Barry Manilow

Performer / Composer


The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents

02:26

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About
About this interview

In his two-hour interview, Barry Manilow talks about his early life, including the bands he played with as a teen and his early interest in orchestration. He discusses working in the CBS mail room, which led to a job on the local WCBS series Call Back. He details his career writing commercial jingles for companies including State Farm, Band-Aid, Dr. Pepper, and McDonald’s. He speaks of being the accompanist for Bette Midler, and going out on tour. Manilow recounts his first huge hit record, “Mandy," which was shepherded by Clive Davis and led to appearances on the music series Midnight Special, Rock Concert, and Soundstage. He details his many successful television specials, and recalls guest-stars Ray Charles, John Denver, and Penny Marshall. He outlines his guest appearances on sitcoms Murphy Brown and Will & Grace, as well as his stint as mentor/guest judge on American Idol. He sums up by discussing how the industry has changed since he started, and with advice to aspiring musicians. Adrienne Faillace conducted the interview on January 24, 2019 in Palm Springs, CA.

"Even when I was the goofball up there, I was trying to connect to the audience with these songs. And the only way I could do it is by honestly telling the story of the song."

People Talking About ...
Highlights
Barry Manilow on playing piano for Bette Midler, and then touring on his own as a performer
Barry Manilow on early television he watched, including The Judy Garland Show
Barry Manilow on the process of arranging songs like "Mandy"
Barry Manilow on his first Barry Manilow Special, which guest-starred Penny Marshall
Barry Manilow on his Emmy winning special Manilow: Music and Passion
Barry Manilow on performing the national anthem at the Super Bowl
Full Interview

Chapter 1

On his early life and influences; on his early interest in music and on playing the accordion; on playing in bands as a teen, and music he listened to growing up
On his early fascination with orchestration; on working in the CBS mailroom while attending Juilliard; on becoming the musical director for the local WCBS series Call Back, and on early television shows he liked, including The Judy Garland Show
On getting involved with writing commercial jingles; on the various jingles he composed for commercials, including State Farm, Band Aids, Stridex, Dr. Pepper, and McDonald's
On becoming a singer-songwriter; on playing piano for Bette Midler, and then touring on his own as a performer; on playing the Bijou Theater in Philadelphia with Andy Kaufman as his opening act

Chapter 2

On touring with Bette Midler as her music director, and on playing songs during her concerts; on recording his second record for Clive Davis' Arista Records; on Clive Davis shepherding his second album, which led to him recording "Mandy," his first hit
On the process of arranging songs like "Mandy"; on how his life changed after his hit single "Mandy" was released and on the fame that resulted; on appearing on Midnight Special, Don Kirshner's Rock Concert, and Soundstage
On his first Barry Manilow Special which guest-starred Penny Marshall; on writing lyrics for and singing the American Bandstand theme song; on appearing on American Bandstand with Dick Clark
On appearing on his second Barry Manilow Special; on working with Ray Charles on the second Barry Manilow Special ; on working with choreographer Kevin Carlisle on the second Barry Manilow Special
On becoming comfortable on stage as a performer, and on taking acting lessons from Nina Foch; on his HBO Standing Room Only special; on learning how to work with the camera on his Barry Manilow Specials
On the third Barry Manilow Special guest starring John Denver; on appearing on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson; on his special Barry Manilow: One Voice guest starring Dionne Warwick
On his Barry Manilow Special from Blenheim Palace in England; on performing the national anthem at the Super Bowl; on the made for television movie Copacabana produced by Dick Clark
On his special Barry Manilow: Big Fun on Swing Street; on his specials on A & E; on his Christmas concerts
On his Emmy winning special Manilow: Music and Passion; on performing in Las Vegas; on guest-starring on Murphy Brown and American Idol
On how the industry has changed since he started; on his songwriting and recording process; on performing live
On dealing with the business end of the music industry; on lobbying congress; on the value of projects like The Interviews
On dream projects of his; on advice to aspiring musicians; on career achievements and regrets and how he'd like to be remembered
Shows

Ally McBeal

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Barry Manilow on guest-starring on Ally McBeal

American Bandstand

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Barry Manilow on writing lyrics for and singing the American Bandstand theme song
Barry Manilow on appearing on American Bandstand with Dick Clark

American Idol

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Barry Manilow on appearing on several episodes of American Idol

Barry Manilow Specials

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Barry Manilow on his first Barry Manilow Special, which guest-starred Penny Marshall
Barry Manilow on winning an Emmy Award for his first Barry Manilow Special
Barry Manilow on appearing on his second Barry Manilow Special
Barry Manilow on working with Ray Charles on the second Barry Manilow Special
Barry Manilow on working with choreographer Kevin Carlisle on the second Barry Manilow Special
Barry Manilow on his HBO Standing Room Only special
Barry Manilow on learning how to work with the camera on his Barry Manilow Specials
Barry Manilow on the third Barry Manilow Special guest starring John Denver
Barry Manilow on his special Barry Manilow: One Voice guest starring Dionne Warwick
Barry Manilow on his Barry Manilow Special, which was performed at Blenheim Palace in England
Barry Manilow on his special Barry Manilow: Big Fun on Swing Street
Barry Manilow on his specials on A & E
Barry Manilow on his Emmy-winning special Manilow: Music and Passion

