|October 6, 2017 ||The Morning Call||"REVIEW: Barry Manilow's PPL Center concert: 'It's a Miracle'" by John J. Moser|
|ALLENTOWN — It was no coincidence that Barry Manilow opened and closed his concert Friday at Allentown’s PPL Center with his 1975 hit “It’s a Miracle.” The depth and breadth of Manilow’s career does, indeed, seem like a miracle: He has produced 50 Top 40 songs, making him the most successful adult contemporary artist ever, and his hits-laden set list showed it.|
It may be even more of a miracle that Manilow, at 74, still is out performing those songs with the vigor he showed Friday. For nearly the entire 21-song, 85-minute set, he stood at the front of the stage, mic in hand. Dressed in a open-collared shirt and burgundy suit coat and backed by a full orchestra and three background singers, he played such favorites as his gold hit “Can’t Smile Without You,” which became an audience sing-along - or more, precisely, audience-led, since they sang louder than Manilow did.
He even occasionally danced slightly with those background singers. His No. 1 gold hit “Looks Like We Made It” was surprisingly rich and stirring. And his early hit “Could It Be Magic” started as a piano-and-voice piece and morphed into a disco hit.
Because it was such a hit-laden show, nearly all of the songs were from the 1970s, when Manilow’s sound was so popular that he literally couldn’t miss: His first 14 albums went gold or platinum. Only four of Friday’s songs were from the 1980s: “The Old Songs,” “Somewhere Down the Road,” his 1982 cover of the Four Seasons’ “Let’s Hang On,” and “I Made It Through the Rain.”
But as if to show he can resonate with new music, Manilow in the middle of the concert sang the title track from his new album, “This is My Town,” which debuted at No. 1 on the pop chart in April. It was very show-tune - not in a bad way; Manilow does that type of bombast well. He followed with two other of the disc’s songs - its surprisingly thumping, muscular cover of the Drifters’ “On Broadway” and "New York City Rhythm.”
[On] “I Am Your Child,” his voice was impassioned. The slower “Weekend in New England,” one of the few times he sat all night behind the piano, [was] nicely impassioned. He even sang part of the slow, tender “Somewhere Down the Road” a capella... “Every time we come to this area, we have a great time,” he said. Later, he recalled playing the Allentown Fair — which also delighted the crowd.
In fact, some of the night’s best songs were lesser hits. “Somewhere in the Night” was better and more stirring than remembered, and Manilow sang it strongly — reaching for a big ending note. “Even Now,” a lesser hit from 1978, built and soared to a big end. The crowd was enrapt. “Wow! you make me feel like Justin Bieber!” he said.
Manilow wound down the main set with what has become his signature song, his 1974 breakthrough No. 1 gold hit “Mandy.” It, too, was slow and impassioned, with a snippet of “Could It Be Magic.” Then he sang his 1978 gold hit “Copacabana (At the Copa)” before closing the night with a brief reprise of “It’s a Miracle” [and] the song with which Manilow closed the main set, [his] 1975 hit “I Write the Songs” — the song that became his second No. 1 and second gold record. With Manilow again behind the piano, and with a red-robed, 20-member choir backing him, it turned into another crowd sing-along - a joyful one.
“Oh my music makes you dance / And gives you spirit to take a chance / And I wrote some rock 'n' roll so you can move,” Manilow sang. “Music fills your heart / Well, that's a real fine place to start.” It is, indeed. And after a 45-year recording career, Barry Manilow still is writing, and more importantly performing, the songs.
|October 6, 2017 ||Broadway World||Barry Manilow to Bring 'A VERY BARRY CHRISTMAS' to Chicago, NY and LA|
|Pop culture icon Barry Manilow announced today that for the first time ever he will be performing his special holiday concert in Chicago, New York and Los Angeles.|
These spectacular shows are scheduled to take place in December at The Forum in Los Angeles, Allstate Arena in Chicago and NYCB LIVE, home of the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum on Long Island. Manilow's A VERY BARRY CHRISTMAS concerts will feature his hit songs and holiday favorites. His past holiday concerts have surprised audiences with a children's choir, Santa Claus, and even snow!
