“In a world forever striving for peace, could Barry Manilow be the answer?” - Washington Post after Barry Manilow’s headlining performance at the Nobel Peace Prize Concert in Oslo, Norway.
"Among the few things one can count on in life: the taste of McDonald's cheeseburgers, "I Love Lucy" reruns are still funny—and Barry Manilow never wearing out his welcome at the top of the charts," -Billboard Magazine.
With worldwide sales of more than 80 million records, Barry Manilow’s success is a benchmark in popular music. His concerts sell out instantly. He is ranked as the top Adult Contemporary chart artist of all time, according to R&R (Radio & Records) and Billboard Magazines. Rolling Stone crowned him “a giant among entertainers… the showman of our generation.” Dave Grohl of the Foo Fighters stated that "Barry Manilow is the coolest motherf***er in the world," and Frank Sinatra summed up Manilow best when Ol’ Blue Eyes told the British press, “He’s next.”
Music is Manilow’s passion -- both in the studio and in the classroom. While he has released over 40 albums, Manilow has also raised millions of dollars through his Manilow Music Project. In response to drastic budget cuts in arts programs across the U.S., the Manilow Music Project is keeping the music alive by ensuring that middle school and high school students have instruments in their hands to use in their music classes.
Manilow’s roots are in his native Brooklyn, where music was an integral part of his life. By the age of seven, he was taking accordion lessons and playing on a neighbor’s piano. Choosing a career in music while still in his teens, he attended New York College of Music and the Julliard School of Music while working in the mailroom at CBS. He subsequently became musical director for a CBS show named “Callback” (the predecessor of American Idol) which led to a lucrative sideline on New York’s advertising jingle circuit.
In 1971, Barry Manilow met Bette Midler and became her music director, arranger and pianist. The following year, he signed with Bell Records to record his debut solo album.
In 1974, Clive Davis founded a new label, Arista, along with Columbia Pictures. Davis had the right to choose any artist on the Columbia Pictures-owned Bell Records to bring to Arista. Davis chose Manilow
and the rest is history. He famously brought Manilow a recent U.K. hit rock song entitled “Brandy” (by its writer Scott English). Clive and Barry changed the title to “Mandy” so it wouldn’t be confused with the Looking Glass U.S. hit “Brandy.”
Manilow, using his arranging and producing abilities, changed the rock song into the sweeping ballad that the world knows and when the Arista single reached Number One in early 1975, it ignited one of the most incandescent careers in pop music.
Manilow would describe himself as a musician before he would call himself a singer. From the beginning, his love of music was, and still is in arranging, composing and songwriting. All of which are evident in his latest album – his first original album in 10 years, 15 MINUTES. More than two years in the making, Manilow produced the recording with Michael Lloyd and reunited with lyricist Enoch Anderson for the June 14th, 2011 release. Inspired by the Andy Warhol quote: “In the future, everybody will be world famous for fifteen minutes,” this edgy, guitar-driven pop album is a captivating musical odyssey exploring the perils and pinnacles of fame’s double edged sword. Since its release, 15 MINUTES has seen great success; the album debuted at #7 on the Billboard Top 200 and #1 on the Independent Chart.
On May 12, 2012, Manilow released his highest charting live album since 1974, LIVE IN LONDON. This album features several of his most popular hits, including "Can't Smile Without You," "Mandy," and "Copacabana (At The Copa)." LIVE IN LONDON has seen great success, earning the #1 spot on Billboard’s Top Internet Albums, #5 Indie Albums, and #24 of Billboard's Top 200. LIVE IN LONDON is the highest charting live album since 1977.
Beginning in 2006, Manilow triumphed with his hugely successful series of albums celebrating the great songs of four decades starting with the platinum album, THE GREATEST SONGS OF THE FIFTIES, which entered at #1 on the Billboard 200 album chart.
Next came the platinum THE GREATEST SONGS OF THE SIXTIES released October 31, 2006, entering the chart at #2 and was the all-time highest first sales week debut chart entry of Manilow’s career. With the “FIFTIES” and “SIXTIES” albums, Manilow became the first artist since 1981 to have two albums in the top two positions in one calendar year on the Billboard chart.