Copacabana

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Barry Manilow on the made for television movie Copacabana produced by Dick Clark

Don Kirshner's Rock Concert

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Barry Manilow on appearing on Midnight Special, Don Kirshner's Rock Concert, and Soundstage while learning how to play to an audience

Family Guy

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Barry Manilow on making a cameo on Family Guy

Judy Garland Show, The

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Barry Manilow on early television he watched, including The Judy Garland Show

Midnight Special, The

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Barry Manilow on appearing on Midnight Special, Don Kirshner's Rock Concert, and Soundstage while learning how to play to an audience

Murphy Brown

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Barry Manilow on guest-starring on Murphy Brown

Soundstage

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Barry Manilow on appearing on Midnight Special, Don Kirshner's Rock Concert, and Soundstage while learning how to play to an audience

Super Bowl

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Barry Manilow on performing the national anthem at the Super Bowl

Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, The

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Barry Manilow on appearing on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson

Will & Grace

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Barry Manilow on guest-starring on Will & Grace
Topics

Creative Influences and Inspiration

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Barry Manilow on his mentor Clive Davis

Emmy Awards

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Barry Manilow on winning an Emmy Award for his first Barry Manilow special
Barry Manilow on his Emmy winning special Manilow: Music and Passion

Fame and Celebrity

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Barry Manilow on how his life changed after his hit single "Mandy" was released, and on the fame that resulted

First Big Break

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Barry Manilow on becoming the musical director for the local WCBS series Call Back

Overcoming Adversity

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Barry Manilow on playing the Bijou Theater in Philadelphia with Andy Kaufman as his opening act

Pivotal Career Moments

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Barry Manilow on becoming the musical director for the local WCBS series Call Back
Barry Manilow on playing the Bijou Theater in Philadelphia with Andy Kaufman as his opening act
Barry Manilow on his mentor Clive Davis

Pop Culture

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Barry Manilow on how his life changed after his hit single "Mandy" was released, and on the fame that resulted

Television Industry

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Barry Manilow on how the industry has changed since he started his career
Professions

Composer

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Barry Manilow on his early fascination with orchestration

Music Professionals

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Barry Manilow on his early fascination with orchestration
Barry Manilow on becoming comfortable on stage as a performer, and on taking acting lessons from Nina Foch
Barry Manilow on his songwriting and recording process
Barry Manilow on performing live
Barry Manilow on dealing with the business end of the music industry
Barry Manilow on advice to aspiring musicians

Musician

View Profession
Barry Manilow on becoming comfortable on stage as a performer, and on taking acting lessons from Nina Foch
Barry Manilow on his songwriting and recording process
Barry Manilow on performing live
Barry Manilow on dealing with the business end of the music industry
Barry Manilow on advice to aspiring musicians
Genres

Comedy Series

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Barry Manilow on guest-starring on Murphy Brown, Family Guy, and Will & Grace

Commercials

View Genre
Barry Manilow on getting involved with writing commercial jingles
Barry Manilow on the various jingles he composed for commercials, including State Farm, Band Aids, Stridex, Dr. Pepper, and McDonald's

Music Shows & Variety Shows/Specials

View Genre
Barry Manilow on appearing on Midnight Special, Don Kirshner's Rock Concert, and Soundstage
Barry Manilow on his Barry Manilow Specials
Barry Manilow on appearing on several episodes of American Idol

Talk Shows

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Barry Manilow on appearing on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson
People

Kevin Carlisle

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Barry Manilow on working with choreographer Kevin Carlisle on the second Barry Manilow Special

Johnny Carson

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Barry Manilow on appearing on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson

Ray Charles

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Barry Manilow on working with Ray Charles on the second Barry Manilow Special

Dick Clark

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Barry Manilow on appearing on American Bandstand with Dick Clark
Barry Manilow on the made for television movie Copacabana produced by Dick Clark

John Denver

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Barry Manilow on the third Barry Manilow Special guest starring John Denver

Nina Foch

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Barry Manilow becoming comfortable on stage as a performer, and on taking acting lessons from Nina Foch

Judy Garland

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Barry Manilow on early television he watched, including The Judy Garland Show

Andy Kaufman

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Barry Manilow on playing the Bijou Theater in Philadelphia with Andy Kaufman as his opening act

Penny Marshall

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Barry Manilow on his first Barry Manilow Special which guest-starred Penny Marshall

Bette Midler

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Barry Manilow on playing piano for Bette Midler, and then touring on his own as a performer
Barry Manilow on touring with Bette Midler as her music director, and on playing his own songs during her concerts

Dionne Warwick

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Barry Manilow on his special Barry Manilow: One Voice guest starring Dionne Warwick

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