Holiday concerts are scheduled for the following dates:
- Chicago Dec 5th - Chicago, IL - Allstate Arena
- New York Dec 7th - Uniondale, NY - NYCB LIVE, home of the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum
- Los Angeles Dec 20th - Inglewood, CA - The Forum
Tickets will go on sale to the general public on Friday, October 13th at 10 AM (local time). Visit www.manilow.com/tickets for more details including pre-sale information.
Having sold more than 85 million albums worldwide, Barry Manilow is one of the world's all-time bestselling recording artists. He's had an astonishing 50 Top 40 singles including 12 #1s and 27 Top 10 hits and is ranked as the #1 Adult Contemporary Artist of all time, according to Billboard and R&R magazines.
|October 5, 2017 ||The Morning Call||"Barry Manilow, coming to Allentown's PPL Center, still writing the songs" by John J. Moser|
|In 2015, singer Barry Manilow did a tour he called One Last Time!, a clear indication he was giving up touring. Yet here it is, late in 2017 and the singer of such iconic adult pop songs as “Mandy,” “Copacabana” and “Looks Like We Made It,” will play Allentown’s PPL Center Friday, Oct. 6 in a concert that is among two dozen he expects to do this year.|
“We’re doing like three shows a month, maybe four shows a month - every few weekends,” Manilow says in a phone call from his home in Palm Springs, Calif., where he lives with his manager-husband [Garry] Kief. “You know, I like performing, I don’t want to stop that. I just had to get off the road, meaning, the road where it keeps you on the road for weeks at a time, you don’t come home for weeks at a time. You go from city to city, hotel to hotel. I had to stop that. But I don’t mind performing. You know, I certainly like doing the job.”
Doing that job has made Manilow, 74, a legend. Billboard magazine says he is the No. 1 Adult Contemporary artist of all time. In a recording career of nearly 45 years, he has had 50 Top 40 hits. Twenty-five of those songs hit No. 1, including “I Write the Songs,” and "Even Now." Manilow has sold more than 85 million albums worldwide, making him on of the best-selling solo artists of all time. Thirty-two of those discs sold gold or platinum.
While he has slowed down on touring, his recording output has continued. His most recent disc, “This is My Town: Songs of New York,” was released in April and debuted at No. 1 on Billboard’s Pop chart. “I’m surprised that I’m still able to make an album, so let’s start right there,” Manilow says with a laugh. “Because, you know, I’ve been doing this for a long time and the people that I began with way back in the ’70s are either retired or dead. And I’m still making albums and running around the stage and it doesn’t seem like anything’s changed.... I always figure, ‘Well, this is the last album.’ And then it isn’t the last album. I got the next one, and then there’s the next one. I’m just one of the lucky guys whose career is still flourishing and I do still have an audience that seems to be interested in what I have to say.”
Manilow knows his audience has gotten older, and the public’s buying patterns have changed. So while he once could count on anything he put out being a hit -- incredibly, his first 14 albums from 1973-85 went gold or platinum -- his more recent albums have been thematic releases.
He says the idea to do thematic albums came after his hit “Read ’Em and Weep,” which was No. 1 on the Adult Contemporary chart for seven weeks in 1984. “After I had that big run, 10 years of singles and albums that had singles on them, I thought, ‘You know, I don’t [know] how to top myself after this,’” he says. “And anyway, I think the radio started getting bored with me, and I started getting bored with me. I had to do something, so I told Clive [Davis, founder and president of Arista Records] I just have to do something different for the next album, and he said, ‘I think you’re right.’”
The next album Manilow released was 1984’s “2:00 AM Paradise Cafe,” a collection of jazz songs that also went platinum. “I had a batch of great jazz musicians and it was a wonderful experience, and every album after that always had an idea to it,” he says. “It was either a big band tribute [1994’s ‘Singin’ with the Big Bands’] or another one was a Broadway album called ‘Showstoppers’ [in 1991] and then there was [2006’s] ‘The Greatest Songs of the Fifties’ and ‘[Greatest Songs of the] Sixties.’ Every album had an idea to it.”