The success of the decades series continued with THE GREATEST SONGS OF THE SEVENTIES. Released September 18, 2007, the chart debut of this album made Manilow the only artist to have three Top four debuts on the Billboard 200 chart in two years.
THE GREATEST SONGS OF THE EIGHTIES marked the fourth album of the decades series to enter in the Top 10.
In the winter of 2010, Manilow completed his remarkable decades series with a Grammy® nomination for THE GREATEST LOVE SONGS OF ALL TIME, co-produced by Manilow, Clive Davis, and Michael Lloyd (Somewhere in Time and Dirty Dancing).
Other Manilow album highlights touching on a multitude of music styles include:
The ground-breaking album called 2:00 AM PARADISE CAFÉ. In 1985, Manilow stepped out of his pop comfort zone and crawled way out on a limb to create this original jazz album. Set in an imaginary night club and featuring jazz legends Sarah Vaughan, Mel Tormé and Gerry Mulligan, this album was the pinnacle of Manilow’s originality. Packed with all of Manilow’s original compositions, the platinum 2:00 AM PARADISE CAFÉ received the best reviews of Manilow’s career.
The Techno-Jazz SWING STREET (1987) featured guest appearances by Stan Getz, Phyllis Hyman, Kid Creole, and Diane Schuur.
Later came SHOWSTOPPERS (1991), spanning nearly a century of Broadway show tunes.
1994’s SINGIN’ WITH THE BIG BANDS, Manilow was paired with the orchestras of Les Brown, Duke Ellington, Jimmy Dorsey, Benny Goodman, Harry James, and Glenn Miller on a glorious set of Swing Era standards.
1998’s MANILOW SINGS SINATRA, paired Barry with Grammy-winning producer Phil Ramone, paying homage to the great songs made famous by the legendary Frank Sinatra.
Manilow is ranked as the top Adult Contemporary chart artist of all time, according to R&R (Radio & Records), with 50 Top 40 Hits. The list includes all-time favorites that Manilow still sings today: “Mandy,” “It’s A Miracle,” “Could It Be Magic,” “I Write the Songs,” “Tryin’ To Get the Feeling Again,” “This One’s For You,” “Weekend In New England,” “Looks Like We Made It,” “Can’t Smile Without You,” “Even Now,” and the Grammy Award-winning “Copacabana (At the Copa).” All of these songs (and more) were anthologized on the commemorative 1992 four-CD boxed-set, BARRY MANILOW: THE COMPLETE COLLECTION AND THEN SOME.
To date, twenty-nine albums by Manilow have been certified platinum, while BARRY MANLOW/LIVE (1977), EVEN NOW (1978), and GREATEST HITS (1978) are each certified triple platinum.
Every album produced by Manilow for other artists – including Bette Midler, Nancy Wilson, and Dionne Warwick – has been nominated for Grammy® Awards.
A winner of Grammy®, Emmy®, and Tony® Awards, Manilow’s film credits include the Oscar®-nominated song “Ready To Take A Chance Again” (from 1978’s “Foul Play”), the production of Bette Midler’s “Perfect Isn’t Easy” (from Walt Disney’s “Oliver and Company”), and writing and scoring the soundtracks for the animated features “Thumbelina” and “The Pebble and the Penguin.”
Highlights of Manilow’s theater career range from his Tony® Award-winning Broadway debut in 1977 (in the same year that ABC-TV presented “The Barry Manilow Special” to an audience of 37 million) to an SRO eight-week run on the Great White Way in 1989. Beginning in 1997, Barry Manilow’s “Copacabana – The Musical”, an elaborate two-act spectacular, played to packed houses in London’s West End for 18 months before touring the U.S., Australia and Asia. June 2001 saw the opening of “Could It Be Magic? – The Barry Manilow Songbook.”
