The Ultimate Barry Manilow Song List
The Ultimate Barry Manilow Song List
“Get ready, Las Vegas! Here I come!” – Barry Manilow
Who could possibly imagine the Grateful Dead without its “Deadheads,” KISS without the “KISS Army,” Jimmy Buffett without his “Parrotheads,” Neil Diamond without his legion of “Diamond Heads” or even the Insane Clown Posse without its “Juggalos”? However, few fan bases consistently inspire the passion and loyalty of pop superstar Barry Manilow’s “Fanilows,” who are all set to descend upon Las Vegas as the acclaimed recording artist returns to the historic International Theater at Westgate Las Vegas Resort & Casino for his upcoming “Greatest Hits” Concert Series, “Barry Manilow Las Vegas – The Hits Come Home!” The Fanilows all know Barry Manilow’s greatest hits by heart and are looking forward to attending this once-in-a-lifetime musical extravaganza presented by Westgate Resorts!
One of the top pop recording artists of all time, Manilow (born Barry Alan Pincus on June 17, 1943) has come a long way since growing up in Brooklyn, New York, attending the acclaimed Juilliard School of Music and starting out as a pianist for the “Divine Miss M” herself, Better Midler. With fifty Top 40 singles and more than 85 million albums sold worldwide, Barry is ranked as the No. 1 Adult Contemporary Artist of All Time, according to Billboard magazine. In 2002, Manilow was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame alongside Michael Jackson, Sting, Randy Newman, and Ashford & Simpson. Over the years, Barry has been enthusiastically praised by fellow entertainers ranging from Frank Sinatra to Bob Dylan, who once told the performer, “Don’t stop what you’re doing, man. We’re all inspired by you.”
As the Barry Manilow tour prepares to swing into Las Vegas for his extended residency as exclusive headliner at Westgate Las Vegas Resort & Casino, what better time than to showcase the ultimate Barry Manilow song list, an impressive selection of Barry’s greatest hits:
Originally known as “Brandy,” Barry Manilow’s first No. 1 hit was written and composed by Scott English and Richard Kerr. Legendary record producer Clive Davis reportedly convinced Barry to record the song. The title of the intense ballad was changed to “Mandy” for Manilow’s version to avoid any confusion with the 1972 hit song “Brandy (You’re a Fine Girl)” by American pop band Looking Glass. English, whose 1971 version of “Brandy” peaked at No. 12 on the UK Charts, later had to publicly deny the urban legend that he wrote the song about a favorite dog. “Mandy” first appeared on Barry’s second studio album, Barry Manilow II, in 1974. In January 1975, “Mandy” claimed the No. 1 spot on the Billboard Charts (knocking down Elton John’s Beatles’ cover version of “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” in the process). “Mandy” has been recorded by many other artists over the years, most notably Bunny Walters (as “Brandy”), Andy Williams, Johnny Mathis, Patty Pravo, Kai Hyttinen, Claude Francois, Jimmy Castor, Karel Gott, Richard Clayderman, Box Car Racers, Helmut Lotti, Bradley Joseph, Clay Aiken, Donny Osmond, Jang Keun-suk, The Bad Plus, Westlife and, last but not least, a punk rock version by Me First and the Gimme Gimmes. In addition, “Mandy” was parodied by both The Simpsons (season 5, episode 9: “The Last Temptation of Homer”) and Family Guy (season six, episode five: “Back to the Woods”). Kerr later teamed up with songwriter Will Jennings to pen two additional Manilow hits: “Looks Like We Made It” (1977) and “Somewhere in the Night” (1978). As a side note, Looking Glass only had one other charting hit, “Jimmy Loves Mary-Anne,” in 1973.
“Could It Be Magic” (1975)
In the early 1970s, Barry Manilow first recorded “Could It Be Magic” and several other tracks with a studio band consisting of session musicians dubbed Featherbed (Barry was a commercial jingle writer at the time). The song was produced by Tony Orlando and co-written by Adrienne Anderson with music by Manilow (based upon Frédéric Chopin's Prelude in C Minor, Opus 28, Number 20). Barry’s rereleased solo version of “Could It Be Magic,” which appeared on his 1973 self-titled debut album, reached No. 6 on the Billboard Charts. Incidentally, the reference to “sweet Melissa” in the lyrics reportedly refers to Manilow’s friend, singer-songwriter Melissa Manchester (“Midnight Blue”). In 1976, Donna Summer recorded a disco version of “Could It Be Magic” that reached No. 3 on the U.S. Dance Chart. In addition, English pop group Take That also recorded a version of the song that peaked at No. 3 on the UK Charts in 1992. Anderson also co-wrote “Déjà Vu” for Dionne Warwick and “I Go to Rio” for Peter Allen. As a side note, during his commercial jingle writing days, Manilow reportedly came up with memorable ditties to accompany famous ads such as “Like a good neighbor” for State Farm and “Stuck on Band-Aid,” as well as contributing to McDonalds’ “You deserve a break today” campaign.