Manilow’s previous album, 2014’s “My Dream Duets,” used technology to have him singing with late musicians such as Louis Armstrong, John Denver, Whitney Houston and Sammy Davis Jr. The disc gave Manilow his 15th Grammy Award nomination - he has won just one, for Pop Male Vocal Performance for “Copacabana” in 1979 - and his highest-charting disc in nearly a decade. “It’s a technical marvel,” Manilow says. “We found a company that was able to take the orchestras off these classic records and just leave me with the vocals, and so I was able to rearrange the songs and make all these songs into duets. And you listen to that album, it sounds like I’m standing right next to, you know, Dusty Springfield. It’s an amazing sounding album.”
The theme for the new disc brought him back to his native New York; he was born in Brooklyn. “It made sense for me to do a tribute to my hometown,” he says. “I always had the idea about making an album that paid tribute to New York.” At first, he says, he wanted “to make it a small jazz album, for a little combo. But when I looked at the standards that I had the choice of singing -- because I wanted to do half standards and half originals -- well, they really didn’t fit into a jazz album with a small combo. You can’t do ‘Downtown/Uptown’ with that kind of approach. So it turned into a bigger album than a little jazzy album.”
Then, Manilow says, he started considering songs of different music genres. “Which is exactly what New York is,” he says. “New York is, as you know, a melting pot of different styles. You know, there’s Broadway and city stuff and jazz. Well, that’s what this album is. I do think it represents New York very well, because it’s all different styles.”
That ability to sing a breadth of songs has not only helped Manilow extend his career, but gave him success on Broadway, television and in film. In 1977 he won a Tony award for his “Barry Manilow on Broadway” - his concert series that pre-dated Bruce Springsteen’s runaway hit this year by 40 years. That same year, he won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Special: Comedy, Variety or Music for “The Barry Manilow Special,” then a second in 2006 for his “Barry Manilow: Music and Passion.”
In 1978, his song "Ready to Take a Chance Again" from the Goldie Hawn film “Foul Play” was even nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Song. “It’s overwhelming,” he says. “I hear what you just said and it just doesn’t sound like you’re talking about me, because, you know, I keep my nose to the grindstone. I just don’t look up. You know, I don’t look up. I just keep going. I keep writing and having another project - the next one, and the next one. And I don’t look back. I just stay focused on what I’m doing right now. So when you mention all of that that was in my past, it sounds like you’re talking about somebody else. I just never think like that. Uh, it’s an amazing career. It’s been an amazing ride - I can’t believe it actually happened to me.”
That wide-ranging career this year won Manilow an Icon Award at the 65th annual Broadcast Music Inc. Pop Awards, in recognition of his “prodigious musical legacy and an unparalleled career encompassing the worlds of Broadway, Film, TV and popular culture.” “It means a lot because one of the most important things of what I do is writing,” he says. “That’s really what I always wanted to be. My first love is arranging music - that’s what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wanted to be Nelson Riddle. I wanted to be David Rose. I wanted to be Don Costa. The guys behind the singers.”
And that’s what Manilow did for many years, producing and arranging albums for artists including Bette Midler and Dionne Warwick before releasing his debut disc in 1973. “But my second love, of course, is writing. And when BMI gave me the Icon Award, that is a writer’s writer’s award, and it was a very, very important one for me,” he says. Manilow also was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2002.
Manilow says in retrospect, it’s a miracle to him not that he’s still out performing concerts, but that he became a performer at all. “I never wanted to be a singer or a performer or the leader of a band,” Manilow says. “I mean, I never went after that. So not only is it fantastic that this actually happened, it’s a miracle because I never went after it."
“You know, most singers, you ask them about it, they always wanted to stand on a stage and sing. Or they always wanted to be in the paper; they wanted to be a star. That wasn’t me. It never dawned on me that that would even be a career for me. I was always happy being in the background -- you know, writing jingles or arranging songs for other people. So this career of that -- you hear that expression ‘you chose your career’? Well, my career chose me,” he says with a laugh.
