Barry Manilow

Singer / Composer

Born: 17 June 1943
Birthplace: Brooklyn, New York
Best known as:

Singer of the 1974 hit tune "Mandy"

Name at birth: Barry Alan Pincus

One of the biggest stars of adult contemporary pop in the 1970s, singer and piano player Barry Manilow racked up than two dozen hits between 1974 and 1983. Barry Manilow attended the Julliard School of Music and then began working as a pianist (and later music director) for singer Bette Midler. Manilow's first hit single, "Mandy," was #1 on the charts in 1974; it was the first of a string of two dozen hit singles, including "Weekend In New England," "Copacabana," "I Write the Songs" and "Can't Smile Without You." Critics claimed Manilow was excessively sentimental or even schmaltzy -- the very same traits his fans loved. He continued to tour and record throughout the 1980s and 1990s, though without the vast success of his first decade as a solo artist. His career took an upturn in 2002 after the release of a greatest hits compilation, and in 2005 Barry Manilow began a long-running stage show, "Music and Passion," at the Las Vegas Hilton (later the Las Vegas Hotel). He won a 2006 Emmy for a primetime TV special, Barry Manilow: Music and Passion, and released an album of re-worked standards, The Greatest Songs of the Fifties. The record was his biggest hit in nearly two decades, and he followed up in late 2006 with The Greatest Songs of the Sixties.

Extra credit:

Barry Manilow wrote the well-known "State Farm is there" jingle for State Farm insurance... Barry Manilow has claimed a birth year of 1946, but most sources indicate he was born in 1943. Barry Manilow: The Biography, the 2001 book by Patricia Butler, includes this passage: "On June 17, 1943, Edna gave birth to a son she named Barry Alan Pincus."

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