Rock has The Beatles, jazz has Miles Davis, rap has Tupac, and adult contemporary has Barry Manilow.
man who became an icon for molding Mandy, Copacabana (At the Copa)
and Cant Smile Without You into chunks of pop-culture history is a
natural showman with a gleaming voice, penchant for flashy stage attire
and a certain mom-friendliness.
But hes also found himself as the punch line to many a joke, most notably in the John Hughes film The Breakfast Club Does Barry Manilow know that you raid his wardrobe? Judd
Nelsons character asked his superior and as recently as 2006, when
Australian officials played his music over a speaker system to enforce
curfews and deter crime late at night.
It didnt work. The kids liked it, Manilow said. I won that one.
hasnt rested on his laurels like one might expect someone of his
particularly shiny stature to; hes still touring as much as ever. Hes
also had new material come out almost annually over the years, and last
summer, released his first studio album in a decade. Titled 15 Minutes, the concept record skittered close to being a rock opera, centered on the pitfalls of fame.
album what a big challenge, he said. I made up a character a
young guy, I thought who wants fame, gets it, then blows it. The guy I
imagined played guitar, and I dont play guitar. Writing an album that
was guitar-driven, not piano-driven, that was a big obstacle for me.
Even at his age he turns 69 in less than two weeks he discovered personal revelations in the process.
was writing it for someone fictitious, but when I started doing the
vocals, I realized I had gone through all of it, Manilow said. It was a
real trip to realize I had gone down this road, too.
man who sang I Write the Songs in 1975 found that writing songs with a
concept in mind was not only freeing, but also an easier way but also
an easier way to be creative.
hard to write a love song. If you give me a story and a situation and a
character, thats fun. That I can do, he said. Thats easier than
sitting at the piano with the intention of writing a hit song. I dont
know how to do that.
Manilows most recent disc, Live in London, hit
shelves in April. Its his fifth live album, but one he promises that
not only is unlike his, but any other musicians, for that matter.
This is as good a live album that Ive ever made or ever heard from any one in
all my years, he said. The difference was the Royal Philharmonic
Orchestra. There were 75 great musicians behind me on this, and 20,000
people in front of me. When you turn this album on, the size of it is
bigger than anything Ive ever heard, and somehow, we captured that on
While he no longer tops the Billboard charts like he used to, the world-famous singer appreciates his fans more now than ever,
and fully intends on reciprocating the decades of love come Saturday,
when he headlines Chesapeake Energy Arena.
shows are more than a pop singer performing, its a very intimate and
moving thing to me. I wouldnt be doing it if they hadnt been
supportive, and theyve been with me all this time, Manilow said. Now,
its not only them, but their children, and sometimes, their childrens
children. Its like walking out to a sea of family at this point: They
arent strangers anymore.
6 songs we cant wait for Barry Manilow to cover
1. Ni**as in Paris, Jay-Z and Kanye West
2. Sexy and I Know It, LMFAO
3. Drunk Girls, LCD Soundsystem
4. 6 Foot 7 Foot, Lil Wayne
5. Rolling in the Deep, Adele
6. Tik Tok, Ke$ha
12 Barry Manilow singles that like fortune cookies are hilarious when you add in bed
1. Some Good Things Never Last
2. Lay Me Down
3. Why Dont We Try a Slow Dance
4. Never Met a Man I Didnt Like
5. This Ones for You
6. Big Fun
7. Ive Never Been So Low on Love
8. Tryin to Get the Feeling Again
9. Ready to Take a Chance Again
10. Lets Hang On!
11. I Wanna Do It with You
12. Read Em and Weep