Barry Manilow About
Barry Manilow (born Barry Alan Pincus) is an internationally celebrated crooner, producer, arranger, composer and classically trained pianist from Brooklyn, New York, who has earned several gold and platinum certified albums, an Emmy, a Grammy, a Tony and a Clio Award in his 50+ year career. Originally an aspiring Broadway writer, Manilow became known at CBS as the ‘piano-playing mail boy’, later landing a job as musical director of two of the station’s shows. Meanwhile he wrote popular jingles for companies like McDonalds, Pepsi, State Farm, Band-Aid, Stridex and KFC.
After accepting an offer from Bette Midler to play piano for her act at a New York City bath house (as well as performing for the venue’s other acts), Manilow produced her 1972 top-ten Grammy-winning debut album The Divine Miss M and insisted on having his own featured spot as part of her touring act, to which she reluctantly agreed. Manilow’s own first releases came out under the band name Featherbed, which was initially a group of studio musicians assembled by Tony Orlando as a vehicle for Manilow to sing “Could It Be Magic” (a song he’d cowritten) for Bell Records. Bell then released the album Barry Manilow but it found little success.
However, Clive Davis saw potential in Manilow and insisted he cover “Brandy” by Scott English retitled as “Mandy” (to avoid confusion with the Looking Glass song of the same name) for his new label Arista Records. “Mandy” went to #1 in the US & Canada and reached the top 40 in three countries overseas, sending his album Barry Manilow II into the US top 10. His follow-up single “It’s a Miracle” became his second Canadian chart-topper, also reaching #12 in the US. The success of Barry Manilow II prompted a reissue of his debut (relabeled by Arista as Barry Manilow I), which featured a remixed version of “Could It Be Magic” that climbed into the US & Canada top 10.
Manilow’s next seven studio albums over the next seven years were all certified platinum and scored at least one top 30 US hit each, including two more chart-toppers: “I Write The Songs” and “Looks Like We Made It”. 1984’s 2:00 AM Paradise Cafe was also certified platinum, but had no charting singles on the US Hot 100, signaling the end of his peak era. Three more albums were released in the 1980s to lukewarm success, offering a total of two minor US pop hits. Since the 1990s, much of Manilow’s output has been compilations, live albums, film soundtracks, holiday albums and collections of cover songs (including several The Greatest Songs of … albums) that maintain his dedicated audience of fans (called Fanilows).
In 2011, Manilow released 15 Minutes, his first album of orginal material in ten years. In 2015, he returned to his original passion and wrote the musical Harmony with longtime collaborator Bruce Sussman. That same year, he married his long-time manager Garry Keif, with whom he’d secretly had a 40-year relationship with. As of 2019, Manilow continues performing, holding the record for the most years of Las Vegas residency (beating Elvis' record of seven years back in 2012) and is called the top-selling adult contemporary recording artist of all time, with sales of 85 million albums worldwide.