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Music / Barry Manilow

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"My biggest fear is Barry Manilow. I think he's the Antichrist."

Barry Manilow (born Barry Alan Pincus, June 17, 1943 in Brooklyn, New York) is an American singer/songwriter famous for composing every song ever written, including hits such as "Mandy"note , "Can't Smile Without You"note , "I Write the Songs"note , "Looks Like We Made It"note  and "Copacabana"note .

He ranks as one of the top-selling artists of all time, as well as enjoying street cred with artists Frank Sinatra and Bob Dylan — about as close to "universal" acclaim as you could get. With the collapse of disco in the '80s, however, Manilow was haunted by his reputation as the least hardcore singer alive. A varied composer, he branched into jazz and blues to keep thing fresh, but found himself somewhat pigeonholed by his old hits. With the exception of "Copacabana" (itself a codifier of Lyrical Dissonance), his uplifting anthems have wringed the most consistent success.

Today he has settled into a kind of wry awareness of his Disco Dan image; he has described himself in concerts as "the Justin Bieber of the 1970s."

To the surprise of absolutely no one, he came out as gay in 2017.

Is the Trope Maker for Stuck on Band-Aid Brand (he wrote the jingle).


  • Barry Manilow (1973)
  • Barry Manilow II (1974)
  • Tryin' to Get the Feeling (1975)
  • This One's for You (1976)
  • Even Now (1978)
  • One Voice (1979)
  • Barry (1980)
  • If I Should Love Again (1981)
  • Here Comes the Night (1982)
  • 2:00 AM Paradise Cafe (1984)
  • Manilow (1985)
  • Swing Street (1987)
  • Barry Manilow (1989)
  • Because It's Christmas (1990)
  • Showstoppers (1991)
  • Singin' with the Big Bands (1994)
  • Summer of '78 (1996)
  • Manilow Sings Sinatra (1998)
  • Here at the Mayflower (2001)
  • A Christmas Gift of Love (2002)
  • Scores (2004)
  • The Greatest Songs of The '50s (2006)
  • The Greatest Songs of The '60s (2006)
  • The Greatest Songs of The '70s (2007)
  • In the Swing of Christmas (2007)
  • The Greatest Songs of The '80s (2008)
  • The Greatest Love Songs of All Time (2010)
  • 15 Minutes (2011)
  • Night Songs (2014)
  • My Dream Duets (2014)
  • This Is My Town: Songs of New York (2017)

Barry Manilow's work shows examples of the following tropes:

  • Downer Ending: "Copacabana" - Tony, the love of Lola’s life is 'lost' (either killed or incarcerated depending on how you read the lyrics) and Lola has become an aged senile alcoholic.
  • Everyone Is Christian at Christmas: Three Christmas albums, Barry? Really??
  • The Film of the Song: Copacabana, written by none other than James Lipton.
  • The '40s: "Copacabana", which takes place in the late '40s, except for the ending, which is in the '70s.
  • Intercourse with You: Many, many times. "I Wanna Do It With You", "I'm Your Man", and lots of others.
  • Location Song: "Copacabana", a Murder Ballad taking place in a New York City nightclub of the same name.
  • Lonely Together: "Lonely Together". Fits this trope so well that it should possibly be the Trope Namer.
    Wouldn't it be fine bein' lonely together?
    Wouldn't it be fine havin' a shoulder to share?
    You could tell me how he broke your heart,
    And I'll tell you how she broke mine.
    Then maybe later on I could take you home.
    Now, wouldn't it be sad bein' lonely all alone?
  • Lyrical Dissonance: Manilow has a tendency to make even the most depressing Break-Up Song sound like a Silly Love Song and a Murder Ballad sound cheerful and upbeat:
    • "Copacabana". Peppy little ditty that happens to be a Murder Ballad about a woman losing her boyfriend in a bar brawl and having an alcoholic meltdown that she never recovers from, returning to the same bar, night after night, long after the old crowd has grown up and moved on.
      • Particularly peculiar was when the song was acted out by muppets on The Muppet Show when Liza Minnelli was the guest star.
    • "Bobbie Lee", an upbeat, energetic song about a teenage runaway who ends up living on the streets and prostituting herself:
    She's got this picture of her brother,
    That she took when she left home.
    She rolled her hair up like her mother,
    With her mother's ivory comb.
    She was sweet sixteen last Easter,
    But she knows how to treat you right.
    Tomorrow, she's gonna be in the movies,
    But man, you won't forget tonight!
    • The lyrics to “Can’t Smile Without You” are about how good it felt to fall in love - and how miserable it made the singer to no longer be with the person he’s still in love with. Even the sad parts of the lyrics, though, manage to sound romantic and sweet when Manilow sings them.
  • Murder Ballad: "Copacabana" is one. In the second verse, Rico and Tony fight over Lola, and then there's a gunshot...
  • Rock Me, Amadeus!: The song "Could It Be Magic" is this... sort of. It begins with a sampling of Fryderyk Chopin's "Prelude in C Minor, Opus 28, Number 20" and then moves on to Barry doing the verses before going to the chorus that samples Chopin's same tune; then it moves onto the bridge before going to the final verse and the arranged sampling chorus for the final time before finally fading out to the part where Chopin's piece finally ends in the same way it began.
Silly Love Songs: They're considered a specialty of his, and many of Barry Manilow's most popular songs stand out as extraordinarily sentimental even by the standards of a genre of music that runs on sentimentality.