this time when Manilow started to write some of his most now familiar jingles for companies such as State Farm, Band-Aid, McDonalds, and Pepsi. In 1976, he won two Clio Awards for his Band-Aid and Tab Cola.
As Barry Manilow’s star started to ascend, Bette Midler started to take notice. In 1971, she enlisted Manilow’s help with the production of The Divine Miss M (this included both the album and the tour) and later Bette Midler (1973). After Clive Davis took over his label (Bell Records), Manilow’s popularity began to skyrocket. In 1974, Barry Manilow released his second album Barry Manilow II, which included “Mandy”, his breakthrough hit which started a chain of singles that started in the mid-70s and ended in the early 80s. During a visit to the Dick Clark hosted American Bandstand to promote the album Tryin' to Get the Feeling, Manilow inadvertently created, “Bandstand Boogie”, which later became the opening theme and bumper music for the show. At this time, Barry Manilow also explored other television venues that included several concert shows, which were nominated several times for Emmy Awards, only winning one award for “Outstanding Achievement in Choreography". In the 1980s, Manilow continued to branch out, switching musical genres from pop music to jazz and adult contemporary, starring in a TV movie inspired by Manilow’s late 1970s hit, Copacabana, which tells the tale of a star crossed couple. This musical would later be adapted for theatrical release. Manilow took a hiatus from producing self-written work after Barry Manilow was released in 1989 containing the hits "Please Don't Be Scared", "Keep Each Other Warm", and "The One That Got Away. Manilow then started to perform and produce cover albums (including Christmas album Because Its Christmas (1989), Summer of ’78 (1996), and The Greatest Songs of the Fifties (2006)) as well as collections of his music (including the award winning Ultimate Manilow (2002) and Scores: Songs from "Copacabana" and "Harmony" (2004). His next release, independently released rock opera 15 Minutes was influenced by Brittany Spears’s out of control activities and highly publicized activities in 2007.
Barry Manilow One Last Time! and Manilow Paris Las Vegas Tours
After over 40 years in the public eye, Barry Manilow has decided to attempt to retire. He is currently performing two different tours (which really doesn’t sound like retiring). The first is his One Last Time! Tour. This tour is an international tour, with its second domestic leg starting in November with some stops in Wichita, St. Louis, Houston, and Corpus Christi. The second tour is the Paris Las Vegas Tour, taking place in December at the Paris Las Vegas Casino. Don’t let Barry Manilow’s age fool you: this 72 year old can produce a high energy and entertaining night for any music fan. Featuring many of his hits, this concert is a definite need to see for adult contemporary, jazz, and pop fan.