DETAILS: Barry Manilow, When: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 6. Where: PPL Center, 701 Hamilton St., Allentown. How much: $19.75-$149.75. Info: www.PPLCenter.com, 610-347-TIXX
|October 4, 2017 ||The Morning Call||"What singer Barry Manilow, coming Friday to PPL Center, remembers about playing Allentown Fair" by John J. Moser|
|Barry Manilow, who plays at Allentown’s PPL Center on Friday, hasn’t played the Lehigh Valley in 17 years, and hasn’t played in Allentown in more than 23 years. But in a recent phone call to promote his upcoming show, the singer says he remembers his concerts at Allentown Fair in 1993, when he sold out the fair’s grandstand, and again in 1994.|
Manilow, 74, who with 50 Top 40 hits according to Billboard magazine is the No. 1 Adult Contemporary chart artist of all time, will hit the PPL Center stage at 7:30 p.m. Tickets, at $19.75-$149.75, remain available at www.PPLCenter.com, 610-347-TIXX or at the PPL Center Box Office at 701 Hamilton St.
He’s promoting his latest album, “This is My Town: Songs of New York,” which, released April 21, debuted at No. 1 on Billboard’s Pop chart. But he also will perform his greatest hits, such as "Copacabana" and "Mandy."
Manilow last played the Lehigh Valley in May 2000 at Lehigh University’s Stabler Arena. But in the telephone call, Manilow says he remembers playing Allentown Fair. “Allentown has always been good to me,” he says. “Haven’t played it very much, but I did a couple of state fairs there, and that was a wild, wild ride. They were great. They were great fun. They set the stage up near the throw-up rides. That was always fun. You could hear people screaming and throwing up as I was singing the ballads. It was always fun,” he says with a laugh.
Manilow also says he remembers fondly shows in Wilkes-Barre, though after a career of nearly 45 years, the timing eludes him. “Those shows I’ll never forget,” he says. “They were always wonderful. So I’m looking forward to it.”
DETAILS: Barry Manilow. When: 7:30 p.m. Oct. 6. Where: PPL Center, 701 Hamilton St., Allentown. How much: $19.75-$149.75. Info: www.PPLCenter.com, 610-347-TIXX
|October 3, 2017 ||NJ.com||"'I'm one of the lucky guys': Barry Manilow" by Natalie Pompilio|
|Barry Manilow says he doesn't have a favorite among the songs he's written, at least not a consistent one. But if pressed, at this moment, his choice would be "Could It Be Magic." he said in an interview with New Jersey Advance Media. "Because it's from the very first album, which I released in 1821," joked Manilow, 74, referring to his self-titled 1973 debut record. "It was based on a Chopin prelude. The prelude begins the record and then it goes into the song I wrote based on it and it lasted for eight minutes. Eight minutes.... When i listen to it, i think, 'That was a pretty brave thing to do and that was a great song.' But ask me next week and I might have a different answer."|
With 47 Billboard Top 40 singles to his credit, Manilow has many songs to choose from. When he performs at the Prudential Center Oct. 5., expect selections from his latest album, "This is My Town: Songs of New York," and many of his greatest hits. "We're doing all of them, all the way through, starting with 'It's a Miracle' and ending nearly two hours later with 'I Write the Songs.'" he said. "I'm one of the lucky guys who has a catalogue of songs that can fill up two hours on stage."
Anyone who brings a new or gently used instrument to the Prudential Center box office will receive two free tickets to the show. The instruments will then be given to local public schools as part of the Manilow Music Project, the non-profit the singer started in 2008. Since then, the organization has collected thousands of instruments and donated them to hundreds of schools. Manilow often donates a piano to the schools as well.
After more than four decades on the road, Manilow said he no longer tours. Instead, he performs, sometimes one weekend a month, sometimes twice. After his Garden State show, Manilow will perform in Allentown and then end this spate of East Coast appearances.
Despite famously not writing one of his biggest hits - "I Write the Songs" - Manilow is credited with more than 400 other songs, including "Can't Smile Without You." In May, he was honored with a BMI Icon Award. "I was very honored," he said. "t was important to me because one of my favorite parts of my career is song writing and when BMI honors you, that means you've made it as songwriter, that you've written enough songs and they've been popular enough to actually have been noticed."
His latest album, an ode to his hometown of New York City, five original compositions and includes a virtual duet with the late Mel Torme. Among the other songs is "NYC Medley," which has Manilow tackling everything from "New York, New York" to "Empire State of Mind." The album immediately landed in the Billboard Top 40 chart, the 26th Manilow album to hit that mark.
The variety of styles on the new title harkens back to the days when Manilow called himself a "musical misfit." "The 'My Town' album is filled with different musical styles. One song is a bit of a Broadway type of a song and the next song is R&B and the next one is pop and I thought, 'It's like New York. New York is filled with different styles and different people.' I think that's a perfect way to pay tribute to the city."
