Tuesday, May 4, 2010

What a tease....

You may know him as the man behind the microphone of such hit songs as “Copacabana (At the Copa),” “Mandy” and “I Write the Songs,” but Barry Manilow has always been much, much more than just a pretty voice. A songwriter, producer, conductor and musician, Manilow has examined every corner of the music industry and found success in each and every one.

He’s written jingles for commercials—the State Farm Insurance “Like a Good Neighbor” campaign, Band-Aid “Stuck On Me” commercial and McDonald’s “You Deserve A Break Today” campaign, to name a few—film scores and produced platinum albums for fellow music legend Bette Midler, not to mention released dozens of his own albums, many of which have gone multi-platinum.

After decades in the limelight touring the world, the Brooklyn, N.Y. native has spent the past five years in Las Vegas, performing at the Las Vegas Hilton. But a new decade calls for a change of scenery and the prolific artist made the move to the Strip for an exclusive, two-year engagement at Paris Las Vegas in early March.

“I’ve had nothing but fun and good times at the Hilton, but the opportunity to play right on the Las Vegas Strip seemed very exciting,” Manilow says of the move. “The theater at Paris Las Vegas is beautiful and perfect for what I do. It’s a large room, but intimate enough for my music. I’m putting a brand new show together—Paris is all about love and romance, so we’re making it very romantic.”
I never even dreamed about a career as a performer. My goal was to be a songwriter, a musician, an arranger, a producer. Never to be the lead. And never, ever to sing.
A trip to Paris, France, once the wheels of the Paris Las Vegas show had started moving, inspired the intimate vibe of the new production, which takes place in the 1,500-seat traditional, proscenium-style Paris Théâtre. Theater and setting in mind, it fits that Manilow sees the show as a “theatrical experience,” more than any production he has been a part of in the past.

“It’s the most beautiful show I’ve ever been involved with. Beautiful, smart, musical and very exciting,” he describes. “We’re doing lots of the hits, of course, some of the album cuts, a few songs from the new CD The Greatest Love Songs Of All Time and some odd songs here and there.”
Beyond getting inspiration for the show from the City of Lights, the show’s direction is the work of Jeffrey Hornaday, a film director and choreographer who is directing the upcoming High School Musical 4: East Meets West (he also boasts choreography credits that include Madonna concert tours and films—Flashdance and A Chorus Line among them). So expect expert set design, new video elements and a Broadway-style feel fitting for the Paris Théâtre’s classic stage.

Of course, Broadway has always been a jumping-off point for Manilow, whose 2001 concept album Here at the Mayflower is nuanced with Broadway style throughout. He also marks his off-Broadway work on The Drunkard as the first time he knew music would be his life’s work.
“I was hired to play piano for [the show],” he recalls. “I was the entire band! I loved that job. I remember thinking, ‘I want more of this.’”

Manilow’s last work of original songs, Here at the Mayflower is also the artist’s favorite of all the albums he’s recorded during his lengthy career, he says, though it doesn’t look to be his last concept album offering.

“Next up for me is an original album of songs called Fifteen Minutes about a young person who wants fame and blows it,” he says.

Manilow might not have much first-hand knowledge of blowing his chance at fame, but despite the indelible mark he has made on stages the world over, it could surprise fans of the performer to hear that Manilow never intended on becoming the entertainer he is today.

“I never even dreamed about a career as a performer. My goal was to be a songwriter, a musician, an arranger, a producer. Never to be the lead. And never, ever to sing,” he admits. “I only sang my original demos because nobody wanted to record them.”

Now, more than 40 years later, it’s hard to imagine a stage that wouldn’t gladly welcome Barry Manilow to it.


I think we've had enough foreplay about the new record. When are we getting busy?


  1. I agree with you 100%. But if there's anything the Manilow organization is good's dangling that carrot in front of the fans. They could teach a class on that one.

  2. I'm just happy that he keeps mentioning it and, with everything else going on, is obviously working on it.
    It'd be nice to see a summer, even late summer, release. Maybe those attending the show in Atlantic City will get to hear some songs from this new album.

  3. I'm sure I'm not alone in waiting for something original once again from this incredibly talented man. It's been far too long.