The singer has made countless television appearances ranging from Emmy®-winning network specials to cable concerts, and released such best-selling long-form home videos as “Live On Broadway” and “Because It's Christmas.” His two-hour 1996 A&E special, “Barry Manilow: Live by Request” was the highest rated music show in the network's history. Manilow has also appeared on the highly rated TV series “Murphy Brown,” “Ally McBeal,” and “Will & Grace.” In 2006, Manilow received his fifth Emmy® nomination and Emmy® win for the PBS special, “Manilow: Music and Passion.” The broadcast celebrated Manilow’s 100th performance at the Las Vegas Hilton. Produced by STILETTO Television, the Rhino DVD of the PBS special was soon certified triple platinum. “Barry Manilow: Happy Holiday!” is Manilow’s holiday-themed television special from A&E’s “Live By Request.” Originally broadcast from New York City on a snowy December night in 2003, this show is one of the highest-rated A&E “Live By Request” performances ever.
In June 2002, Manilow was inducted into the National Academy of Popular Music’s Songwriters Hall of Fame alongside Ashford & Simpson, Michael Jackson, Randy Newman, and Sting. In 2012 he was inducted into the Great American Songbook Hall of Fame.
Manilow is a member of the Board of Governors of the National Academy of Jazz. His autobiography, Sweet Life: Adventures on the Way to Paradise, was published by McGraw-Hill in 1987. In addition to his own foundation, the Manilow Fund for Health and Hope, other involvements include The Prince's Trust, United Way, the Starlight Foundation, and several leading organizations for AIDS prevention and research. Manilow is the national spokesperson for the Foundation Fighting Blindness and a member of the Music Center of Los Angeles.
In 2008, Manilow created The Manilow Music Project as part of his Manilow Fund for Health and Hope (www.manilowmusicproject.org). Answering the call of need at a time when arts and music programs in most schools is the first casualty in budget cuts, The Manilow Music Project was launched by providing $500,000 worth of musical instruments, as well as sheet music and music stands to 21 local schools in the Coachella Valley in California. Manilow performed his first ever Hollywood Bowl concert on October 24th, 2009–where, in association with the Manilow Music Project and the Grammy® Foundation, Manilow raised a donation of $100,000 in musical instruments for the Los Angeles United School District. He also organized an instrument drive and donation for the Las Vegas/Clark County School District to the tune of half a million dollars.
As CNN reported in 2011, “Barry Manilow not only writes the songs, he makes sure kids can too,” referring to Manilow’s cavalcade charge to assist the tornado-ravaged town of Joplin, Missouri. Manilow personally delivered $300,000 in musical instruments to the town’s only high school upon learning that the school music instruments had been blown away by the storm.
The Manilow Music Project continues to be a driving force in instrument drives and donations across the country. Manilow aggressively continues to collect instruments for school children across America by leading donation campaigns in every concert city he visits by giving a Yamaha piano to each local school district. As Manilow says, “Anyone can make a difference. Just call your local schools and ask them what they need. Get ‘em a new set of drums! Music changes a young person’s life.”
This past October, Legacy Recordings released THE CLASSIC CHRISTMAS ALBUM a compilation of the three successful Christmas albums Manilow made over the past 15 years. The album’s single,
“Santa Claus Is Coming To Town,” became Barry’s 50th Top 40 hit.
Manilow recently completed his critically acclaimed run on New York’s Great White Way. MANILOW ON BROADWAY was met with overwhelming critical praise and audience appreciation from the consistently sold-out crowds. The New York Times raved, “Manilow’s magic is back on Broadway! The theater erupts with joy.” The New York Daily News awarded the show “4 STARS!” saying, “Barry Manilow shines in his triumphant return to his hometown.” Entertainment Weekly called the show, “Joyous!” and said, “You can’t help but dance in the aisles!” In 2013, Manilow will be taking MANILOW ON BROADWAY to venues across the country.
After spending an unprecedented 10 years at the top of the pop music charts, this multi-talented producer, arranger, musician, composer, singer and performer has succeeded with albums focused on 50’s Jazz, Techno-Jazz, Big Band Swing, Show Tunes, Sinatra Swing, songs from the Great American Songbook, Christmas music and his latest - a rock ‘n roll album.
Makes one’s head spin. No wonder Rolling Stone dubbed him “The Showman of Our Generation”.