“I Write the Songs” (1975)
Believe it or not, Barry Manilow did not actually write “I Write the Songs” – it was penned by none other than Bruce Johnston of the Beach Boys (he later had to publicly declare that the song was not about Brian Wilson)! “I Write the Songs” was actually first recorded by David Cassidy, peaked at No. 11 on the UK Charts and appeared on his 1975 album, The Higher They Climb. In addition, the song was recorded by Captain and Tennille on their 1975 debut album, Love Will Keep Us Together. “I Write the Songs” appears on Manilow’s third studio album, Tryin’ to Get the Feeling in 1975. Barry was reportedly reluctant to record the song, feeling that it might be “misinterpreted as a monumental ego trip.” However, Manilow’s version of “I Write the Songs” reached No. 1 on the Billboard Charts (knocking C. W. McCall’s “Convoy” out of the top spot in January 1976) and truly became one of Barry’s signature songs over the years. At the 1977 Grammy Awards, “I Write the Songs” won Song of the Year – beating out the likes of “Afternoon Delight” (Starland Vocal Band), “Breaking Up is Hard to Do” (Neil Sedaka), “This Masquerade” by George Benson and “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald” by Gordon Lightfoot. It was also nominated for a Record of the Year Grammy but lost out to “This Masquerade” by George Benson. In 1997, Manilow appeared on The Rosie O’Donnell Show and performed a parody duet with the host called “I Write the Songs/I Wreck the Songs.”
“It’s a Miracle” (1975)
No Barry Manilow song list would be complete without the inclusion of the uplifting “It’s a Miracle.” Written by Barry and Marty Panzer, “It’s a Miracle” depicts the singer returning home to a loved one after enduring the rigors of touring across the United States. It reached No. 12 on the Billboard Charts and first appeared on Manilow’s second album, Barry Manilow II, in 1974. In addition, “It’s a Miracle” peaked at No. 15 on the Disco/Dance Chart and skyrocketed to No. 1 in Canada.
A relentlessly upbeat pop song written by Barry Manilow and Adrienne Anderson (who also co-wrote “Could It Be Magic”), “Daybreak” reached No. 23 on the Billboard Charts and first appeared on Manilow’s 1976 album, This One’s For You. The single featured Lady Flash, which served as Barry’s backup group from 1974-1979 and included Debra Byrd, Reparata Mazzola and Monica Pege. “Daybreak” later appeared on the soundtrack of John Waters’ 1994 black comedy, Serial Mom, which starred Kathleen Turner in the title role, as well as Ricki Lake and Sam Waterston.
“This One’s for You” (1976)
The title track of Barry Manilow’s fourth album, which was released in 1976, “This One’s for You” was written by Manilow and Marty Panzer. It reached No. 29 on the Billboard Charts and No. 1 on the U.S. Adult Contemporary Chart. The song was later covered by Shirley Bassey on her 1977 album, You Take My Heart Away and by Teddy Pendergrass on his 1982 album, This One’s for You. Just about every concert during a Barry Manilow tour features a rendition of this popular sentimental ballad.
“Weekend in New England” (1976)
Written by Randy Edelman, “Weekend in New England” reached No. 10 on the Billboard Charts and appeared on Barry Manilow’s fourth album, This One’s for You, in 1976. Curiously, “New England” is only mentioned once in the song, while “weekend” never appears in the lyrics. The song became rather notorious when Jennifer Hudson, who later went on to considerable fame as a singer and actress, was eliminated during the third season of American Idol in 2004 after performing “Weekend in New England.” The song also appears in the 2009 comedy, Paul Blart: Mall Cop, which starred Kevin James. Incidentally, Edelman has scored the soundtracks for several hit movies such as Executive Action (1973), Twins (1988), Ghostbusters II (1989), Kindergarten Cop (1990), My Cousin Vinny (1992), Gettysburg (1993), Anaconda (1997), and The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor (2008), among others.
“Looks Like We Made It” (1977)
Barry Manilow’s third No. 1 hit (after “Mandy” and “I Write the Songs”), “Looks Like We Made It” appeared on his fourth album, This One’s For You, which reached No. 6 on the Billboard Charts and was written by Richard Kerr and Will Jennings. In an interview about the song that appeared in The Billboard Book of Number One Adult Contemporary Hits (1999), Jennings remarked, “Richard [Kerr] and I have often remarked on the people, millions of them in the world, who misunderstood the lyric of ‘Looks Like We Made It.’ It is a rather sad and ironic lyric about making it apart and not together, and of course everyone thinks it is a full on, positive statement. I don’t know. Perhaps it is … in a way.” The song made an appearance in a 2012 Chevrolet Silverado pickup truck commercial that aired during Super Bowl (New York Giants vs. New England Patriots).