BARRY MANILOW: Prudential Center. 25 Lafayette St., Newark. Tickets: $19-300, available online at www.prucenter.com. Oct. 5, 7:30 p.m.
|October 2, 2017 ||NorthJersey.com||"Barry Manilow writes the songs - and sings them, too" by Jim Beckerman|
|Wampum, Bitcoin, credit cards -- all money by another name. And now Barry Manilow has come up with his own form of currency. Have any unused musical instruments -- new or in good condition -- gathering dust in the house? Bring them to Newark's Prudential Center on Thursday Oct. 5, and you can exchange them for two tickets to his show. "Just bring them to the arena, they'll have someone to collect them, and we give them two tickets," Manilow says. "[Sometimes] we get between 75 and 100 instruments a night, and it's great. And I feel great about doing it."|
The Manilow Music Project, now in its 10th year, is all about putting instruments into the hands of public school students who might not be able to get them otherwise. Manilow himself donates a piano to each city he visits. "We collect as many instruments as we can, and then we give them to the schools that are running out of them," he says. "Because they're running out of everything. Music and arts are always the first thing that goes. Certainly in the public schools... As a musician, when I heard that, it killed me."
This admirable project is one of several legacy gestures that Manilow, 74, is making in a storied career that is now -- apparently -- on the verge of winding down. He's already announced that he won't be doing extended tours anymore. This Prudential appearance is a one-off. "No more touring for me," he says. "We are doing one-nighters, because I don't want to stop. We're doing I guess three shows a month... But I did want to get off the road. No more touring, no going from city to city, being away from home for weeks at a time."
His new album is another summing-up gesture. Manilow, who came to fame in the 1970s with such monster hits as "Mandy," "Can't Smile Without You," "Copacabana (At the Copa)" and "I Write the Songs" — that one, ironically, not written by him — was born in Brooklyn. He studied at City College of New York and the New York College of Music, and came to prominence in the 1970s as the musical director for Bette Midler in venues like New York's Continental Baths.
His new album is a tribute to the town that gave him his start. "This Is My Town: Songs of New York," released in April (Decca Records and Stiletto Entertainment), features a mix of originals and less-obvious covers like Leonard Bernstein's "Lonely Town" from the musical "On the Town." "I've always wanted to do a New York album," Manilow says. "I come from New York. I'm a New Yorker. It made perfect sense."
Another legacy gesture was perhaps less intentional, though it ultimately turned out well. On April 5, Manilow officially came of the closet in an interview with People Magazine, garnering headlines nationwide and causing fans to tweet -- and shrug. "Every article was followed by a batch of comments, and every comment was positive," he says. "Not one negative. I expected that. I know these people. These people care about me. And they couldn't have been happier to find out that I was in a relationship for so long, and happy. That's all they care about."
The few critical comments were mostly along the lines of, "Why did it take him so long"? And in fact, it might have taken him longer. His hand was forced, he says, by The National Enquirer, which broke news of his 2014 marriage to his longtime partner and manager, Garry Kief (they've been together 40 years), at Manilow's Palm Springs, Calif., estate. "If the Enquirer hadn't done it, I still wouldn't have done it," he says. "But it was too late, so of course we had to go with it."
Not that he has any qualms, or embarrassment, about making the news public, he says. But privacy has always been extremely important to a guy who gets so little of it. "I don't like the public knowing what my dogs' names are," he says. "It's the one little piece of the pie I have. It's the only thing that's kept me sane for all these years of being in the public eye. … It's my private life, thank you very much, and you can't come in unless I invite you in. Wouldn't you feel the same way? Anybody would. So that’s me. I never came out [for that] reason. Now that it's out there, and everybody's happy for me, that’s great."
Fans -- "Fanilows" they're sometimes called -- are really more interested in his songs, he says. "It's always 'Copa,' 'Can't Smile Without You' is number two, 'Mandy' and 'I Write the Songs' -- those are the biggies," he says. "But I'm one of those lucky guys who has a catalog of songs that can fill up nearly two hours on a stage, and most of these songs the audience is familiar with. That's an amazing thing to say."
