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- March 06, 2006
- Vol. 65
- No. 9
Looks Like He Made It
Topping the Charts Again with An Album of '50s Hits, Barry Manilow Recalls His Three Decades of Fan Favorites and Fashion Faux Pas
He may not be as current as the Black Eyed Peas, but that doesn't matter to Manilow's diverse fan base, which consists, he says, of "little children to grandmothers." After years on the road, the singer has settled into his headlining role at the Las Vegas Hilton, where audiences know every word, from "I Write the Songs" (before recording it, "I was afraid people would say, 'Who does he think he is, Bob Dylan?'") to "the one they come for," as he calls it. "On my tombstone it will say, 'Barry Manilow—Copacabana.'" To this day, he still marvels at his fans. "The most flattering of all is when the trash collectors yell, 'Barry! Barry!' hanging off their trucks. You know you've made it when they do that."
Barry Looks Back
LENDING LIZ A HAND, 1986: "That's when Elizabeth [Taylor] and I got married and Carole [Bayer Sager] was our bridesmaid [laughs]. Elizabeth called me to do the first AIDS benefit ever. She called every musician she knew and they all turned her down. How could you say no? All of my friends were dying. It was in the '80s, where if you got this thing you died. Nobody wanted to be associated with it. I did it and she never forgot it. She sends me flowers every year on my birthday."
HIS NAME WAS BARRY, HE WORE A WHITE TUX, 1977: "I did my first TV special and won an Emmy for it. 'I'm freaking out' was my acceptance speech. Don't even bother to thank anybody! But it was the last thing I expected. I hadn't prepared one word. I've never been more humiliated. But I was very happy I won."
THEY WRITE THE SONGS, 2000: "It's the wandering Jews. Those are the two most talented people [Neil Diamond, left, and Billy Joel, center] I've ever sat at one table with. That's fantastic."
DANCING MACHINE, 1976: "That was one of my background girls, and both of us were doing 'Bandstand Boogie.' We all were wearing stuff like this. Today it looks ridiculous. But I'm telling you, that's what everybody looked like. They were wearing these tight pants and shirts."
POLYESTER PARTY, 1978: "I'm so sorry you have to see this. I can tell you Rod Stewart had the same outfit. We all looked like morons in the '70s, but I think I win for the most moronic outfit, face, hair and glasses. Clive [Davis] looks great. Must you show this to everybody?"
- Monica Rizzo/Las Vegas,
- Natasha Stoynoff/New York City.
January 31, 2015
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