Bette Midler gave Barry Manilow a job in 1971.
Late 1960s: After attending the New York School of Music and Julliard, Barry Manilow got his first job at a label by working in the mailroom at CBS. He also started writing jingles for commercials and would eventually write themes for major buyers like Dr Pepper and McDonald’s.
1971: Manilow became music director, arranger and pianist for Bette Midler.
1972: Manilow’s first solo album was released by Bell Records.
1974: Clive Davis, looking for artists for his new label, Arista, signed Manilow off Bell and gave him the song “Brandy” from writer Scott English. The title was changed to “Mandy” to avoid confusion with the Looking Glass hit “Brandy.”
Between 1975 and 1983: Manilow had 25 consecutive Top 40 hits including “Could It Be Magic,” “Tryin’ to Get the Feeling Again,” “Ready to Take a Chance Again,” “Weekend in New England,” “Looks Like We Made It,” “Can’t Smile Without You” and “I Write the Songs,” which, of course, he did not write. In 1977 “The Barry Manilow Special” on ABC drew 37 million — today’s top show, “American Idol,” draws in the low 20s.
2002: The National Academy of Popular Music’s Songwriters Hall of Fame inducted Manilow with Ashford & Simpson, Michael Jackson, Randy Newman and Sting.
2006: Much to Stephen Colbert’s comic distress, Manilow won an Emmy for his PBS special “Manilow: Music and Passion.” His album “The Greatest Songs of the Fifties” debuted at No. 1, his first No. 1 album in 29 years. His only other No. 1 album was the 1977 “Live” album.