Familiar doesn't cover it. Often as not, Manilow's audience knows every word of his biggest hits. And they're not shy about singing along. "It was surprising the first time I heard that," he says. "I understand now, that’s part of the fun. How many people can say they’ve written or recorded songs that ten thousand people know? It's an amazing thing. I couldn't be prouder."
Indeed, you may not know you know some of Manilow's songs. In addition to his career as a pop hitmaker, Manilow also wrote, or sang, many of TV's best-known ad jingles. "Like a good neighbor, State Farm is there," is one of his. So is "Stuck on Band-Aid." And he gave voice to the wonders of McDonald's by singing "You Deserve a Break Today."
Jingle writing, he says, was his pop music university. It taught him to think it terms of hooks. "I like writing melodies you can remember," he says. "When I got into the jingle world, that's what they wanted. But what I learned was how to do that within 15 seconds, 30 seconds... When I got into pop music, well, writing a hook, you still have to write a hook that is 15 seconds, or 20 seconds, in any pop song. They call it a hook because it hooks you. When you finish listening to it, you can sing it back. That's what the wanted when I was writing jingles, and frankly that's what they want on the radio with a pop song. And having done that for four years, when I got into pop music that was very valuable."
WHO: Barry Manilow. WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Thursday Oct. 5. WHERE: Prudential Center, 25 Lafayette St., Newark. 800-745-3000 or ticketmaster.com. HOW MUCH: $27 and up.
|October 2, 2017 ||The Morning Call||"Get two free tickets to Barry Manilow's show Friday at Allentown's PPL Center" by John J. Moser|
|If you can't smile without Barry Manilow but don't have tickets to his concert Friday at Allentown's PPL Center, we're about to tell you how you can get a pair free. All you need is an old music instrument. Manilow, who Billboard magazine says is the No. 1 Adult Contemporary artist of all time with 50 Top 40 hits such as “Mandy,” "Copacabana" and “Can’t Smile Without You,” will play PPL Center at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 6. Tickets, at $19.75 to $149.75, are available at www.PPLCenter.com, 610-347-TIXX or at the PPL Center Box Office at 701 Hamilton Street.|
But Manilow, through his Manilow Music Project, will give a pair of tickets to anyone who brings a new or gently-used band or orchestra instrument to the box office before the show. “If they can bring down instruments that they’re not using anymore – they’re just collecting dust in the attic or the basement – bring it down before the show, between now and then, and we give them two free tickets to the show,” Manilow said in a recent telephone interview from his home in Palm Springs, Fla., to promote the show. "Then we collect them, we fix them up, we take them to the school district, and they give them to the schools that are running out of instruments.”
Dan Fremuth, director of public relations for PPL Center, said he confirmed with the tour that if someone brings an instrument as a donation, they indeed will get two tickets to the show. Manilow said he does a similar drive in every city in which he plays.
He says the idea started in Palm Springs, where “a friend of mine came to me like 10 years ago and said did I have access to a sax, ‘cause she’s a saxophone player, and the school was running out of saxophones and she was really hoping that she could get one. I said, ‘The school is running out of saxophones?’ And when I looked it up, all the schools are running out of instruments because of budget problems. You know, the first thing they do is cut music and arts out of the schools and it’s awful. And so, as a musician, I said I got to do something. And so that’s why I formed the Manilow Music Project, and we’ve been doing this for a long time, collecting instruments or doing benefits with that in mind. And then in every city that we go to, we collect – sometimes we get a hundred instruments back. And I hope that they’ll come along with me and just give us as many instruments as we can collect.”
Manilow’s concert is promoting his newest album, "This is My Town: Songs of New York," which, released April 21, hit No. 1 on the Pop Album chart. He also will perform his greatest hits, such as "Copacabana" and "Mandy." It is the first time the singer has performed in the Lehigh Valley in more than 17 years. He was last here in May 2000 at Lehigh University’s Stabler Arena. He played to a sold-out grandstand at the Allentown Fair in 1993, and played the fair again in 1994.
Manilow, 74, has had 47 songs that hit the Top 40 on various charts, ranking him as the top Adult Contemporary chart artist of all time according to Billboard magazine. Twenty-five of those songs hit No. 1, including “I Write the Songs,” and "Looks Like We Made It."