for Wednesday
July 24, 2019

Barry Manilow Interview on

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.


  • 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


  • 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

[ BMIFC Hotline Message for July 9, 2019 | BMIFC Contact Information ]

The Man | His Music | The Shows | His Fans | Feedback | Connections | Hotline

This Page Created May 25, 1997 (Last Updated July 24, 2019)
Barry Manilow International Fan Club and the BarryNet, ©1997-2019
Back to Home