(Barry Alan Pincus)
Birthplace: New York City
Often maligned by critics, Barry Manilow was one of the best-selling balladeers of the 1970s. Although he began his career by writing advertising jingles in the late 1960s, by the early 1970s he was accompanying Bette Midler as she performed in New York's gay bathhouses and his work as the producer on her first two albums earned him his own recording contract. A string of hits followed, beginning with ?Mandy?and including ?Can't Smile Without You?, ?I Write the Songs?, ?Looks Like We Made It?, and ?Copacabana (At the Copa)?, which earned him a Grammy Award in 1979 for best male pop performance. His pop career waned during the 1980s when he admittedly lost interest in it and began experimenting with jazz and standards. The widow of Johnny Mercer asked him to set many of Mercer's unpublished lyrics to music, which became the album Showstoppers. His latest releases include Singin' With the Big Bands (1994), and Sings Sinatra (1998).