“Can’t Smile Without You” (1978)
Written by Chris Arnold, David Martin and Geoff Morrow, “Can’t Smile Without You” was initially recorded by the Carpenters on their 1976 album, A Kind of Hush. However, Barry Manilow turned the song into a massive hit that reached No. 3 on the Pop Singles Chart and No. 1 on the Adult Contemporary Chart. “Can’t Smile Without You” has always been a crowd favorite at Barry Manilow concerts and typically erupts into an enormous sing-along. Incidentally, George Michaels was sued for plagiarism by Dick James Music, the publishing company for “Can’t Smile Without You,” for the 1984 Wham! song “Last Christmas,” which has a somewhat similar sounding melody. However, the case was eventually dismissed. “Can’t Smile Without You” has appeared in a diverse lineup of films over the years such as Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994), Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (1998), Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo (1999), Starsky & Hutch (2004) and Hellboy II: The Golden Army (2008), among others.
Inspired by the legendary New York City nightclub of the same name that first opened its doors in 1940, “Copacabana” peaked at No. 8 on the Billboard Charts. Also known as “Copacabana (At the Copa),” the song about a tragic love triangle appeared on Barry Manilow’s fifth studio album, Even Now, in 1978. It was written by Manilow along with Jack Feldman and Bruce Sussman. In addition, Barry won a Grammy Award for Best Pop Male Vocal, beating out Gerry Rafferty (“Baker Street”), Gino Vannelli (“I Just Wanna Stop”), Jackson Browne (“Running on Empty”) and Dan Hill (“Sometimes When We Touch”). “Copacabana” (along with another Manilow hit, “Ready to Take a Chance Again”) appeared on the soundtrack of the 1978 Goldie Hawn-Chevy Chase comedy, Foul Play. In 1985, “Copacabana” was turned into a made-for-TV musical film of the same name starring Manilow as “Tony Starr” and Annette O’Toole as “Lola La Mar,” as well as a stage musical and nightclub show that toured the United States. Barry later released a Spanish-language version of the song titled “Copacabana (En El Copa)” and an acoustic version that appeared on his 2007 album, The Greatest Songs of the Seventies. Incidentally, the Copacabana nightclub has been used as a setting in several classic films such as The French Connection (1971), Raging Bull (1980), Goodfellas (1990) and Carlito’s Way (1993).
“Even Now” (1978)
The title cut of Barry Manilow’s fifth album, which was released in 1978, “Even Now” peaked at No. 19 on the Billboard Charts. Manilow wrote the music, while Marty Panzer contributed the lyrics. In his 1987 autobiography, Sweet Life: Adventures on the Way to Paradise, Barry called the song “one of my personal favorites, which never fails to move me. It reminded me of the great times I had collaborating with [Panzer].” In fact, “Even Now” has made the setlist at just about all the concerts on every Barry Manilow tour.
“Ready to Take a Chance Again” (1978)
Written by Charles Fox and Norman Gimbel, “Ready to Take a Chance Again” reached No. 11 on the Billboard Charts. In addition, it appeared as the theme song on the 1978 Foul Play soundtrack. In fact, “Ready to Take a Chance Again” was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Song but lost out to “Last Dance” from Thank God It’s Friday (other Oscar nominees that year included “Hopelessly Devoted to You” from Grease, “When You’re Loved” from The Magic of Lassie and “The Last Time I Felt Like This” from Same Time, Next Year). “Ready to Take a Chance Again” later appeared on Manilow’s 1978 Greatest Hits album. In the 2000 romantic comedy, Keeping the Faith, Edward Norton as “Father Brian Kilkenney Finn” sings “Ready to Take a Chance Again.”
“Somewhere in the Night” (1978)
Written by the songwriting team of Richard Kerr and Will Jennings (who also penned the Manilow hit, “Looks Like We Made It”), “Somewhere in the Night” appeared on Barry Manilow’s fifth album, Even Now, in 1978 and reached No. 9 on the Billboard Charts. However, the song had been previously recorded in 1975 by Batdorf & Rodney, Yvonne Elliman, Helen Reddy and Kim Carnes. “Somewhere in the Night” was a released as a single as the flip side of “Copacabana.”
Written by Ian Hunter of English rock band Mott the Hoople and originally recorded for his critically acclaimed 1979 solo album, You’re Never Alone With a Schizophrenic, “Ships” has been described as “a hymn-like ballad” detailing his relationship with his father. Barry Manilow recorded his version of “Ships” for his sixth studio album, One Voice, which was released in 1979. Asked about Manilow’s version, which reached No. 9 on the Billboard Charts, during an interview with Mojo magazine, Hunter remarked, “That whole Manilow thing was quite amusing. That guy’s no slouch when it comes to arranging. His dad had died and the song struck him that way, too.”
“I Made It Through the Rain” (1980)
An inspirational ballad about a struggling musician who never gives up and finally breaks through to the big time, “I Made It Through the Rain” was penned by Gerard Kenny and Drey Sheppard and reached No. 10 on the Billboard Charts and No. 4 on the Adult Contemporary Chart. The song appears on Barry Manilow’s 1980 album, Barry, which peaked at No. 15 on the Billboard Charts.
Nothing beats the experience of enjoying Barry Manilow’s greatest hits live on stage at the International Theater in Westgate Las Vegas Resort & Casino! For more information about the legendary entertainer’s triumphant return to Las Vegas, Barry Manilow Las Vegas – The Hits Come Home!, visit www.westgateresorts.com/manilow.