Tuesday, October 19, 2010


BARRY MANILOW was never one of my favorite vocalists. I appreciate that he is an accomplished musician with a vast number of compositions to his credit, as well as having performed on Broadway, in numerous clubs, shows and cutting hundreds of recordings both as soloist and collaborator. You can't get much better than that in the show biz world. My daughter had a friend who was crazy about him, and I wondered why. He certainly was not good looking, and didn't seem to have a great personality. But, in recent years I became acquainted with a professional musician who said she had the opportunity to be in his company in a club in New York, and he was absolutely charming and funny and generous. He sent her a copy of his original score for Copa which she translated to simplified (not E-Z Play) music and shared with others with his blessing.

Manilow was born in New York,(either in 1943 or 1946) raised in northern Brooklyn. His mother was Jewish, his father had a Jewish father and Irish mother. Following high school he enrolled at Julliard performing arts school. He paid for his education by working at CBS where he had an opportunity to write a musical score for a melodrama, an off Broadway production of The Drunkard.

You will perhaps be familiar with Barry's jingles written in his early career:
"Like a good neighbor, State Farm is There" "...'cause Bandaids stick on me." Other commercials were for Kentucky Fried Chicken, Pepsi, Dr. Pepper, and Tab. And the famed McDonald's ad: "You deserve a break today."

Barry Manilow wrote or collaborated on over 400 songs,but some of his most recognized were not his originals. If you want lists of songs they are available at Barry Manilow-BarryNet - His Music - Who Writes The Songs.
He did write a piece called "I Really Do Write The Songs".

I associate "Copa Cabana" with Manilow. He did not write that song, but no doubt made it famous. In recent months I have heard him sing some of the "old songs" which seem to fit him very well. At the end of the day, I am enjoying Barry Manilow's talent, as well as respecting it. Proving that even at this advanced age I can realign my preferences. His medley of "Could It Be Magic", "I Write The Songs", "Mandy" and Copacabana" is fun. It has changing tempos and moods and lots of interesting upper and lower manual changes.

I would encourage you to listen to some of his music (you can do that by Googling him and getting a site that plays the songs) and then going to your instrument, be it a keyboard, piano, or organ, and emulate his mood, because he really does a good job interpreting songs.

What was Barry Manilow's first No. 1 hit? Mandy.

Keep a song in your heart and keep the music playing. Janice

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