You Say It's Your Birthday: Barry Manilow

Also the birthday of former Dead Kennedy and current LARD member Jello Biafra.

Today is the birthday of, er, romantic singer Barry Manilow (given name: Barry

Alan Pinkus), who was born in 1946 in Brooklyn, N.Y. Famous for his schlocky love

songs, Manilow has scored several all-time hits, including "Copacabana," "I Write

the Songs" and "Mandy." Manilow began his musical career at age 7 -- his first

instrument was the accordion. He attended New York's Julliard music school and

earned money in the CBS mailroom, where he met up with a director who encouraged

Manilow's musical leanings. His first success was an off-Broadway musical, The

Drunkard, which led to a gig as musical director of the CBS show Callback.

Manilow met up with Bette Midler and began producing, arranging music and playing

piano for her; together they went on to win Grammies in 1972 and 1973 for

Midler's albums. Manilow was also recording his own work, and charted with a

cover of "Mandy" in 1975. Other singles and smash records followed, leading up to

the multi-million-selling Barry Manilow Live. He won an Emmy for one of his TV

specials and a Tony award for a Broadway concert, and in 1980 produced Dionne

Warwick's comeback album. Although Manilow's music is counted among some of the

most-loathed muzak in history, he continues to make millions of fans happy. The

smooth-voiced crooner has persisted in making popular records, and his most

recent album is 1994's Singing with the Big Bands. Other birthdays: the late Dean

Martin, Kevin Thornton (Color Me Badd), Eddie "King" Roeser (Urge Overkill) and

Jello Biafra (formerly Dead Kennedys).