The next few weeks will be busy for legendary singer and songwriter Barry Manilow. He will be honored by the New York Pops May 1st at Carnegie Hall, and he’ll start a five-night concert series at Radio City on May 31st. But, as Manilow recollected on 710 WOR’s Len Berman and Michael Riedel in the Morning program, he never dreamed he’d be on the stage in any venue.
“My goal was to be a musician, an arranger, a conductor, a songwriter, anything behind the scenes,” he told Berman and Riedel. “I never had any eyes to become a performer or entertainer, not even a singer. It never dawned on me. That happened by accident. A record label liked what they heard… and I fit the bill.”
Fans should like what they hear from Manilow at the Radio City shows. “It’s a huge room and I love it, love it, love it. One of the things I’m pretty sure I’m gonna do is not just my wonderful band of nine guy and three singers. I’m going to use 15 musicians. I want the violins to play beyond ‘Weekend in New England’, and so I’m getting fifteen great New York musicians, and I think it’ll sound great in New York City.”
Many fans don’t know, however, that the Brooklyn-born Manilow has a second legendary career as a jingle writer, with instantly recognizable spots from State Farm and Band-Aids to Dr. Pepper and McDonalds. Unfortunately, that career path wasn’t as lucrative as singing. “You know, they’ve been playing that State Farm Insurance thing for over 40 years; it’s my greatest hit! I got 500 bucks, and that’s it. I mean, you don’t get residuals unless you’re singing on the spot.”
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